JAY Beatty, the young Celtic fan who captured hearts when Georgios Samaras picked him out from the crowd to join in the Hoops’ title celebrations last year, had a day to remember at Hamilton on Saturday.
Jay, who has Down’s Syndrome, was the special guest at New Douglas Park for the Scottish Premiership match between Hamilton Accies and Celtic.
The 11-year-old superfan, who was honoured in Greece at the 61st Sports Personality of the Year awards ceremony in Athens along with Samaras last month, got the VIP treatment as Celtic recorded a 2-0 win over Accies thanks to goals from Adam Matthews and Liam Henderson.
Welcomed by Celtic legend Frank McAvennie before the match, ‘Wee Jay’ - from County Armagh - was presented with a club scarf, and got to visit both home and away dressing rooms.
Jay, who is the official mascot of the Lurgan Glasgow Celtic Supporters Club even gave Celtic an inspiring team talk before the match started, and at half-time, scored a goal in front of the Celtic fans to rapturous applause and cheering from all 6007 fans present.
Dad Martin, who posted a number of videos of the day, said: “I would like to thank Hamilton FC for making Jay’s Christmas present the best present ever, they could not have been any kinder and I will never be able to thank them enough.
“Today was something else and to have a whole stadium including the Hamilton fans chanting your son’s name will live with me forever.”
And in a Facebook post, Martin added: “When Jay was born, we hoped and prayed that people would treat him with respect.
“Because of his love of the greatest club in the world, his life has become a dream come true. We thought 2014 was just amazing but today was something else.”
And Hamilton chiefs put the icing on the cake when they informed Jay that the goal he scored ‘stood’, and that the official scoreline was Hamilton 0-3 Celtic, with goals from Matthews, Beatty and Henderson.
Martin added: “Hamilton were so kind yesterday and even in defeat they were just brilliant.”
Wee Jay’s connection with Celtic took off when the Hoops travelled to Belfast to play Cliftonville.
And the youngster became a worldwide hit at the end of last season, when video of him and Samaras on Celtic’s league-winning lap of honour went viral, racking up over 2 million hits on YouTube and being broadcast live on Sky Sports.
Martin, who works with an Irish construction firm in London, told the Irish Post: “As Celtic were doing the lap of honour, Neil Lennon spotted [Jay] in the crowd and presented him with his league medal.
“At the same time, Samaras picked Jay out from the crowd and took him on the lap of honour.”
And Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg selected a clip of Wee Jay celebrating a Celtic goal in his Facebook review of 2014.
• Video used with kind permission of Martin Beatty