St Mirren player David Barron got to see some young local players in action at a Scottish FA School of Football Open Night at St Mirren Park on Wednesday 23rd February.

Two local schools – Castlehead High School and Renfrew High School are currently involved in the School of Football programme, where groups of pupils take part in an enhanced timetable which includes a period of football activity every day.

Players are selected on footballing ability as well as a range of other criteria. Football is used as a tool to motivate the pupils, and their place on the School of Football programme depends on school attendance and academic improvement.

The Football Open Night gave parents a chance to observe coaching demonstrations with the players on the 5s pitches outside St Mirren Park. This was followed by a presentation in the Hospitality Suite in the Main Stand.

The Scottish FA has strong working relationships with both the schools as well as St Mirren FC, who are important supporter s of the programme.

Steven Sweeney, St Mirren Community Coach, who delivers the Scottish FA School of Football programme at Castlehead High School said; “It was great for the players to meet David Barron and for them to realise that St Mirren are taking an interest in their progress.

“Seeing a St Mirren first team player here tonight goes to show how much the club backs the School of Football programme. All the boys and girls who are part of the programme really enjoyed their night and the parents should be really proud of their progress. Well done and keep up the good work.”

Brian McLaughlin, Scottish FA Player and Coach Development Officer said; “The Open Night was a fantastic opportunity for the parents to see their children in action and to get an idea of what happens on a day to day basis.

“It’s great to see how the programme has developed over two and half years, from 12 players to 48 over the two schools. A big thank you goes to all of the people involved in making this programme a success. Hopefully this is the start of something unique in this community.”

There are nine Scottish FA Schools of Football across the country. The programme is supported by the Scottish Government’s CashBack for Communities initiative.