Former footballer Martin Johnston, 42, is to take part in a pioneering clinical trial of treatments for motor neurone disease.

The former Cove Rangers, Peterhead, Elgin and Brechin striker was diagnosed with MND in 2018.

He is taking part in a trial which will involve tests of potential treatments on people with the condition.

Martin, from Aberdeen, said: “There are no real treatments out there at the moment but even if we can’t find a cure just now, we would like to find something which can slow the progression.

“It’s a huge boost to me to see the amount of research that is going on, and it is great to be involved.” MND Scotland, which supports people affected by the condition, has announced MND-Smart will be rolled out at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (ARI) this year.

The organisation is funding the trials along with the Euan MacDonald Centre, substantial private donations and rugby star Doddie Weir’s My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.

MND-Smart involves testing multiple drugs and MND Scotland says this could speed up the time it takes to find medicines which could slow, stop or even reverse the condition’s progress.

MND Scotland has invested £1.5million into the project, and tests are already being conducted in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Salford.

Dr Callum Duncan, the consultant neurologist at ARI who is leading the study, said: “This is the first wide-scale MND clinical trial in years and so is a very exciting step forward among hugely challenging times in healthcare.”

Martin is also encouraging people to take part in Doddie Aid – a mass-participation event in the name of former Scotland second-row forward Weir, to help fund more research into finding a cure for MND.

He said: “So far £500,000 has been raised, which is amazing.

“It’s that sort of thing which allows trials like MND-Smart to take place. It’s great people are getting involved because it is making a difference.”