The Hearts, Hibs, Rangers & SPFL stars who helped kit out Lothian kids team after £800 lurch

A host of stars from Hearts, Hibs, Rangers and beyond have come to the rescue of a young East Lothian team who were left in the lurch for new kits.

Lothian Colts 2012, who play at Meadowmill in the county, saw sponsors for strips pull out at last minute, leaving an £800 hole that was needed to supply the kits.

Local businessman John Johnstone, who runs Football Mindset, working with professional footballers on a daily basis, saw the predicament on social media and reached out to the team who are coached by friend Grahame Murphy.

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With the aid of a number of current and former SPFL stars, including Lawrence Shankland, Chris Cadden and Scott Wright, he helped raise the necessary funds.

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"I came across a post on Facebook from a mate,” Johnstone told The Scotsman. “He was saying his team had been let down for sponsorship at the last minute and as a result the kids weren’t able to get their kits for the season.

"The fact his son plays for the team, he helps coach it. Also, I’ve been there, I've played grassroots. To think that kids were looking for a sponsor to get their kits for the season.

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"When I first reached out to Grahame, my target wasn’t to get the total sum, my target was to make a donation myself and speak to some friends in professional football to see if they would help.

“They were more than happy. All I asked would they be interested in matching what I put away, straight away they said yes and one or two went above what I had donated. The guys were more than willing. They’ve been in that situation before, they all start at grassroots.”

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John Johnstone of Football Mindset with Lothian Colts 2012 team and their new kits.

What it means

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As well as the likes of Shankland and Cadden, former Hearts players Jake Mulraney and Sean Clare donated, as did Aberdeen's Jack MacKenzie, former Hibs boss John Hughes and ex-Dons striker Sam Cosgrove.

"One hundred per cent the kids were buzzing with the new kits,” Johnstone, who presented them on Sunday, said

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“With having players from Hibs, Hearts, Rangers, a lot of these kids are supporters of the clubs. They will be aware of a lot of these players from seeing them on TV. I don’t think many grassroots football clubs will have a sponsorship list like that.

“A lot of the lads who have donated probably don’t know how big of a thing it is to donate and what it means. The players might see it as a donation but the people on the receiving end of that, the young kids, probably see it as so much more.

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“Quite often footballers get a bad rap, quite often they are put on pedestals and also smashed off pedestals but they are just ordinary guys doing extraordinary things.”

Despite helping raise the majority of the £800, Johnstone was aware it was a “collective effort” with family members of the team also donating. He didn't think it was right for his business logo to adorn it. Marie Curie’s logo does instead.

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“I spoke to one of my clients whose family has been through quite a rough time over the last year or so,” he said. “I asked him if they would be willing to choose a charity to put on the front.”

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