St Ambrose High School triumphed in the SSFA Senior Shield for the first time in their history after a dramatic penalty shoot out victory against their Springburn Academy counterparts. St Ambrose just about edged a hard fought encounter and managed to maintain their composure to score all five of their spot kicks. Springburn’s Jamie Brown had looked unbeatable for much of the second half but was eventually undone in the shoot out.
A noisy crowd of 630 was gathered on a dull Hamilton evening. The travelling St Ambrose fans were making themselves heard and there was a real sense of occasion. It would be hard for the players to live up to the atmosphere and so it proved as each side seemed to cancel one another out with very little in the way of clear cut chances. Springburn almost opened the scoring after five minutes however as Stuart McCann took advantage of hesitancy in the St Ambrose defence to latch on to a long Brown goal kick. His effort was poked just wide but gave an early indication of the amount of pace he possessed. The ball in behind certainly seemed to be an encouraging tactic for Springburn early on.
McCann’s strike partner Ryan Gemmell was also starting to assert himself on the game, his quick feet allowing his side the opportunity to break at pace. Gemmell was able to link with Scott Forrester and get a shot away. It was a weak effort though and easily held by Euan Perry. Gemmell was the dominant player at this point but a clear cut chance did not seem to come his way. Forrester forced another save but was too straight and central to worry Perry. Perry was concerned moments later as he had to rush out of his box to deny Gemmell whose claim that he was in fact outside the box quickly dismissed by referee David Doig.
At this stage it looked like Springburn would open the scoring and McCann did find the net in the twenty second minute with a fine shot through a ruck of players into the bottom corner. The assistant referee was quick to raise his flag and the goal was disallowed, much to the chagrin of the celebrating Springburn players and supporters. Billy Vidler then set McCann up in the box but again he was quickly closed down by St Ambrose players which mean his shot lacked the necessary power to worry Perry.
McCann was now becoming the prominent striker and a superb turn and driving run at pace led to him being chopped down and saw Jack McCormack become the first player to be booked. The free kick from Dylan Trewavas was again too straight though and posed no threat. Springburn were definitely the better side in the first half and should have been ahead. The passing ability of Thomas Lone offered some hope for St Ambrose, especially when he was able to get Connor Shields involved on the right hand side. The half finished with Vidler firing over the bar after Gemmell created the opening for him. No goals but plenty of commitment from each side.