Scotland call-up for amputee football hero
Picked for match against Holland next month
A one-handed goalkeeper from Cambuslang is set to represent Scotland just months after taking up amputee football.
Stephen Gregson, 42, was inspired to take up the sport by son and Hallside Primary pupil Ryan, 11, who, like him, was born with one hand missing.
The Drumsagard married dad-oftwo, is preparing for his debut for the national amputee side against Holland on June 23.
And Ryan, who is also a goalie, will attend a training camp in Warsaw, Poland, in July to take part in a European training camp for amputee football stars of the future.
Glasgow City Council worker Stephen admits he was not always keen on the idea of playing amputee football because he thought his days of playing the sport were behind him.
He explained: “I was taking Ryan along to different venues for training sessions as the supportive dad and I got speaking to my friend Ashley Reid, [founder of the Amputee Football Association Scotland] who invited me along to play.
“At first I wasn’t sure because I hadn’t played football regularly, I just played five-a-side with my friends. But I got involved and they’re a great bunch of boys and I’m really enjoying it.
“We both play for Partick Thistle and we finished second bottom this season. But for a team who has only been going since November, I think that is pretty good.
“I think it was more about getting to know each other and how we played and people are joining the team all the time.
“I have really enjoyed it and the training has really improved my fitness. It has been great to meet goalies from other teams in the same position as me.”
Stephen and Ryan have an unknown condition which caused them both to be born with a hand missing. Stephen was born without his right hand and Ryan his left.
“When Ryan was born, they did tests to see if it was genetic but it was inconclusive,” Stephen said.
“We don’t know what caused it but we try not to let it hold us back.
“As I get older and look at Ryan I just hope anything which held me back won’t hold him back.”
Partick Thistle are the only amputee team based in Scotland but both Dundee United and Hearts have expressed interest in starting their own sides.
Stephen revealed it was common for players with upper limbs missing to go in goals while those without lower limbs would play outfield.
Ryan also turns out as goalkeeper for his school team, Hallside Primary B team. And he is extremely proud of his dad.
Ryan said: “I didn’t think he was that good in goal and then I was training against him at Petershill and some of the saves he was pulling off, I didn’t know he could do that.”
•The Amputee Scotland team are trying to raise funds to pay for the Holland trip. To donate, go to www. justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ amputee football scotland
At first I wasn’t sure but they’re a great bunch of boys and I’m really enjoying it Stephen Gregson
Goalkeeper’s union Partick Thistle goalies Stephen and Ryan Gregson