East Kilbride’s most famous son has hailed the town’s “brilliant community spirit” as he helped officially open the first phase of a football academy.
Football legend Ally McCoist led a squad of top names from the Scottish game in a special match to open the K Park pitch in Calderglen, as his mother, Jessie, cut the ribbon on the facility.
Old Firm heroes Ian Durrant, Charlie Miller, Tosh McKinlay, Simon Donnelly and Jackie McNamara made up a star-studded team to take on a select side of veteran East Kilbride amateurs as hundreds arrived to see the new home of football in the town.
Ally, has been involved in the East Kilbride Community Trust project along with friends Paul and James Kean and Iain King from the start in 2008 and said it was always their dream to see K Park built.
He said: “I was delighted to get involved, James and Paul have been my pals for a long, long time and James has always had this dream to build something to put the town on the football map.
“We are so lucky that there’s such a brilliant community spirit in East Kilbride. If anything EK has suffered a little bit with a lack of focus on its needs.
“Today we can be so proud of what’s been achieved.”
The Rangers manager said it was fitting that his mother should be the one to cut the ribbon, along with Thomas Hobbs, as she would open the doors of her home to youngsters who played football in the town.
He said: “My mum’s door was always open and at any time there would be 10 or 12 lads in for a bite to eat and to watch football.
“Boys came from St Bride’s and from Hunter High and the whole week was spent around there and playing football together.
“Opening K Park just shows that same spirit exists in East Kilbride today.
“There have been a good few professional players to come out of the town and we have been on about getting better facilities for years.
“We want to give kids the chance in the game and to give all the youngsters a shot at using this fantastic academy.
“It would be great if that increases the chances of the best of them to make it in the game.”
Jamie Borthwick, STV East Kilbride.