A LARGS mum says young local footballers can take inspiration from Billy Gilmour after the North Ayrshire wonderkid lifted the Champions League trophy for Chelsea.

Billy was part of the squad which defeated Manchester City 1-0 in Portugal on Saturday evening in European football's premier competition.

Billy, who hails from Ardrossan, became the 32nd Scotsman to lift the coveted European trophy since the triumphant Celtic side lifted the European Cup in 1967 - which included another North Ayrshireman in Bobby Lennox of Saltcoats.

Largs mum Heather McCallum, whose son Zak plays Pro Youth football locally, says it is an exciting time for young footballers in the area as they look to follow in Billy's footsteps.

She said: "Watching Billy from Ardrossan lifting the Champions League was amazing given he’s still a teenager. His younger brother Harvey plays at pro youth at Kilmarnock. Zak, my son, and his friend Josh Gilmour, both 13, (no relation) are in the Pro youth academy training and there is also Aiden Quigg playing at Greenock Morton, as well as other local lads at Morton Pro Youth.

"Saturday night's game was such an inspiration to them all.

"The victory was something to behold and it was lovely to see Billy lift the trophy - he actually spoke of a dream in 2019 of lifting a European Cup - so it just goes to show you that dreams do come true!"

"Zak and Josh were both pro youth at Rangers and now play at Kilmarnock.

"To see a boy from North Ayrshire lift the UEFA Champions league 󠁧󠁢is an incredible story."

Josh and Zak got the lucky opportunity to meet Billy at a pro-football event in Kilwinning before lockdown, pictured, as Billy had come along to watch his younger brother Harvey play at the event.

Growing up, Gilmour attended Grange Academy in Kilmarnock where he was part of the Scottish Football Association (SFA) Performance School programme.

He was part of the Rangers academy from the age of eight and was training with the first team by the time he was 15. Gilmour made the switch to London when Chelsea came calling soon after.

He made his Premier League debut on August 31, 2019 in a 3-1 win against Sheffield United and his Champions League debut with a substitute appearance in a 4-0 away win in Sevilla.

In total, Gilmour made 11 first-team appearances across the 2020/21 season.

His performances also led to him being called up to the senior Scotland for the first team for the upcoming European Championships.

Former Chelsea player and Scotland international Pat Nevin praised Billy's performances on BBC Radio Five Live, and said he was 'the best player on the park' during one of the club's recent league matches.

Pictured are Blaike Haye, Josh Gilmour, Zak Khettabi and Ewan Bowie, son of owner of Kilmarnock Football Club owner Billy Bowie.