A FORMER Morton star has teamed up with the police as they give youngsters the chance to play football this summer.

Teenagers from different local high schools played side by side in a special tournament at the Battery Park, organised in partnership with Ton's youth academy.

Area Commander Paul Cameron is determined to break down barriers between the force and young people, by thanking the vast numbers of them for their support during the pandemic.

He hopes to work with Morton and other partners across the area to tackle anti-social behaviour.

They were joined by former Cappielow favourite Andy McLaren, who spoke to the teenagers about the difference football made to his life.

Chief Inspector Cameron said: "The vast majority of our young people are fantastic and it is only a handful that ever cause any problems.

"We want to say thanks to young people, bring them together and give them opportunities to play football and other activities."

Funded by the Scottish Government, the tournament was aimed at bringing young people from different areas together to play together in teams.

Community police officers also joined in as they took to the field for the event, organised by Morton Youth Academy director Derek Anderson.

Derek said: "It ws a great day and the boys really enjoyed themselves.

"It is great to have someone like Andy along as well to speak to the young people."

Former Morton player McLaren, who has had his own challenges with addictions in the past and wrote a book about them, said: "I hope to get the message across to young people about the pitfalls out there and how important it is to stick in."

The tournament comes as the local police work with their partners, including the council, to tackle anti-social behaviour which usually peaks during holiday periods.

It follows a recent surge in drunken outdoor mass gatherings, with a number of local beauty spots affected and left strewn with litter.