Clyde are hoping to reap the rewards of a partnership project which helps identify potential future stars literally on their own doorstep.
The club has been developing an input into a Football Performance course run at Cumbernauld-based New College Lanarkshire’s Broadwood campus.
Presentations such as one given recently by Clyde under-20s coach Richard Fox gave students an insight into the demands of professional football as they undertake a course which effectively offers them both full-time football training and an education leading to a professional qualification.
And in return the club has the opportunity to pick up on players who may be showing talent but have not got a permanent club.
The course’s curriculum and quality leader Todd Lumsden, also boss of top junior side Linlithgow Rose, explained the concept.
He said: “The idea was to try and support part-time professional football teams’ players that maybe don’t get the chance to go full-time.
“If they’re playing for Rangers or Celtic or Kilmarnock or Hamilton Accies or Motherwell and they go full-time, then great.
“For the ones that don’t get the chance to go full-time - who’ve maybe just been released by a club or have maybe just been at a part-time club like Clyde all the way through the youth system - it gives them an opportunity to experience what it’s like to train and play full-time professional.
“They will train with us three days a week, they would train with their part-time team maybe two nights a week so if you add all that together it’s like being a full-time professional.”
Ex-pros such as Sandy Clark and Allan Moore help Todd deliver the course which also uses football as a lure to offer students a pathway to further education and a professional qualification.
For Clyde, the partnership offers them the chance to invite students in to train if they show potential or - as was the case with current midfield star Scott Ferguson - use the course to top up the training they get with Clyde.
Todd said: “He was playing with Clyde and came to the course to help him kick on a little bit in terms of his fitness and condition, because he had very good technical ability already.
“It works both ways. We’ve got three lads coming in this year who are currently playing for Clyde, so they’re saying: ‘I’m playing for Clyde at the moment, I’m going to go to the college course and hopefully that will help us progress within Clyde’s youth team’.
“That’s one way. The other is students just enrol in the course and training through the year and through sessions like the one with Richard we can say to Clyde ‘you should maybe have a look at this player, he’s doing really well’. They get invited in to train with Clyde and ultimately it then comes down to their ability.”