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The Scottish FA’s South West team have signed up a Kilmarnock legend to oversee its School of Football programme.
Garry Hay, who made 337 appearances for Killie in 14 years, is now a player and coach development officer for the West of Scotland-based team.
“It’s great to be part of the South West team now,” he said.
“I was working with the Kilmarnock under-13s and 14s when I was still playing and really enjoyed helping young people develop.
“The School of Football programme is fantastic, providing a lot of social benefits along with the football side of things.”
Schools of Football develop the social and academic skills of boys and girls during their first and second year of high school by offering football coaching sessions within their timetable. The programme sits alongside other subjects such as maths and English on the curriculum.
There are currently 22 operating nationwide - five within the South West - in secondary schools across Scotland catering for over 600 pupils.
In total, almost 1000 young people have developed through the programme.
They are funded by the Scottish Government’s CashBack for Communities programme.
Garry said he had been impressed by the dedication of his pupils to his sessions.
“I don’t think it's because I played for Kilmarnock,” he added. “I like their attitude. They are determined to learn and improve.”
For the former Killie captain, football can be a force for good.
He said: “It’s only as I’ve got older that I’ve realised how much football has given me as a person.
“I’ve made friends, improved my academic skills and become a better person as a result. This is the message I’m bringing to the pupils – you can improve yourself through football.”
Scottish FA South West regional manager John Brown said: “I am delighted to welcome Garry to our team.
“As well as being an excellent coach and organizer, he brings with him a superb profile from his many years as an SPL player.
“Garry has an unsurpassed reputation for being a hard-working, model professional and will be an excellent role model for all the young players and coaches in his charge.”