A GREENOCK schoolboy rugby star is off to chase his dream of playing at the top level - in Russia.

Sixteen-year-old Ross Darroch has been on the country's radar for a couple of years and will line up for CSKA Moscow before joining the under-18s national side on his trip.

He was all set to join the squad last year before Covid-19 wiped out all the games.

The top young Greenock Wanderers player has dual citizenship because his mum Olga is from Siberia.

Now the Tele paper boy has been sent to Russia with love - and some roubles from his loyal customers.

Ross, who finished his Highers just before heading off, said: "I am very excited to just be playing rugby again for the first time 18 months.

"It all just stopped and even since it started back it has been non-contact.

"So much of what I was looking forward to was cancelled so I can't wait to get going again.

"I am nervous but very excited as well - it will be such an experience to go on my own travelling."

Ross's journey began with a trip to stay with his mum's family in Irkutsk in Siberia to self-isolate before joining CSKA Moscow.

He said: "I deliver Tele papers for extra money and all my customers have been wishing me well.

"One of them gave me a card and when I opened it there were some roubles which was really nice."

Ross, who lives in Eldon Street with dad Colin, his mum and younger brother Jonathan, 13, has been to Russia to visit relatives a few times but has been busy learning some extra Russian phrases.

The Clydeview Academy pupil has come through the Wanderers ranks was selected to join the under-16s Scotland side and was also selected for the Glasgow and West regional team.

When out in Russia for his six week tour Ross will join up with CSKA's u-18s for games against Krasnodar and Penza.

He will then move on to meet the Russian u-18s to play in the Rugby Europe 7s Championship.

Ross said: "I would really like to make a go of it in Russia, it is a brilliant set-up out there and the sport is massive."

The all-round sportsman switched from football to rugby after a coach told him he was more suited to the oval ball game.

Ros, who is hoping to go onto to study PE teaching, will turn 17 while on a trip of his lifetime.

The Wanderers wished him the best of luck as he headed off.

Academy manager Istok Totic said: "Ross fully deserves his chance to show everyone what he can do.

"He has always worked hard and is willing to put in the extra to make sure he keeps developing his game in all areas."