A lovely idea to raise awareness

February 16, 2015

An 11-year-old boy from Lurgan in Northern Ireland is in the running to win the SPFL goal of the month award for January. Jay Beatty’s penalty is competing with another nine goals for the title. It’s the first time a goal by a fan has been included in the competition.You can watch the goals below.

He was a guest of Celtic at their game against Hamilton Academical. He was in the dressing room before the game giving an inspirational team talk to the Celtic players. And at half-time he took a penalty and scored in front of over 6,000 people. Both sets of fans at the game sang his name as he scored. Which, in itself, is amazing.

What’s even more amazing is the Jay has Down’s Syndrome. And the most lovely bit of it all is that people are referring to Jay as Jay, not as the boy with Down’s Syndrome.

Jay celebrating his goal

Jay celebrating his goal

He’s currently trending on social media and the clip has been watched almost 300,000 times. A quick look at previous goal of the month clips on the official SPFL channel shows they’re watched between 4,000 and 5,000 times.

Someone, somewhere has had the great idea of raising awareness that people with Down’s are still people. And it’s worked – in an astounding way.

Jay has a history with Celtic. It started when Georgios Samaras, the former Celtic striker, became friends with Jay due to his unstinting support of the team. Samaras celebrated goals with Jay and took him on the team bus. He even presented Jay with his league winner’s medal and took Jay on the lap of honour after they’d won the title. And Jay took it all in his stride.

When Greece were about to play their final group game at the 2014 World Cup against Ivory Coast, Jay sent a message of support to them due to his friendship with Samaras.

Greece won 2-1 with Samaras winning a penalty in injury time and converting it himself. Samaras then talked about Jay in the post-match interviews and thanked him for his inspiration and support. The Greek fans then started a campaign to get Jay to Brazil for their last-16 match. Unfortunately Jay and his family were just about to go on holiday and couldn’t accept the invitation.
It’s an amazing story.

There’s a lesson for us all here – treat everyone with respect. Every single person has feelings and we should all try and be a bit nicer to each other. Difference is what makes the world we live in an interesting place. If we were all a little less selfish and followed Georgios Samaras’s example the world would be a far better place.

Share Jay’s story and inspire more people to be better people in their day-to-day lives.

You can help add another amazing chapter to his story by voting for Jay to win the goal of the month award. Vote here and put another smile on an amazing kid’s face.

P.S. Judging by the comments under the video wee Jay is a shoe-in for winning the goal of the month award. Well done wee man.

P.P.S. Jay got 97% of the votes cast – so he not only won it but had the highest winning margin. Ever. Of any goal of the month award. Anywhere on planet earth.

I guess my only question is: ‘How bitter are the 3% who didn’t vote for him?’

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