Nov 24 2010 by Colin Paterson, Airdrie & Coatbridge
THE father of Airdrie football star Barry Bannan has told how he shed tears of joy as his son made his debut for Scotland.
James Bannan admitted he was bursting with pride as he watched the Aston Villa midfielder win his first cap against the Faroe Islands in Aberdeen last Tuesday night.
The diminutive 20-year-old ran the show at Pittodrie as he helped the Dark Blues to a comfortable 3-0 international friendly victory at Pittodrie.
And delighted dad James is thrilled to see his wee boy, who grew up kicking a football in Kippen Street, Coatdyke, hit the big time.
“I was so proud of him,” he told the Advertiser. “When I knew he was starting, and I saw him in his Scotland shirt, a tear came to my eye. You can’t believe that it is your son doing it for Scotland.
“I told Barry that I never felt the cold at Pittodrie as I was so engrossed in his game and how he was playing.
“He’s come on leaps and bounds since he went to Villa.
“A lot of people have helped him. People like Frank Connelly, Eddie O’Brien, Jimmy Lindsay and John Stevenson all did well for him.”
The family, who now live in Coatbridge, told how Barry has defied the odds from day one having gone under the knife four times by the age of seven.
The youngster was born with a blocked tube into his kidney, needing two operations.
He subsequently underwent a hernia operation at the age of one before having his appendix removed when he was seven.
With early health concerns now a thing of the past, Barry has proceeded to prove the critics, who doubted his ability to make it as a professional footballer at the top level because of his height, spectacularly wrong.
“I can’t get it into my head that it’s my son everyone is talking about,” mum Kathleen said. “It feels like they are talking about someone else.
“I still can’t actually believe that he has got where he has got.
“He’s taken everything in his stride. To him, it’s just his job.”
Kathleen, who works as a cleaner, says fame will not change Barry’s outlook on life and who he is as a per son.
She added: “He will keep his feet on the ground and always remember where he’s from.
Turn to pages 86-87 for more on Barry’s meteoric rise.