Michael O’Neill MBE gives Scotland’s amputee football team a fitting send-off ahead of first international tournament
- Northern Ireland boss O’Neill helps launch new McEwan Fraser Legal supported shirt for Scotland’s only amputee team
- New kit to be worn by Partick Thistle Amputees in their first international tournament in Limerick
- Thistle boss Archibald also on hand, to give some last minute advice to the players at Firhill
- McEwan Fraser Legal “stepped in” to support the team after Tommy McKay’s wonder goal in the McEwan Fraser Legal #HomeAdvantage Challenge was seen by millions, worldwide
NORTHERN IRELAND boss Michael O’Neill MBE and Partick Thistle manager Alan Archibald today (8 March 2017) helped Amputee Football Scotland and Partick Thistle Community Trust reveal their new shirt, proudly supported by McEwan Fraser Legal.
On 18 March, Partick Thistle Amputees, Scotland’s only amputee football team, will join teams from across the UK when they travel to Limerick, Ireland for the fifth round of the Great Britain Amputee Football league.
With amputee teams attending from premiership clubs including Everton, Arsenal and Man City plus Ireland’s own University of Limerick amputee team, it will be the first time a Scottish team has taken part in the Ireland fixture.
Awareness around amputee football has rocketed in Scotland since Dundee United fan and Partick Thistle Amputee player Tommy McKay scored a wonder goal for his side in the McEwan Fraser Legal #HomeAdvantage Challenge against Dunfermline at Tannadice in November last year.
The amazing clip was viewed by more than TWO MILLION people on social media, with the man of the moment Tommy receiving worldwide attention and consequently scooping the highly coveted SPFL Goal of the Month award.
Tommy’s sensational strike highlighted the plight of Amputee Football Association Scotland and its bid to ensure Partick Thistle Amputees would make its first international tournament, and resulted in sponsor McEwan Fraser Legal stepping in to support the team.
Partick Thistle Amputees was set up by Partick Thistle Community Trust and Amputee Football Association Scotland (AFAS), a charity launched in November 2016 to develop the sport in Scotland. While provision is made for disability football of varying disciplines in Scotland, amputee football had not previously existed north of the Border. However, AFAS has seen a surge in demand for the sport and there is now a well-established junior and senior squad enjoying fortnightly training sessions at Partick Thistle.
Northern Ireland manager O’Neill became involved with the charity last year when he visited Partick Thistle Amputees as guest coach, and he has since become a champion for the discipline in Scotland. With support from the Scottish Football Association (SFA), AFAS will head East next month to launch a team in O’Neill’s home town of Edinburgh, before the Scottish capital will be host to the inaugural Amputee Football Scottish Cup later in the Spring.
Michael O’Neill and Alan Archibald were on hand to present the team with their new strips. O’Neill commented:
“I first got involved with amputee football last year when I heard about the work of Amputee Football Association Scotland. I now live in Scotland and I was keen to support a cause where I could try to make a real contribution.
“I have been along to watch and coach the team on a few occasions and am always blown away by the speed and skill of the players. It’ll be interesting to see the sport continue to grow across Scotland and I’m looking forward to it coming East next month. I wish the team the best of luck in Ireland.”
Ashley Reid, executive director of Amputee Football Association Scotland, commented:
“To have Michael and Alan here today presenting the strips is a huge boost to the players and will hopefully help to further highlight the growth of the sport in Scotland.
“As a very young organisation, Amputee Football Association Scotland still lacks the funds to support international travel for players therefore McEwan Fraser Legal stepping in to support the squad both financially and by providing this striking strip is a dream come true for the team.”
McEwan Fraser Legal chief executive Ken McEwan commented:
“Tommy’s amazing goal highlighted the need for more support for amputee football players in Scotland, and so McEwan Fraser Legal were delighted to be able to step up and support Scotland’s only team, Partick Thistle Amputees. We wish them every success in Ireland.”