FORMER Scotland international David Weir gave Creetown’s Aiden Rennie a coaching session he will never forget on Saturday – as the Bank of Scotland Midnight League Player of the Year Day took to Hampden Park.
The 12-year-old was one of 16 children in attendance at the home of the Scottish national side, a reward for showing maturity, respect to others, and adhering to the positive lifestyle habits asked by the Scottish FA coaches.
The Midnight League, which has been running since 2003, is a national network of five-a-side football games run at local sports centres on Friday and Saturday evenings with teams competing in weekly leagues.
And Douglas Ewart High School pupil Aiden admits meeting one of his idols was a dream come true.
“Training with David Weir was the best bit. At first we did a warm-up, then he went through passing drills, possession work, then we had a game. It’s something I will remember for a while,” said Aiden.
“It was a great day, we got a tour of the stadium, then we got to do the training and it was really enjoyable.
“I just went down one week to the Midnight League and I’ve been every week since with my mates. We go every Friday.
“We usually play football anyway, but because it’s on astroturf it’s better. I love playing football.”
Run in partnership with the Scottish Football Association, the Midnight League is free to girls and boys aged between 12 and 16.
Scottish FA coaches run the sessions, and each year more than 6000 young people play at more than 90 venues across every local authority in Scotland.
More than 60,000 young people have participated since the programme started nine years ago and Weir believes Aiden and co will see the benefits.
“Grassroots football is very important. It’s nice seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces. I’ve been involved at the other end where it’s all about results but this is where it starts,” said Weir, who won 69 caps for Scotland.
“It’s good for me to see the other side of it and the sacrifices and the efforts people make to get a game of football.
“We need to get as many people playing football as we can, whatever the circumstances. It’s very important. It’s our national sport and it shows how much we do love it and how much it means to us.”
For more information, visit www.scottishfa.co.uk/midnightleague