russell_latapy_juniorANY fears that fans may have over Russell Latapy hanging up his playing boots were allayed this week, because another Little Magician has just pulled some on.

The size twos in question belong to Russell Junior, the son of the legendary footballer from Trinidad and Tobago.

And Falkirk FC may have pulled off a major coup by signing him up for their new Mini-Bairns coaching programme which starts in January.

Celebrating his third birthday later this month, the youngster already has his very own Falkirk top with dad's famous number 10 printed on the back, although it's only just big enough for an abbreviated 'Tapy' to fit above.

Even so, judging by his ball skills and cultured right foot, witnessed during a kick about at The Falkirk Stadium this week, it already looks like he could well grow up to be another star.

Latapy Senior told Heraldsport: "I'd like to think that could be the case but you never know.

"I've been involved in football for most of my life so if he chooses that direction then I'd be delighted.

"Russell loves the game and has been around it since day one, coming to the matches and meeting the players. Meanwhile, all he wants to do is kick a ball around the house!

"I'll be sitting down with all parties involved at the end of the season to decide my future, but as long as I'm here then Russell will definitely be part of the set-up as well because they have a number of top programmes in place for children.

"When he joins the Mini-Bairns next year, and gets some formal coaching, then perhaps he will show some promise.

"We will wait and see. However, so long as he's happy and successful in life then, whatever he does, I'll be pleased."

The older Latapy is already held in very high esteem at Falkirk and that was ably demonstrated last weekend when a series of special events were organised in his honour by supporter Keith Miller.

Now 40-years-old, Latapy was inducted into the club's Hall of Fame for his service during the past five seasons and celebrations were held at Westfield on Saturday.

A sportsman's lunch the following afternoon saw all proceeds, at the player's request, being donated to the Falkirk Academy.

"I feel honoured and humbled for all that took place, and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole weekend," he said.

"It's not every day something like that happens, and you really feel appreciated and loved by the fans on these types of occasions."

Latapy took a bow on the pitch prior to the Bairns' latest SPL encounter as an impressive card display by the fans spelt out his number and he was greeted by Ashton Ford, an attaché from Trinidad and Tobago's High Commission.

The gifted midfielder then remained on the bench for the latest SPL encounter against one of his former clubs, Hibernian.

But, while he hasn't featured regularly throughout the current season either, the first team player/coach says he's still prepared to take to the field when called upon.

"We've got some top players at the club and that is the reason why we have maintained our Premier League status," he went on.

"So when I'm needed and can make a positive contribution then I will play – it's up to the manager to decide if he wants to use me and perhaps injuries or suspensions will dictate that.

"But I love being around this club and the players, and as long as I have the opportunity to play for Falkirk then I will be happy."

Latapy shared everyone's frustration at the 1-1 draw after his team out-played Hibs and took the lead through Darren Barr, but only finished with a point to their credit.

"It's really hard in the SPL, and Celtic and Rangers are the top clubs because they have consistency while most of the others struggle to get it," he added.

"We have good days and some not so. Against Hibs everything went right for us except we didn't kill the game off by scoring more goals – that's something you have to do when you're on top.

"We know we have quality players who can play the type of football that we want to at Falkirk – getting the ball down, passing it, and being creative and exciting.

"But it comes down to having a good level of consistency, and if we can find that then I am sure we will move further up the table."

The Bairns have another home fixture this Saturday when they take on bottom side St Mirren.

It also marks 'International Family Day' and a number of people from different countries have been invited to attend.

FALKIRK in the Community's Mini-Bairns programme is the fastest growing at the club and an introduction to football for boys and girls aged between three and five.

Taking place in a fun, friendly and safe environment, classes begin again at The Falkirk Stadium in January for 12 weeks.

Application forms are available from the venue now – see next week's Heraldsport for further details.