Tommy Conway tells inside story of Scotland Euro 2024 call-up and why he will be having nightmares after debut

Bristol City striker earned first cap in 2-2 draw with Finland

Tommy Conway lived a dream by making his Scotland debut at Hampden in front of his proud parents but admitted he will be having nightmares about his late chance that could have sent the nation off to Euro 2024 with a win.

The Bristol City striker was drafted into the senior squad for the first time ahead of the tournament in Germany as a replacement for the unfortunate Lyndon Dykes, who suffered an injury in training last week that has ruled him out of contention.

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Conway had just come off the pitch for the Under-21s, having scored in a 2-1 defeat in Turkey on Monday, when he received the call from Steve Clarke that he was being summoned back to Glasgow to join up with the provisional Euros squad.

Scotland's Tommy Conway has a late chance during the 2-2 friendly draw with Finland at Hampden. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)Scotland's Tommy Conway has a late chance during the 2-2 friendly draw with Finland at Hampden. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
Scotland's Tommy Conway has a late chance during the 2-2 friendly draw with Finland at Hampden. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

Just days later, the strapping 21-year-old was earning his first cap as a second-half substitute in the 2-2 draw with Finland and could have won it for Scotland in the last minute with a headed chance that was brillianly saved by Viljami Sinisalo.

“It was surreal, before I stepped onto the pitch I looked around and saw my mum and dad," he said. “I gave them a little wave before I came on. That’s the most important thing for me, to see their faces and how proud they are of me tonight. It’s hard to put into words how much it means to me.

“It was an incredible feeling when I came on, you think of all the late nights when I was younger and they’d take me to training. They’d drive an hour and a half there and an hour and a half back three times a week.

“So it’s moments like tonight that makes it all worth it. My grandad used to take me to training as well and I know he will be looking down on me proud. Hopefully we can do him proud in Germany as well.

“I’m disappointed with my chance and I’ll probably have nightmares about it tonight. But hopefully I’m saving it for Germany next week! As long as chances keep coming and I’m in the right place I know I’ll score goals."

Conway admitted he did not pin all his hopes on a Euros call-up after failing to make the original 28-man provisional squad but it was something that was in the back of his mind – even though he had already made holiday plans.

“I have just been taking it day by day and taking everything in my stride," he said. "I have enjoyed every minute of being here with the full squad. Right at the start I knew that if there were any injuries there was a chance I could go.

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“I didn’t write it off but I can’t say I was focusing on it. I was just focused on the U21 games and doing my best there. I heard about Lyndon’s injury and knew there could be a chance, but I tried not to think too much about it.

“It was only after the Turkey game that Scot Gemmill took me aside and told me I was going to link up with the full squad. I had a couple of things planned for the summer but I’m happy to cancel them - in fact, they’ve already been cancelled.

“I know what I’m doing, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity so it’s all that matters. I have to say I hope Lyndon is recovering, it was unfortunate what happened to him and he must be gutted. So I want to send my commiserations to him. But in football you always have to be ready to step up and when I got the call I was more than happy to come. "

Conway may have been born in England and has the accent to show for it but he is a proud Scotsman at heart thanks to his Stirling-born grandfather. He will now travel to the Euros in the hope of earning more caps and scoring his first senior international goal after netting three in seven appearances for the Under-21s.

“It gives me goosebumps to think I’m going to Germany for the Euros," he said. “Playing for my country is the pinnacle, let alone going to a major championship so it’s the proudest I’ve ever been.

“It will probably only sink in once I get to bed tonight and close my eyes, I’ll realise what I’ve done. But I like to take things in my stride and don’t let events get ahead of me. I just want to take every day as it comes and keep going.

“My family have been making arrangements, it will be full steam ahead to get everyone out to Germany. We are working around it, and one way or another they’ll be there - no doubt about that."

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