Gartcairn Football Academy in Airdrie have been presented the silver award for the UEFA Best Grassroots Club in the 2016 UEFA Grassroots Awards.

Using the mantra ‘those who wish to play, shall play’, Gartcairn Football Academy started as a grassroots club in 2007 with seven children across two age groups but they now have more than 400 children and 74 coaches who are all voluntary.

Last season, they started a junior side, playing in the Central District Second Division.

Upon receiving the award, Robert McCallum, Chairman of Gartcairn Football Academy said: “We thought we hit our peak when we received the national award but when you realise that people from UEFA were talking about a wee team from Airdrie it is a great feeling.

“It’s an amazing achievement not only for us but also to let people know that grassroots football is not on its knees like some people think.

“We are all volunteers and if Gartcairn had to fold tomorrow then the local council would need to hire nine full-time staff members to put in the equivalent work that our volunteers do which shows the work everyone at the club puts in.”

Jim Fleeting, Director of Football Development for the Scottish FA who presented the award said: “Gartcairn have a history with the Scottish FA of being an excellent club, that allows young people no matter their talent, a game of football.

“They’ve always been a brilliant club and we’ve rewarded them in the past at the McDonald’s Grassroots Awards.

“The club so inclusive which is great for everyone as it allows the children taking part to be more confident and develop as individuals.

“They thoroughly deserve to be recognised by UEFA.”