CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating after Renfrewshire Council decided to install an all-weather football pitch instead of a hockey pitch at a secondary school.

The new 3rd generation (3G) pitch at Park Mains High School in Erskine means that teams will be able to train and play in their own area all year round without having to travel.

The council originally planned to install a hockey playing field which would not have been suitable for playing football all year round.

But now council bosses have allocated £400,000 for a 3G pitch, following a vigorous campaign led by Erskine Youth Football Club.

Neil McMurchy is vice-chairman of the club, and he welcomed the news, saying: "We're ecstatic, it's brilliant news for the whole of Erskine.

"The pitch will be a top-of-the-range, competition standard surface and we can't wait until it's down so we can start playing on it.

"I have to give the council their due, they sat down with us and listened to our concerns, and it seems they have taken note.

"We hope that there will be stand alone changing rooms so that the pitches can be used outwith school opening hours." Erskine Youth Football Club organised a campaign to get the 3G pitch installed.

Their Facebook page had over 700 members and over 500 people signed an online petition.

The campaign culminated in a rally in Paisley Town Centre which was attended by over 800 young footballers and supported by Douglas Alexander MP.

Erskine and Inchinnan SNP Councillor Iain Nicolson said: "We committed ourselves to looking at the issue of the synthetic pitch for football after meeting the football clubs on a number of occasions.

"The community sports campus at Park Mains will be bigger and better with this decision.

"We will retain the sand dressed synthetic park for other sports and with the new 3G, provide a wide range of sports for the school pupils and the wider community." Derek Mackay MSP said: "We always said we would listen to the views of local people, and this shows the council has taken on board local opinions and found a way to improve the original £33 million pound investment at Park Mains High School.

"As well as a brand new high school, we will provide a new state of the art 3G synthetic pitch at Park Mains, that ensures competition football can be played, and the overall facilities in the school campus can accommodate a range of sports and school use."