Scotland star Charlie Mulgrew dropped into his local youth club in North Lanarkshire yesterday to deliver a batch of free tickets for the forthcoming European Qualifier against Gibraltar.

The giveaway is part of the joint venture between the Scottish FA and Scottish Government to offer up 10,000 free tickets to community and grassroots football groups as part of a commitment to make the national game accessible to the next generation of supporters and players.

Charlie popped-in to see Lenzie Youth Club at Chryston High School - one of more than 250 groups to take up the offer of free tickets – to watch training and hand the children their tickets to the game at Hampden.

He said: “I am happy to help out with this excellent initiative from the Scottish FA and Scottish Government. As a youngster growing up I remember the thrill of going to my first international match at Hampden and I am sure the players at Lenzie Youth Club will love the experience.

“I am disappointed that I won’t be playing due to injury but I’m sure a victory from the team will help encourage these young players to keep working hard and, who knows, maybe one day some of them can return to the national stadium wearing the dark blue of Scotland.”

The Gibraltar game is the first qualifier to be held at Hampden since October 2013 and Scottish FA Chief Executive Stewart Regan is confident that the extra support will be warmly received by the Scotland players:

 “Firstly, I would like to reiterate our thanks to the Scottish Government for their support and, in particular, Alex Salmond, the former First Minister, for being the driving force behind the initiative.

“It is important that future generations of players and supporters are given access to watch and be inspired by the international teams. Given how well we have performed so far in our European Qualifying campaign I am sure the youth groups will savour the experience for what for many may be their first international match.

“I’m equally certain Gordon Strachan and his squad will be grateful for the support of the 10,000 community and youth group players and coaches inside the stadium against Gibraltar.”

Billy Inglis, Lenzie Youth Club head coach, added: “I would like to thank the Scottish FA and the Scottish Government for this fantastic gesture – and of course Charlie Mulgrew for coming along to deliver the tickets.

“I’m sure our youth club, along with many others, will benefit from these free tickets and the kids can’t wait to go along to Hampden later this month to watch Scotland take on Gibraltar.”