Selkirk Football Club has courted praise from justice secretary Kenny MacAskill in the same week it earned its SFA licence.
The Yarrow Park club became the first in the Borders to meet Hampden officials’ regulations which qualifies them to continue playing in the Scottish Cup and the Lowland League.
The SFA announcement came on Monday, 24 hours before Mr MacAskill visited the club to see the work carried out by offenders on community payback orders.
Criminals have carried out a range of improvements, including building stands, installing decking for players and officials, and putting up fences.
Mr MacAskill, who was part of the Scottish Cabinet to meet in Hawick on Tuesday and Wednesday, said current legislation allowed communities to have a say on the work they want to see offenders doing and urged members of the public to get in touch with the council to make suggestions.
He added: “The work being done at Selkirk Football Club is an excellent example of this.
“Previously, the under-19s team was disbanded because the pitches didn’t satisfy SFA regulations.
“However, offenders on community payback orders were brought in to build fences and put in place infrastructure to change this (the under-19s squad is playing for Selkirk Victoria this season).
“Three out of five offenders given tough community-based sentences do not reoffend.
“Projects like these ones are undoubtedly ones that work – they provide the chance for low-level offenders to repay communities for the damage they have done and to learn new skills to help them get back into work.”
Ross Anderson of Selkirk FC welcomed the secretary’s visit. He said: “Mr MacAskill praised us as a forward thinking club with great facilities.”