THE talented young players at Rhu-based Clyde Thistle FC recently received a massive boost when the club was selected to compete in the division one of the Paisley, Johnstone and District Youth Football League.

The ‘Rhu Jags’, formed in 2015, have come a long way in a short space of time and now face their biggest and most exciting challenge yet as they take on some of the best teams in the west of Scotland at the 2006 age group level.

The 2018/19 season will also be Thistle’s first year playing 11 a-side games on full-size pitches.

They start their campaign this Saturday, August 11, with an away fixture against Broomhill.

With Erskine, Westerton United, Giffnock, Milngavie, St Cadocs, Arthurlie, Thorn Athletic, East End United and Palace Park also in Division 1, every game will provide a great test for Thistle’s 10, 11 and 12-year-old players.

But Chairman Sean Stewart believes they are ready for this next big step. He said: “It was a great moment when we found out that Clyde Thistle had been picked to fly the flag for Argyll and Bute in the Paisley, Johnstone and District Youth Football League’s top tier and credit has to go to the coaches for their dedication and to the players who have put in so much hard work over the past two or three years.

“We have a great squad of talented 2006, and a few 2007, footballers who have enjoyed some fantastic results in games and tournaments recently and we feel they will only get better and stronger because of the determination they have to improve.

“Now, of course, we are in a new environment with full size pitches, referees and 11 a-side rules – and every week we will be playing for points and trying to climb the league table so it is going to be a big change for all our boys.

“However, we have a lot of confidence in them and While we will go into every fixture looking to perform well and we want the boys to enjoy their football, – which is always the most important thing – we are now in a league setup and we want all the players to go into every fixture with a winning mentality.”