Lesmahagow footballer Luke Meikle could do little to wipe the smile from his face after showing off his skills in front of a former Scotland international at Ayr United’s Somerset Park.
Representing South Lanarkshire, 14-year-old Luke was playing at the Bank of Scotland Midnight League South West Regional Final last Friday, with ex-United winger Gary Teale watching the action unfold.
Lesmahagow High pupil Luke said: “We’ve been playing football all day and won a lot of games, so it has been fun.
“It’s really good to be part of the Midnight League. It means there is always something to do and you get to meet a lot of new people.
“It’s a great experience, being able to play at a professional football club.
“I’ve been involved for a couple of years now, and we have always done quite well.
“I think it’s a good programme because it allows you to make new friends and you always have the chance to get a game with your mates.
“It was really good to play in front of Gary. It’s not very often that you get the chance to meet a professional footballer.”
Ambassador Teale was on hand to present medals and trophies to participants, and was keen to pass on a few words of wisdom to the eager youngsters.
“The Bank of Scotland Midnight League is a fantastic programme, and football obviously plays a big part in the culture of Scotland and worldwide, so it’s great to be associated given that I have been playing for so long,” he said.
“I came down last year to see the work that the guys have been doing, promoting football and giving the kids something to do.
“It’s a definite attraction for them, as opposed to hanging about and not doing anything, so I feel very fortunate that I have been asked along this year.
“The talent is wide and varied but a few kids have caught my eye.
“It’s great to see so many of them, girls and boys, here having fun and enjoying being active.
“The more kids we can get playing football and having a smile on their face, then that can help not just with their skills, but with their development and health.”
The Bank of Scotland Midnight League is a national network of diversionary 5-a-side football activities, targeting 12 to 16-year-old boys and girls across the country.
Run in partnership with the Scottish FA, and supported by the Scottish Government’s CashBack for Communities programme, local council or trust funding, the Bank of Scotland Midnight League programme takes place in all 32 Scottish local authorities.
Bank of Scotland Midnight League is a free community football programme delivered across all 32 local authorities in Scotland, aimed at boys and girls aged 12 - 16.
For more information visit: www.scottishfa.co.uk/midnightleague