A young football star from the Isle of Barra has been signed by Greenock Morton after being spotted by a Loganair engineer who also coaches for the club.
Matthew Davidson travels a 250-mile round from the small West Coast island to Glasgow up to twice per week to attend training and play matches across Scotland for his side, recently scoring a hat-trick against St Mirren.
Loganair is supporting him with travel arrangements by providing tickets for the Twin Otter Aircraft which operates the daily Glasgow to Barra service – famous for landing on the beach.
Playing in the midfield, Matthew was recruited by the club after attending a trials session, overseen by Ross Gourdie, engineer and Head of Morton Junior Academy.
He has previously only played for Castlebay Community School, never given the opportunity to compete at a higher level.
With the rest of the Under-11 squad training three times a week, Matthew takes home specially designed lessons for when he is unable to make the trip.
Alongside his passion for Morton, Matthew is also a big fan of Celtic and Real Madrid, naming Cristiano Ronaldo as his favourite player.
Ross Gourdie said: “He definitely has a lot of raw talent, standing out during the trial sessions. Matthew combines speed with an incredible control of the ball for a young lad of his age, really impressive when you consider he has just been playing school football.
“Given that I fix Loganair’s aircraft for a living, it was a nice coincidence to find out he was from Barra and he’s definitely the first boy from the island which the club has signed.
“Geography is obviously a bit of an issue but we’re doing our best to help him train at home and he is still impressing us during matches every weekend.”
Greenock Morton Under-11s regularly play against all other professional academy teams across Scotland, competing on a weekly basis.
Greenock Morton chief executive Warren Hawke said: “In recent years we have seen a number of players, such as Rothesay’s Jim McAlister and Dunoon’s Lewis Strapp, overcome geographic challenges to become professional footballers at Greenock Morton.
“None of those were quite on the same scale as young Matthew Davidson, though, who travels all the way from his home on the isle of Barra in the Outer Hebrides to train and turn out for our academy’s Under-11s side.
“That exceptional commitment is admired and supported by everyone at the club, and we would like to thank Loganair for their generous and much-valued assistance in Matthew’s efforts to fulfil his dream of becoming a future Morton star.”
Loganair operates the Glasgow to Barra service providing up to three flights per day to the world’s only beach landing airport.
Kay Ryan, Loganair’s commercial director said: “Congratulations to Matthew for getting the opportunity to play against some of the best junior players in Scotland. We’re proud to support him and watch as his career develops.”