Trip to see Forfar is long time coming for Aussie lad Chris

Forfar Athletic were forging new international links on Saturday when they hosted Sandy Coutts all the way from Australia.

Forfar-born Sandy is celebrating his 80th birthday with a holiday in Scotland after many years spent Down Under.

Joining him is his partner Pat Johnston, also a Scottish emigrant, Pat’s son Glenn and her grandson Christopher.

Glenn and Christopher were lucky enough to be invited to be mascots for the Loons’ friendly with East Stirlingshire, clocking in a wee bit older than most mascots.

The younger pair enjoyed great success in football back in Australia, Glenn representing New South Wales - who share the Loons’ colours - and Christopher winning the Harry Kewell Medal at the age of 14 just two highlights of their careers.

The eventual arrival at Station Park was a long time coming for the 25-year-old Christopher.

Pat explained: “When Christopher was just a toddler I brought him a Forfar Athletic sports bag and scarf from a holiday to Scotland which he loved, so he’s finally made it to Station Park.”

His impressive resume speaks for itself.

He represented Australia at the under 14 6-a-side World Cup in South Korea. He then captained the Australian under 15 team at a football tournament in Japan and was named Australian Player of the Tournament by the Japanese hosts.

He spent most of his career playing in midfield but was also comfortable playing at centre back.

Christopher was a specialist penalty taker as well but his Dad, Glenn, reckons that if he was in the goal then his son would have struggled to get the ball past him.

He was a First Division goalkeeper when he was 17 and was at one point trained by Australian goalkeeper Alan Maher who represented Australia in the 1974 FIFA World Cup.

The group said they were mightily impressed with the facilities and infrastructure at Station Park, which they toured before they go and enjoy the Open this week.