AN actor fresh out of college has a dream role as a Scottish footballer in one of the most eagerly anticipated British films of the year.

Colin Harris, 23, will star alongside household names such as Michael Sheen, who recently starred in Frost/Nixon, Timothy Spall, best known for his role in Auf Wiedersehen Pet, and Jim Broadbent, whose films include Indiana Jones and Harry Potter.

Colin, from Rutherglen, plays midfield star John McGovern in The Damned United, a £7million film about football manager Brian Clough's disastrous 44 days in charge at Leeds United in 1974.

And Colin's very first scene was with Sheen, who plays Clough. Spall plays Peter Taylor, Clough's assistant at several clubs, although not at Leeds.

Colin, who finished his three-year HND in Acting and Performance at Langside College last year, said: "Michael was a lovely guy, a warm person.

"It is a kind of fairy story - my first job is with these amazing people. It has been a bit of a whirlwind eight months."

McGovern was taken to Leeds by Clough and when the manager was sacked he later signed him for Nottingham Forest. The player went on to become one of only three Scottish captains to lift the European Cup.

As a result of the film - which also stars Greenock actor Martin Compston as Scottish striker John O'Hare - Colin has landed a London agent whose star clients include Helen Mirren, Jeremy Irons and Joseph Fiennes.

Colin's success is even more astonishing because he got into acting only because of his brother Richard, 26.

The former Stonelaw High School pupil lives at home with dad Colin, 51, a retired police officer, and has two other brothers Alex, 21, and Thomas, 28.

Colin said: "Richard went on holiday to Hollywood and was star-struck by the glamour of it all.

"When he came back he wanted to be an actor. He said to me I'm going to apply for somewhere - what about you?

"I had never acted in my life, but I said all right, I'll give it a bash'.

I auditioned and got in."

After graduating from Langside College, Colin got an audition - his first - for the film, which is based on the best-selling book by David Peace.

He said: "The producers were looking for a person to play McGovern and they had been up here seeing a lot of people.

"I was going to Arran to do a play and was on the boat when my agent called to say You've got the part - you have to come back!' So I got the boat back to Glasgow and flew straight down to Leeds.

"I checked into the hotel and the guy said The Damned United lot are just round here'. I walked in and there were Michael Sheen, Timothy Spall and Martin Compston. I thought, I think I'm in a wee bit over my head here!"

For his part Colin had to undergo an hour-long transformation, including a 70s-style wig.

He said: "The wig caused some problems - if I had to head the ball half the wig came off!"

But playing football was no problem. Football-mad since he was a child, Colin even had a trial with Queen's Park when he was 15 - but didn't make it.

However, he has since had a taste of the footballer's life after going with the film's cast to a celebrity match featuring Brazilian football legend Pele, as well as the Football Hall of Fame Awards, where he met Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

Colin is determined to continue his acting success - and has another reason to make a go of his career. Girlfriend Amanda Grant, 20, gave birth to his daughter, Ava, six weeks ago. The Damned United will be in cinemas from March 27.