ST MIRREN’S young guns were in sizzling form in the sunshine as they went continental during a two-week break in Portugal.
It was certainly no holiday camp for David Longwell’s starlets as they were put through their paces rigorously on a daily basis to keep them in tip-top condition for the remaining challenges of the season.
St Mirren’s stay in Portugal was down to a long-running scheme organised by the Scottish Football Association and supported by European funding from the Leonardo Da Vinci Programme.
In previous years, the Paisley club’s under-19 squad have been to Cyprus on similar warm weather training camps.
However, this year saw a change of destination, with the squad heading to the Barrington camp in the sun-kissed Algarve.
Longwell, who is Head of Youth Development at St Mirren, told Express Sports: “It was a specialised sports training facility and hotel.
“Clubs such as Liverpool and Chelsea, as well as German clubs Wolfsburg and Hannover, have used the facility in the past.
“It was a top facility with a top class training pitch, gymnasium, indoor and outdoor swimming pools.
“It also has a restaurant which specialises in foods for athletes.”
During their stay, the Saints under-19s took on two local Portuguese teams, a Dutch side and the Dundee United under-19s, who were also undertaking some warm weather training in the Algarve.
And, impressively, the Paisley young guns won all of their matches.
Longwell said: “It was a fantastic two weeks which the players benefited greatly from.
“It has set them up well for the second half of the season.
“Their behaviour throughout the trip was a credit to themselves and the club.”
Longwell, along with coach Frazer Robertson and assistant coaches Andy Hogg and Steven Sweeney, were in charge of the team in Portugal, supported by physio Pauline Robertson.
Now back home in chilly Scotland, Longwell has thanked his fellow coaches and physio for their time and hard work.