Gartcairn Football Academy have officially opened their new state of the art 3G training and playing facility at St Margaret’s High School, Airdrie, heralding the dawn of a new era for the Scottish FA Legacy Quality Mark Club.

The new facility is the culmination of many years of hard work involving key partners such as North Lanarkshire Council, North Lanarkshire Leisure, the Scottish FA, and the Scottish Football Partnership.

A host of guests, including Councillor Jim Logue, Mark Kerr (Partick Thistle) and Bryan Prunty (Dumbarton) were in attendance to cut the ribbon and officially open the park.

Gartcairn Football Academy Chairmen Robert McCallum said: "We now have a facility that the local community can identify with Gartcairn and where we can develop and go from strength to strength.

"It also stands testament to all at the academy who work so hard on and off the pitch, and bodes well for the local and wider community in terms of youth participation, disability football, girls football and the general health of a growing number of participants young and old alike".

Councillor Logue said: “The upgrading of this pitch signifies a major investment by North Lanarkshire Council, along with support and funding from the Scottish FA and the Scottish Football Partnership Trust. 

"The development of this has resulted in a partnership management arrangement in which the pupils of St Margaret’s have access during the school day, Gartcairn now have a permanent base to develop their Football Academy aspirations and the football community in Airdrie have an additional asset of the highest quality.  As such, this is a win-win situation for everyone.

“Gartcairn is recognised not only locally but nationally as one of the most progressive football clubs. the clubs recently reached Legacy status, the highest level of the Scottish FA's Quality Mark accreditation programme, and also attained a disability inclusive club award.”

Councillor Logue particularly singled out the commitment and enthusiasm of head coach, Robert McCallum, who lifted the Merit Award for Services to Football at the 2012 Scottish FA Grassroots Awards, and was recently named North Lanarkshire Council's Volunteer of the year.

“Robert’s vision and philosophy in relation to football development has contributed to NLC recognising the value of this partnership.  The number of participants and teams of all ages, along with a sizeable cohort of coaches, clearly illustrate that the local community has total confidence in the leadership shown by Robert. 

"North Lanarkshire Leisure and North Lanarkshire Council will continue to work with Robert and hopefully, as a result of this, Gartcairn will attract external funding to complete the development of another 3G pitch at Airdrie Leisure Centre, which will make it one of the most significant football hubs in Scotland.”