A YOUNG Port Glasgow footballer was in a league of his own as he stepped out in front of 55,000 fans — and he felt just champion.

Nine-year-old Michael Harkins won a slot as a matchday mascot for Manchester City’s Champions League clash against Ukranian side Shakhtar Donetsk.

And the night got even better for him when he was paired with City’s Brazilian ace Fernandinho.

Michael — who won his place in a prize draw run by Champions League sponsor Mastercard — said: “It was amazing to walk out in front of that huge crowd. The atmosphere was brilliant.

“It was a dream come true, and to get Fernandinho was great.”

Michael — who plays for Port Glasgow Boys’ Club — added: “It would be great to walk out as a player in the Champions League for real.

“When I walked out onto the pitch I winked at the camera for my grandad because he couldn’t make it because he wasn’t feeling well.”

As well as football, Michael’s other interests include drawing and acting, and he’s a member of Inverclyde Musical Youth Theatre.

He said: “I’ve taken part in a few shows at the Beacon, but the Etihad Stadium is the biggest stage I’ve walked out on so far.”
Michael’s dad, John Paul, said: “We thoroughly enjoyed it and it was a great experience for both of us.

“The drive down to Manchester and back was more than worth it.”

If you would you like to give your child the opportunity to be part of the Mastercard Mascot Programme at a UEFA Champions League match, just enter at https://uk.mastercard.com/ucl’