SCOTLAND captain Andy Robertson has launched a charity that will give socially deprived children in Glasgow and beyond an equal start in life through football-themed opportunities.

AR26 Charity, named after his long-held shirt number from Dundee United, Hull City and Liverpool, will provide children with equal access to free football training, support and job opportunities to ensure youngsters have an equal playing field, regardless of their gender, race or background.

The 26-year-old who led Scotland to its first major tournament in 22 years, had been thinking about setting-up his own charity with his partner Rachel for a while. It was during lockdown earlier in the year that gave the couple time to bring the idea to life.

Andy said: “Throughout my career, I have always tried to help support charities and good causes whenever I could, but I wanted to do more.

“There are many parts of my life that make me feel blessed and privileged, but without a doubt the most significant of all is the encouragement, help and support of a loving family, amazing friends and brilliant coaches.

“Without them – and without luck – my circumstances could have been so different.

“It’s because of this that I am honoured to be part of an incredible team launching a charity focused on helping young people in Scotland.

“AR26 will look to provide support and opportunities for those who, through no fault of their own, feel left behind and, in some cases, abandoned.

“Opportunity should be a basic human right for everyone. To deny young people in Scotland equality of opportunity is to undermine our future.

“My own experiences have taught me that none of us can achieve anything on our own. We all need other people, we all need help, we all need support - and more than anything - we all need a chance.”

AR26 comprises of three pilot projects that aim to provide young people with a safe place to go and learn new skills, as well as providing once in a lifetime experiences to seriously unwell children:

Football for All: The AR26 Football Academy staff will provide children and young people across Scotland with free fun football sessions through community-run and afterschool lessons to help encourage them to lead a healthy and active lifestyle.

· Hope for Youths: Helping provide young people with access to further education, training and job opportunities.

· Life Changing Experiences: Creating memories for sick children and their families through once in a life-time experiences.