FORMER Old Firm stars Ian Durrant and Tommy Coyne have backed ambitious plans for a new community facility in the heart of Priesthill which will help create the next generation of footballers. 

Hillwood Community Trust wants to build a new pavilion at the existing facility in Hillwood Park and is looking for further funding to begin work on the project which will help grassroots football in the surrounding area.

At present, the site is used by Hillwood Football Club, East Renfrewshire Soccer 7s, Silverburn AFC and other local community groups.

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The Trust revealed that the cost of the project is around £700,000 - but need a further £450,000 to make their dream become a reality.

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Willie Smith, above middle, who founded Hillwood Football Club in 1966 and is the chair of the board of trustees at the Hillwood Community Trust, said: “I am absolutely delighted to confirm Hillwood Community Trust plans to build a new pavilion at Hillwood Park in Priesthill and I thank Tommy and Ian for coming out today to support our work.

“Around £250,000 has been raised so far and I thank all those who have contributed but we are looking to secure as much funding as possible to help with this new project which will be of huge benefit to the local community.

“If anyone is interested in helping us complete this project that will also help children from the local area I would be very grateful to hear from them."

In 2017, work was completed on the 3G pitch in Priesthill and it is hoped this new building will help attract even more local children to participate in organised sport.

Hillwood Football Club, founded in 1966, has a long history of supporting grass-roots football and they have helped produce a number of top-level professional players since their formation. 

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Tommy Coyne was a youth player at Hillwood in 1980 to 81 and joins an illustrious list of ex-pros that includes Alex McLeish, Kenny Burns, Owen Coyle, Ross McCormack and Peter MacDonald.

He went on to enjoy a successful career with Clydebank, Dundee United, Dundee, Celtic, Tranmere, and Motherwell and won 22 caps for the Republic of Ireland.

He said: “Hillwood Football Club gave me a great platform to build on when I was a youth player in the early 80s and they certainly helped me begin my professional career. I have known Willie Smith for many years and he has given almost 54 years of his life to supporting youth football.

“The 3G pitch in Priesthill is great for the local community and plans for a new pavilion by Hillwood Community Trust will also help attract kids to football. I wish them well with their fundraising efforts and would encourage anyone who can assist to come forward.”

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Former Rangers star Ian Durrant added: “It is incredible that Willie has given more than five decades of service to Hillwood and now the Hillwood Community Trust and he is clearly passionate about helping grass-roots football in Scotland. I am delighted to support this project and I hope they can raise as much as possible to help the kids in their area play football in a top-class environment.”

To help support this worthy project e-mail hillwood1966@hotmail.co.uk or contact Willie Smith on 07817 505 915.