Robert McCallum from Airdrie is celebrating after walking away with the top honour at the ninth Scottish FA Grassroots Awards, presented by McDonald’s and the Sunday Mail.

Robert was awarded the Merit Award for services to Football, the highest honour you can receive at the Grassroots Awards ceremony held at Hampden Park on the 27th September. The awards celebrated the efforts of the tireless volunteers who give their valuable time and effort to provide footballing opportunities in communities across Scotland.

Robert was instrumental in the founding of Gartcairn Academy and has developed the club from a group of 10 children to over 350 young footballers within 5 years. Under Robert’s guidance, they achieved Quality Mark status and have over 40 qualified coaches providing sessions for club members.

His role as Chairman, football coach and fundraiser has seen the club grow from nothing to a competitive and organised community club. Gartcairn offers a fun and enjoyable environment for young footballers to shine in Airdrie thanks to Robert. Without his dedication and determination to develop the club from the beginning children in the region simply wouldn’t have that opportunity.

Scottish legend and McDonald’s Head of Scottish Football, Kenny Dalglish, praised Robert for his commitment to grassroots football in Scotland: “Football in communities is built on the dedication of people like Robert. Without the hard work and dedication of all the grassroots volunteers like Robert Scottish football simply wouldn’t exist. What Robert has accomplished over the past year to help develop Gartcairn and football in the Airdrie community is truly worthy of the recognition Robert received at the awards ceremony.

Robert added: “The awards ceremony was a fantastic night and a brilliant way to celebrate some of the achievements of grassroots volunteers and clubs across the country. To have been chosen as this year’s Merit award winner is a great feeling and tonight will be a night I will never forget. To receive the award from Kenny Dalglish and Craig Levein was just brilliant. Meeting the other winners and sharing stories on the night was very inspiring and I am now looking forward to helping Gartcairn develop and grow into an even greater provider of grassroots football for the community.”

Dalglish added: “As a long-term supporter of football in Scottish communities, McDonald’s is proud to champion those that give up so much of their time, providing young footballers the opportunity to shine in a fun and friendly environment.”

The ninth Scottish FA Grassroots Awards, presented by McDonald’s and the Sunday Mail were held at Hampden Park on 27th September 2012.  The awards cover ten categories including Best Volunteer in Youth Football, Best Community Football Club and McDonald’s Franchisee Community Champion Award.

Over the last 10 years McDonald’s has been committed to raising the standards of grassroots football, working alongside the Scottish FA. McDonald’s now support over 4,500 grassroots clubs, have created over 2,000 new community coaches and have seen the launch of 1,800 new football teams. By 2014 McDonald’s will work with the Scottish FA to encourage the participation of 13,000 new volunteers and 10,000 new coaches in grassroots football across Scotland.