St Ninian’s bhoys on the ball with Celtic

St Ninians headteacher Paul McLaughlin with former pupils Anthony Ralston (left) and Kieran Tierney.
St Ninians headteacher Paul McLaughlin with former pupils Anthony Ralston (left) and Kieran Tierney.

A Kirkintilloch school which is linked with SPFL champions Celtic is celebrating a hat-trick of football successes by pupils.

Towards the end of last season fourth year St Ninians High student Jack Aitchison became Celtic’s youngest ever player - and scorer - in their 7-0 win over Motherwell.

Tony Ralston, who left the school last year, also made his debut for the club against St Johnstone.

And both followed in the footsteps of former St Ninians and Celtic FC’s Youth Academy School Partnership classmate Kieran Tierney whose sensational season with the first team earned him Scotland’s PFA Young Player of the Year Award and a first Scotland senior cap.

The partnership between the school and Celtic was the first between an SPL club and a single school/ Local Authority when it was set up in 2008 and has produced a steady stream of footballing talent.

Headteacher Paul McLaughlin, who himself was named UK Headteacher of the Year a few years ago, is delighted with the recent string of successes.

He said: “The boys who are part of our partnership with Celtic work so hard on the field and in the classroom. Everyone at St Ninian’s is just delighted that Kieran, Jack and Tony are making a name for themselves and doing so brilliantly.

“Being shortlisted at these prestigious Scottish and UK-wide TES awards is also wonderful news and is testament to the commitment of pupils and staff at this school. We are always striving to do better and offer our pupils the broadest, most exciting and challenging education possible.”