Stuart fulfills boyhood dream after making Scotland debut

Stuart Mitchell in final training session with Scotland before clash with The Netherlands. Pic: John Linton
Stuart Mitchell in final training session with Scotland before clash with The Netherlands. Pic: John Linton

A Glenrothes man was given the honour of representing Scotland against The Netherlands in amputee football last Saturday.

Stuart Mitchell (28) began playing for Partick Thistle amputees in May this year and was part of the Scots squad which performed for the first time at the SportScotland National Training Centre in Inverclyde. .

In the end they lost 5-0, but will hope for better things to come when they attempt to qualify for the European Championships in 2021.

Stuart, who impressed in trials and is now at Dundee United, said: “To pull on the Scotland shirt and represent my country was something only dreams are made of.

“While the result may not have gone our way, to get the chance to play in our first competitive international after such a short time playing as a team was an unbelievable experience.

“We have a lot to learn from the more experienced teams but we’re already in talks with Italy and Greece about international fixtures in early 2018 and I’m really excited about the future of the sport in Scotland.”

As a result of an undiagnosed muscular condition, Stuart’s hip did not form correctly when he was born, impacting on the growth of his leg.

The Scots squad was made up of 11 individuals each with a lower or upper limb amputation or limb difference.AFAS began amputee football last year as a pilot project in partnership with Partick Thistle Community Trust.

Training is held fortnightly at Firhill and AFAS launched a rival team with Dundee United in September. An East v West clash is scheduled for later in the year. The game is played on crutches with teams of seven-a-side. Those in goals must have an upper limb amputation while those outfield a lower amputation.

Ashley Reid, founder and CEO of Amputee Football Association Scotland, said: “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. Representing your country is something many can only dream about and the honour is not lost on this team.”