A PIONEERING partnership between one of the world’s biggest football clubs and a leading Kirkintilloch school is getting a real result.
Celtic FC and St Ninian’s High have been praised by the Minister for the Commonwealth Games and Sport.
Shona Robison MSP visited St Ninian’s recently to see the partnership in action.
The scheme lets Celtic’s young stars become full-time pupils at the Kirkintilloch school, while training with Celtic at the club’s Lennoxtown complex before and after classes.
It’s the first programme of its type in Scotland, and allows talented young players from around the country to train to new levels of fitness and skill and continue their education at the same time.
MSP Shona Robison said: “This is an interesting and innovative approach by St Ninian’s High School and Celtic Football Club.
“It is vitally important that we deliver the best possible life chances for all of our young people.
“This partnership offers an ideal opportunity to provide a well-rounded and responsible approach to the all round development of the young people involved in the project.”
She added: “While I wish all the players involved with Celtic the very best with their football career, it is very important that they continue to learn and develop their skills outside of football, to make the most of the range of career options available to them.”
Later at Celtic’s training ground in Lennoxtown, Ms Robison observed a coaching session taken by Michael O’Halloran, head of the intermediate academy at Celtic, involving a number of boys from the partnership.
St Ninian’s head teacher Paul McLaughlin said: “This partnership is now entering its fourth year and is proving to be a major success, both in terms of the academic achievements of the boys involved and in terms of their football development.”
Councillor Una Walker, East Dunbartonshire Council’s convener of education, said: “This is an excellent partnership which I have followed with interest.
“The dedication and progress these young people have made with their education and their extensive training is to be commended and I am convinced that the programme succeeds on all levels.”