Partick Thistle’s youth academy has celebrated its third birthday as it continues to go from strength to strength.
The initiative was set up in October 2013 with the aim of forging stronger links with the local community and create a player pathway for young talent to progress from the community to professional football.
The ambitious long term project was supported by significant investment from supporters Christine and Colin Weir and subsequently became known as the Thistle Weir Youth Academy.
The initial three-year plan’s key targets included Academy graduates playing in the first team and Stuart Bannigan, Liam Lindsay, Kevin Nisbet, Ryan Scully and James Penrice have all made the breakthrough.
The Academy has also succeeded in having graduates picked for the SFA Performance School and SFA Regional Squad. In addition to player development it has also delivered 90 registered grassroots players, new skill development centres, senior ladies and girls team, weekly schools coaching for 150 boys and girls and an adult futsal team.
Academy director Gerry Britton told the club website: “It has been a truly amazing three years and the progress we have made is something that everyone associated with Partick Thistle can be truly proud of. Knowing the impact playing football has on the kids we work with is nothing short of inspirational.
“The academy is of course a long term project but to see these kinds of results coming already is fantastic.
“It hardly seems like three months never mind three years but if the results keep coming then it is definitely true to say: the future is bright, the future is red and yellow”.
On the field Thistle return to action after the international break on Saturday when they face Hamilton Accies at Firhill.
Alan Archibald’s side remain bottom of the Premiership but a win would lift them off the foot as Accies sit three places, but only two points, ahead of them.
Thistle’s away match with Celtic - postponed in August due to Celtic’s involvement in a lucrative friendly with Inter Milan - has been rescheduled for Tuesday, December 20, with a 7.45pm kick-off.