Dumbarton youngster Kyle Prior said it was a dream come true after signing his first professional contract with his hometown club.

Prior spent the first half of last season on loan at Vale of Clyde Juniors, before being recalled by manager Stevie Aitken.

He then trained with the first team for the remainder of the season, making his first team debut in the Sons’ 4-0 win over Raith Rovers.

And the midfielder is hoping to kick on next season and has been working hard off the field so he can hit the ground running when Dumbarton return for pre-season.

He said: “It’s a really good feeling getting my first professional contract. It’s something I’ve worked at my whole life and I’ve dreamt of it, and hoping I can get an opportunity to show what I can do next season.

“I’ve been doing loads of work off the training field, doing lots of fitness. I’m not in training but I’m doing pre-season work by myself just now, and always try to do some extra work whenever I can.

“He [manager Stevie Aitken] was very happy with my progression and said I was doing really well and hopes I can keep it up.

“He was just saying how well I was doing, and hopefully I’d get more opportunities.”

A key figure in his recent rise this season was the departing head of youth Tony McNally, who signed him on amateur terms with Dumbarton.

Prior was too old to play for the under-17s, and his spell on loan proved a valuable experience for the 17-year-old.

He added: “I gave Tony a text to say cheers for everything. He obviously brought me in when I didn’t have a club and he’s brought me in and helped me out and he’s given me good advice whenever I’ve needed it.

“He helped me with what I need to work on, and he came to watch me a couple of times when I was in the Juniors. I’ve toughened up a lot more, going from under-17s to Juniors.”