Kilmarnock U16s safe-standing section is British first

Kilmarnock are following the example of Celtic, who in 2016 became the first Scottish club to install rail seats
Kilmarnock are following the example of Celtic, who in 2016 became the first Scottish club to install rail seats

Kilmarnock are to become the first British club to install a safe-standing section for fans under the age of 16.

Rail seats will be fitted at Rugby Park in mid-September and - in another British first - the work will be funded fully by fans.

There will be 158 adult rail seats in the East Stand as well as 166 for kids in the Family Stand, with the £40,000 costs for that met by the Killie Trust.

Kilmarnock are the second Scottish team after Celtic to opt for safe standing.

The seats, which can be flipped up and locked in place to create room to stand behind a waist-high safety rail, are part of a push by the Killie Trust to get more youngsters to attend games.

The trust has also raised enough money to build wheelchair platforms to improve the viewing experience for disabled fans.

"We had more than 12,000 fans in for the last game of the season against Rangers and the atmosphere was incredible but our average gate is more like 8,000 - better than it was not long ago but still too many empty seats," said Killie Trust chair Jim Thomson.

"So we're trying to develop the Family Stand, which we used to give over to Old Firm fans but have now reclaimed.

"We think putting rail seats in there so the older kids can stand with their mates, but still in sight of their parents, will be a really social thing for them. It will also hopefully encourage them to keep coming as they get older."

Set up in 2003, this is the trust's second major investment in the club after raising £100,000 to buy shares to put a supporter-elected representative, former Labour MP Cathy Jamieson, on the board last year.

Kilmarnock are seeking a new manager after Steve Clarke, who led the club to third place, their highest finish since 1966, left to take the Scotland job last month.

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