Scots amputee footballer faces 'incredibly tough' challenge after signing up for 26 mile run

A Scottish arm amputee footballer is facing and 'incredibly tough' challenge today after signing up for a 26 mile run to Hampden Park.

Scottish National amputee goalkeeper Stephen Tully, from Hamilton, set off from Fir Park, Motherwell, at 6.30am on Saturday, May 4. He was planning to run via Hamilton Accies, Celtic Park, Firhill and Ibrox.

Leg amputee Rob Wilson, a left-back for the team, met Stephen for half the run before other players from the Scotland squad joined him for his final stretch at Hampden Park.

Stephen signed up for the gruelling challenge in the hope of raising funds to get the team to the Amputee Football European Championships in France. They need to raise a total of £20,000 to bag a spot, reports Glasgow Live.

The game itself is played on crutches with teams of seven-a-side. Those in goals must have an upper limb amputation while those outfield a lower amputation.

Stephen said: "The run was incredibly tough – at points I was running through quite busy streets and by mile 20 everything was hurting! But the thought of the team and going to France was a constant motivation.

"Everyone dreams of putting on the national jersey and representing their country but so few ever get the chance to do so. The honour is huge and we intend to do our nation proud."

In November 2023, Scotland hosted Group D of the European Amputee Football Nations League competition in Fife, with attendance of more than 500 spectators and live-streamed matches.

Capturing the hearts of the nation, the squad finished third in the group, having faced teams from The Netherlands, Albania, Kosovo and Azerbaijan, to secure their place at the Euros in France.

This is the first time Scotland has qualified for the Amputee Football European Championships - but they need help getting there.

While the charity receives financial support from Scottish Para-Football, the Scottish FA’s governing body for disability football in Scotland, the team needs to raise another £20,000 to get them to France.

Ashley Pedersen, CEO of Scottish Para-Football and founder of Amputee Football Association Scotland, said: "Stephen did an incredible job today in what was a huge physical challenge. To see his teammates rally round and support him was fantastic.

"Para-football in Scotland is growing at an incredible rate. We’ve seen the Cerebral Palsy Scotland squad win at the CP World Championships in Salou last month and now the amputee squad will head to France for the Amputee Football European Championships.

"I’d urge the public to get behind the team and support them."

A Just Giving page has already raised around £15,000. Find out more about the fundraiser here.

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