Falkirk boy, 10, to help train basketball team, Caledonia Gladiators, after dressing up as club's head coach
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Max Philliban, from Falkirk, dressed up as Caledonia Gladiators’ men’s head coach Gareth Murray at a recent game and won over Scotland’s basketball franchise with the uncanny costume.
Ten-year-old Max donned the club’s strip and held up a coach’s clipboard, and even went as far to wear a mock-up wig with Gareth’s distinctive facial hair and fabric sleeve tattoos in tribute to the artwork on Gareth’s arms from his playing days at the club.
To thank Max for his ongoing support of the Caledonia Gladiators, where he is a season ticket holder, the youngster has now been offered the chance to support Gareth and his coaching team at an upcoming training session.
Max said: “I’m so excited that I’m getting to train with the team – I can’t believe it. I just thought it would be funny to dress as Gareth, and happy it made him laugh when he saw me. The only bad bit was the beard kept getting stuck in my mouth.
"I love basketball and going to see the Gladiators play. Gareth and all the team are really friendly, so I’m really looking forward to seeing them again.”
The Kinnaird Primary pupil has been going to Caledonia Gladiators games with mum Linsey Philliban, 41, for the last three seasons after falling in love with the sport. He plays at under 12 level for basketball club Falkirk Fury – where Gladiators club stars including Jonny Bunyan and Fraser Malcolm began their career.
Max chose to dress as Gareth after the club encouraged fans to dress up for their pre-Hallowe’en British Basketball League match against Leicester Riders on October 29 in East Kilbride.
Head coach Gareth, 39, said he was touched by the amusing gesture and was delighted to offer Max the chance to help train the club.
He said: “Everyone at the club absolutely loved Max’s costume, and it really raised a smile when I first spotted him in the crowd at our recent game. I think it gave some of the players a good laugh as well, and it was great to get a chance to chat to Max and his family after the game.
"We’d love to have Max along to help us train for one of our upcoming matches – I was joking to some of the team that he certainly looks the part as a head coach.”
Max’s mum Linsey said she was thrilled with the offer. The mum of two said: “When we told Max he’d get the chance to train with the team, his wee face lit up – he was over the moon. Max is a massive fan – we’ve gone to all the home games for the last three seasons. We just thought it would be a good laugh for Hallowe’en.
"Max loves interacting with the players. The whole team are so friendly and have so much time for the fans.”
The club are currently in the process or arranging dates with Max’s family to help him train with the club.