Archie Meekison: Why my loan to Spartans meant more than training with Barcelona

DUNDEE UNITED youngster Archie Meekison trained with Barcelona as a child but credits a move to Lowland League Spartans with helping him the most as he celebrated his breakthrough season with an under-the-table call-up 21 years in Scotland.

The 20-year-old has made a big impact with the Tam Courts side this season as United finished fourth and qualified for Europe for the first time in ten years.

He could make his debut for Scotland Under-21 tomorrow in St. Truiden against Euro 2023 group leaders Belgium. Meekison was so keen to get involved that he canceled a family holiday in Greece to join Scot Gemmill’s band.

And he has revealed his unusual route to the progress he has made this term… via Camp Nou and Ainslie Park.

He said: “I missed a family holiday in Greece. It was an easy decision. I wasn’t going to say to Scot Gemmill, ‘ah, I’d rather be lying on a sunbed!’

“It adds a bit to your mentality, knowing that you have that little extra in June when other players maybe have their feet up. As much as I like to spend time relaxing, the way I played the last six games of the season, I didn’t really feel like my season was coming to an end, I wanted to start.

“Barcelona was part of a training experience with AM Soccer under Austin MacPhee. When we were there Barcelona had a camp and a couple of us went for a training session.

“You could see all the first team players arriving for training which was really cool. I saw everyone: David Villa, Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta, Xavi. They were all there It was cool to be so close to them and see them on the training ground, it gave me a lot of inspiration and confidence.

“So I trained with Barcelona. I wouldn’t say I was scouted by Barcelona, ​​but I welcome it!

“The Spartans came to a dead point in my career where I had just finished the Under-18s and was training with the first team but not quite getting into the squads. I had a discussion with the club and went out to play every week and grow physically playing men’s football.

“So I went to the Spartans and I played every week and scored a lot of goals and it was good for my confidence and to prove to myself that I could play in men’s football. From there I came back and I made my debut.

“It’s a really special club run by the community and charity. Everyone was so nice to me, really respectful and gave me all the help I needed. They were there to boost me and I I still keep in touch with a lot of people there and I can’t thank them enough.

And Meekison will use that international experience with Scotland to help him with United’s European campaign.

He said: “These games will be very useful for me for games in Europe with United, 100%. Playing in different countries is not something I have done a lot, especially at this level.

“It will definitely help me for next season, whatever tie we have, whether it’s halfway around the world or closer to home.”

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