ONE of the Borders’ most successful footballers has paid tribute to a Peeblesshire walking football club.

Tweedvale Walking Football Club has pioneered the game for older people in Peebles.

Former Rangers, Hearts and St Johnstone striker Steven MacLean was the guest of honour as Tweedvale, one of Scotland’s first walking football clubs, celebrated its 10th anniversary.

He also presented honorary life membership certificates to its three founding members – John Blair, Colin MacDonald and Findlay Ferguson.

“It’s been an absolute pleasure to be able to show my appreciation for these guys and to see the success of the club,” said MacLean. “Findlay and Colin spent so much time helping me develop as a kid so it was an honour for me to give them something back.

“I think the walking football is massively important. It’s a bit of everything really – guys like Findlay and Colin who played football all their days are still getting to play, and enjoy that bit of competition; they’re getting out and meeting old and new friends; and you can just see how much joy and fun they get from it. It’s fantastic.”

After his first stint in management ended this season at St Johnstone, the 41-year-old revealed that he is returning to football this summer as first team coach with Queen’s Park, re-uniting with Callum Davidson. And he says he is inspired by his Peebles mentors.

“Look, I know as a retired professional that there comes a time in life when you can’t do what you used to do, but these guys, and women involved too, are showing us that that doesn’t mean we just stop.

“I’m delighted to be getting back into coaching and I’m looking forward to it because it’s what I’ve always loved, and a lot of the inspiration comes from these guys.”

Past and present players, friends and opponents – including walking footballers from Edinburgh – celebrated the 10th anniversary at the Green Tree Hotel in Peebles, with reflections on tournament appearances as far afield as Portugal.

Pride of place was kept for Jillian Scott and Amanda Renwick, former Scottish Borders Council employees who were instrumental in working with the men to secure funding and launch the club in 2014.

Tweedvale Chair Steve Iredale said: “It was a really enjoyable occasion and great to mark the first 10 years, and the men who started the club, and are still playing, and the people who helped them do it.

“Walking football has been very important for the Peebles community, and as a community in itself, welcoming all people regardless of age or ability.”