Words by Colette Carr
Scotland have announced their squad to travel to Italy for their debut international away fixture following a meeting with Northern Ireland manager and Amputee Football Association Scotland ambassador Michael O’Neill.
The Scots face 2017 World Cup quarter finalists Italy in Verona on Friday 18 May, with players represented from the country’s two clubs, Partick Thistle and Dundee United.
The squad that is comprised of a blend of experience and youth are no strangers to the Edinburgh-based Northern Irish manager, who has lead training with the original Thistle side previously.
O’Neill made the surprise visit as he joined manager Kevin Kelly as the team prepared to take international duty on the road as they embark on their 2021 European qualification campaign.
“It’s been great to be able to offer a bit of support to the team ahead of their clash with Italy this month,” O’Neill commented.
“I wanted to support a charity close to home and because I stay in Edinburgh, amputee football was the perfect fit. I’m always blown away by the standard of these players, many of whom have dealt with a great deal of trauma, and I wish them all the best in Italy.”
AFAS’s founder Ashley Reid also highlighted how the fixture shows how far the game has come in Scotland, saying, “from running a pilot project with a handful of players to being able to present a Scotland squad for an international tournament signals the appetite for this sport in Scotland.
“When the players are on the pitch, disabilities are secondary. It’s simply about individuals coming together to play competitive football at a high level and all those who watch the sport are taken aback by the speed and agility of the players. Representing your country is something many can only dream about and the honour is not lost on this team.”
Captain: Brian Murray – Partick Thistle Amputees
Vice-Captain: Leigh Gregory – Partick Thistle Amputees
Goalkeeper: Stephen Gregson – Partick Thistle Amputees
Gerald Mulheron – Partick Thistle Amputees
Michael Lennon – Partick Thistle Amputees
Stuart Mitchell – Dundee United Amputees
Robert Wilson – Dundee United Amputees
Scott Young – Partick Thistle Amputees
Iain Matthew – Dundee United Amputees