THIRTEEN young Helensburgh footballers and their coaches have smashed their fund-raising target after completing a sponsored cycle ride visiting four of the country’s most famous football stadiums in a day – despite their coach miscalculating the distance they’d all have to cover.

The enthusiastic youngsters from Helensburgh FC’s 2011 squad, and their equally enthusiastic coaches and adult helpers, set out from Celtic Park on Sunday morning and visited Hampden Park and Ibrox Stadium in the course of their journey of almost 24 miles to Dumbarton FC.

An online fund-raiser set a target of £750 as the young cyclists aimed to raise money to help with the costs involved in running a youth football team – but thanks to the squad’s kind-hearted supporters, more than £1,000 had been pledged by the time this article was published.

Coach Gordon Brodie admitted afterwards: “I’d had the distance down as 26.7 kilometres but in fact it was well over 40 - although it was more the parents who complained than the kids!

“The whole ride was brilliant, though. It was an unbelievable effort by them all, especially because the weather was honking. One lad did the whole distance on his BMX.

“We arrived at Dalmarnock station at 10am and reached Dumbarton at about 4pm.”

While the group wasn’t able to get inside Celtic Park, Hampden or Dumbarton’s home ground, Rangers opened up Ibrox Stadium for the group to have a look around and take some pictures to remember the day.

“Rangers were incredible,” Gordon continued.

“They let us on to the park for about 20 minutes to get photos - the adults as well as the kids.

“We also had one Ukraininan boy who has come to stay with a family in Cardross – he did the whole ride on his sister’s bike, and you should have seen his face when we arrived at all these world-famous football grounds.

“It was the best thing I’ve ever seen in my life.”

The online fund-raising effort is still open for donations - find it at