Cash seized from criminals is to be awarded to a football club's charitable arm to create life-changing opportunities for disadvantaged young people.

The Scottish Government is awarding £175,000 of CashBack for Communities funding to the Celtic FC Foundation, the charitable arm of the Glasgow giants.

The foundation will use the money to introduce the Gateway to Employment project, which is aimed at young people aged 18 to 24 and focuses on offenders and those at risk of reoffending.

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Over the next three years, the Celtic FC Foundation will engage with more than 100 young people in areas of Glasgow with the highest rates of crime and anti-social behaviour to support them in developing new skills through volunteering, training or employment opportunities.

Tony Hamilton, chief executive of the foundation, said: "Funding and support from CashBack allows us to work with young people, in one of our key geographical areas in Glasgow, who have specific employment needs, which we can help address.

"This project has clear outcomes and targets, and there are a whole series of initiatives towards helping our target group get back to full employment.Helping them to have the best chance of finding meaningful employment has a benefit for all in the community."

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill made the announcement while meeting Mr Hamilton and Apex chief executive Alan Staff at Celtic FC's training ground in Lennoxtown.

Mr MacAskill said: "While this is a momentous year for Scottish sport, its legacy will last well beyond 2014."