BY JIM TAIT
A YOUNG Shetland footballer is celebrating after being signed by Inverness Caledonian Thistle at youth level.
Cameron Gibbs, 12, from Nesting, now faces the prospect of having to travel away almost every weekend over the coming winter, with his family having to shoulder the bulk of the costs.
A first year pupil at the Anderson High School, Cameron was spotted by the Scottish Premier Club while playing in a tournament in Orkney three months ago. The Whitedale player was a member of the Shetland under-12 side which defeated Caley Thistle to win the competition.
The same weekend Cameron captained the Shetland team to a 4-0 inter-county win over Orkney, and was named man of the match.
A couple of days later the Gibbs family had a phone call from a representative of Caley Thistle, asking if it was possible for Cameron to come down to train for a week, as the Inverness coaches had liked what they saw.
The training went well and he was then asked to go down to Inverness to play against Hamilton Accies as a triallist. That was to have been the first of three matches before the club decided whether to sign him on or not.
Cameron was moved up to under-14 level for the Hamilton game and he impressed so much the option of the further two games was ignored and he was signed there and then.
Cameron’s father Martin, who coaches the senior Whitedale team, said it was a bit of a dream come true for his son and the rest of the family – mother Sally, sisters Shannon, 15 and Madison, nine, and brother Regan, aged seven – were equally excited about the prospect.
Things will not be easy, however, as Cameron will have to travel to Inverness or further afield almost every weekend during the coming season, and the burning issue of travel costs for Shetland sportsmen and women will have to be overcome.
“It’s a great credit to Whitedale and the local coaches that this has happened,” Martin said. “And also great credit to Shetland Islands Council for bringing coaches up so we can develop these boys better.
“Money is always going to a be a problem though. There are other boys here that could make the grade but sometimes I feel it’s all coming to nothing because of funding.
“We will do everything we can to help Cameron but other parents might not be able to make that commitment. It’s a difficult one.
“I have emailed [MSP] Tavish Scott to see if he could help in some way. I said to him: ‘Are we wasting our time here or what?’ “[Cameron] is obviously over the moon. It’s a dream for most boys this. It was my dream but I just wasn’t good enough. He is delighted. [But] at 12 years old they don’t understand about the money involved.
“This is not going to be easy but we will do everything we can for him. Not to do that would break his heart.”
Apart from the travel costs involved Cameron will be facing a stiff challenge on the pitch over the next few weeks. Caley Thistle’s next three matches are against Celtic, Dundee United and Kilmarnock.