Heart of Midlothian FC became the first Scottish team to participate in the prestigious Christmas Truce International Tournament - with the club declaring the experience a resounding success.
Invited to take part by the English Premier League, a mixture of Hearts’ U12s and U13s made the trip to the Continent last weekend where they came up against some of Europe’s top academies such as Chelsea, Anderlecht, Schalke and Borussia Monchengladbach.
As well as the football, the trip focused on culture and education with one of the highlights of the weekend the Saturday night banquet where the players swapped gifts like the soldiers did in 1914.
Over the weekend the players visited the site of one of the Christmas Truce football matches, went to war graves and memorials, learned what life was like in the trenches and attended the Menin Gate Last Post ceremony, laying wreaths on behalf of their clubs.
The weekend meant a special pilgrimage for the Jambos, whose inclusion was a poignant one given so many of the players volunteered to fight in the First World War, with seven making the ultimate sacrifice.
The youngsters paid their respects to one of those men, James Speedie, when they visited Dud Corner Cemetery in Loos-en-Gohelle, where his name is remembered.