The future of Glasgow’s young goalkeeping talent looks in safe hands — thanks to former professional goalie John Gibson.

After hanging up his gloves following a 12-year career at clubs including Dundee and Clyde, John, 30, is playing a role in bringing on new generations of goalies from across the city.

From Harmony Row Football Park, John transfers his playing experience into coaching boys and girls from aged six and upwards at the John Gibson Goalkeeping Academy.

Having taken over responsibility of the academy from ex-St Mirren and Partick Thistle keeper John Hillcoat two and a half years ago, John travelled to and from Dundee to coach youngsters in the city of his birth.

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When injury forced early retirement from the professional game, he turned his focus to helping kids on a full-time basis.

John explains: “I was still playing up until last season with Dundee while coming down to coach.”

“I’d had two bad knee injuries in the space of nine months… and as I was getting busier everyday, I took the decision to focus on coaching youngsters, as that’s where my passion lay.”

John knew there was a gap in one-to-one training for budding young keepers, as club coaches tend to focus on developing the skills of outfield players first and foremost.

“I want to help as many young boys and girls as possible as there’s just not enough out there at their club level,” says John. “They’re told to go into goal and balls are just fired at them.”

At the academy, John and fellow young coach Dylan Austin, 21, provide group and one-to-one sessions along with more intense training camps at the Easter and October half-term breaks.

“In the group sessions we teach handling first and foremost, footwork, technique in moving and diving... shape... dip,” says John.

“From there we teach how to deal with angles and match situations, like where your position would be at any point during a match, where you would be standing at a corner, or how you would set up a free kick wall.”

John adds: “Goalies have to be switched on... you might be quiet for 89 minutes and then be called into action to save the game.”

One young talent whose development has seen him touted as a very promising young keeper is 15-year-old Lewis Mcpherson. Having been at the academy for four years, Lewis is the longest attending youngster.

Admitting he was behind in skills for a boy his age, Lewis says: “I started playing in goals later than most of the boys at the academy. I was 10 going on 11, but my skills have developed highly during my time with Gibby.”

Lewis adds: “I’ve had the opportunity to play with Greenock Morton and with the West of Scotland team. I’ve trained with the Scottish national team at schoolboys level. So I‘ve went from just starting to being very good in a short space of time.”

Having no lack of confidence about his future, Lewis has his heart set on reaching professional level.

With opportunity knocking at his door already, Lewis explains: “I am thinking about a scholarship, I’ve not decided fully. It would be a great opportunity, not just for goalkeeping but for my education as well.”

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“My ultimate dream would be to win the Champions League or to represent Scotland in the World Cup.”

Another bright young hopeful at the academy is Sam Johnston, 13, whose confidence has grown massively during his 18 months under John’s coaching. Sam’s first match between the goalposts occurred in a way common to many young players.

Sam says: “I was a centre-midfielder for a long time. Our goalie didn’t show up for the match so I was put in goal.”

That twist of fate led Sam to stay put between the sticks with the youngster now having dreams of the big time.

“I’d like to become professional,” says Sam. “I like Celtic, but I’d like to play professional for any team.”

And it’s not just the boys who are reaping the rewards of John’s coaching. Equality is a strong ethos at the academy, as John says: “I’ve coach a young girl, Sophie, who’s 9-year-old and is playing two years above her level. She’s phenomenal. She’s playing in a boys team over in Baillieston.”

“I coach four girl in total and they’re treated just the same. There’s never any awkwardness. I’d like to especially encourage more young girls to come along. It’s open to any age or religion. Everybody is welcome.”

With demand for John’s and Dylan’s coaching sessions on the rise, the academy has ambitions for the future. “As we grow, I’d like to build an academy in the East East of the city and beyond,” smiles John.

To find out more about training at the John Gibson Training Academy, check out their Facebook page.