Central Region (549)
The Coronavirus outbreak couldn’t have come at a worse time for Alloa Athletic goalkeeper Neil Parry.
The aptly-named shot-stopper was just returning from injury when the pandemic hit, meaning he missed almost the entirety of the 2019-20 season.
There is one positive he take from this season, though – his work with young goalies at East Kilbride Youth Club (EKYC), where he has coached alongside fellow Alloa teammate, Chris Henry. His experience at high levels has provided aspiring young goalkeepers the best practices and skills to progress.
“Goalkeeping is 90% mentality and 10% ability, in my opinion,” he told YFS’ Euan Wood in an exclusive interview.
“I’ve trained with some goalkeepers who can look world class but when it comes to games they don’t play well.”
“I’d tell them to go out and enjoy playing as a goalkeeper. There is no better feeling than when your contribution has helped the team.
“We all make mistakes, the best do, what you need to do is learn from it when you do and move on, and don’t let it affect you”.
It’s easier said than done though, and Parry knows that all too well. He is currently trying to get ready for next season, after only playing six times last year.
“It's the worst,” he admitted. “I've been fortunate enough to have not had a real serious injury in my career and I probably took my fitness for granted. Having a long spell not training or watching was difficult.”
“In truth you don't feel part of it. You are doing rehab on your own with the physio and [on] a Saturday when the boys get a win, you can't enjoy it as you haven't contributed.”
“It's made me realize though to take care of my body as much as possible and enjoy football as you can only be one injury from retirement.”
Despite being in the government-imposed lockdown, Parry has kept himself prepared for when the new Championship season begins by continuing to train despite current restrictions.
“Everybody can still do the basics for fitness. I’ve enjoyed going out 5ks and timing while trying to beat it.”
“But what we should all be doing is footwork, it’s really important for a goalkeeper to be able to get across their goal. I’m a huge believer in doing loads of fast feet and you only need a few cones and a small space.”
Today, it is common to see young goalkeepers with good feet moving outfield. It is a tough position for any young kid to play – make one mistake, and everyone knows about it.
“Being a goalkeeper is high pressure, if you make a mistake and it leads to a goal you need to be mentally strong,” Parry added. “I don't think outfield players really understand that and I do think coaches need to understand that. Mistakes will happen but as long as you work hard to learn from them that's all a coach can expect.”
“I've made plenty of mistakes and when I was younger. I took it really badly but now I am able to shrug it off. You become a better goalkeeper through experience so it's important players and coaches aren't too hard on goalkeepers who slip up.”
Having an illustrious career in Scottish football, Parry explained what his most memorable moments have been.
“The two that stick out would be getting man of the match against Celtic in the quarter-final of the League Cup, we got beat 2-0 but I played really well and just enjoyed the whole experience.”
“The other would be the quarter-final of the Scottish Cup we played Rangers at Ibrox with Albion Rovers. We were winning with eight minutes to go when Mohsni barged me into the goal. We hung on for a draw and replay but that was our chance and it still hurts to this day that a refereeing decision cost us.”
Hopefully, Neil will be back with Alloa and EKYC soon.
(Photo from Alloa Athletic FC.)
Syngenta Juveniles have appointed a new club chairman, whilst also holding a virtual AGM over Zoom for the first time in their 60 year history.
It was over his laptop screen that experienced coach Michael McQueenie, who is already on the executive committee, found out about his new role.
Speaking to YFS, Michael said: “We have been running without an official chairman for a while now so it's great to now have the full complement of exec members sitting at the top table"
"Myself and long-term club exec member Kevin McGuire have been covering the role for a while now.
“I was approached by the club secretary Nikki Corner after she had received a nomination for me to become chairman.
“To be asked is a real honour. I follow the footsteps of some very strong leaders - none more so than Davie Johnston who, since my appointment, has congratulated me and offered his support which I'm sure will prove invaluable ."
“To be appointed over Zoom was really just a bit bizarre. However, we move on and start to look forward to returning to football once it's deemed safe."
He continued: "We, as a club plan to consolidate and to keep the club safe after this global pandemic however the growth strategy is also something we are closely considering."
In a statement, Syngenta Juveniles said: “The feedback received from the AGM has been positive and the executive committee will continue to work hard on behalf of the club, to progress the club even further as we move into our 60th year and beyond."
To celebrate the landmark occasion, the club have launched a new club badge, which can be read about here. They also plan to launch an anniversary kit.
The Syngenta statement continued: "A huge thanks to everyone affiliated with the club, our volunteer coaches, team assistants and secretaries and to all our players for the pride they show in being a Syngenta player.”
Syngenta Juveniles will wear a new badge on their chest next season, to honour the club’s 60th birthday.
The Grangemouth based side will also celebrate the milestone the club with a special anniversary kit when they return to action.
Michael McQueenie, a member of the executive committee at Syngenta, said: “The new badge is an opportunity for us to modernise the look and feel of the club but also keep the heritage alive. We maintained the lion theme and worked on something that brought us up to the modern day and gave everyone something to be proud of.”
The club was first formed under the corporate name of ICI in the 1960s with the side being set up by four dye factory workers. The team name of ICI remained until the 90s, when the club became Zeneca. The side was renamed once again a decade later in November 2000 and Syngenta Juveniles was born.
Sixty years on and the Grangemouth outfit has made massive strides in the footballing world, with the club facilitating football for boys, girls and children with cerebral palsy. In addition to that, the club recently created a junior side to give their young players a pathway into the adult game.
Syngenta is a shining example of a community organisation, with dedicated volunteers ensuring they have become the longest running football club in Grangemouth. The club were also awarded the SFA Legacy Quality Mark which is given to sides who have put an incredible amount of effort into their development and have set their sights on becoming the best they possibly can.
None of this could have been achieved without the players, coaches and parents involved, who are all immensely proud of the success the club has enjoyed both on and off the field and are excited to see what the future holds.
Michael shares the excitement for the next Syngenta chapter and said: “We’ve got a really bright future as a club. This period has allowed us to reassess how we operate and remind us how we should look out for each other as much as we possibly can.”
The national and regional response to the Coronavirus outbreak has paused the club’s anniversary celebrations – but the milestone is still being marked online, with activity across social media channels, and the grand reveal of the new badge has been well received.
Regular zoom calls have also been held to enable players and staff to come together and catch-up with one another during this testing time.
Michael said: “We wanted to make sure that we looked after our own. We let everyone know we were here to support them and waived fees at a very early stage, as we wanted to alleviate any financial burden this caused.
“We’re also trying to engage as much as we can with the players and coaches and have been getting the children to send in videos of them doing challenges that we’ve set for them to do.”
Looking towards next season, the Grangemouth club have already made summer signings for their new Juniors side.
Undoubtedly, the club’s marquee signing has been David Smith – the former Hearts youngster who has over 200 senior appearances in the SPFL, for clubs such as Falkirk, Dumbarton and Stranraer.
He will be joined by his younger brother Ian, who was also on the books at Hearts as a youth before spells at Dundee and Stranraer.
The Smiths will play alongside fellow ex pros Steven Jackson, Kevin McKinlay, and Michael Wallace.
The Junior’s Director of Football, Steven Allison said: “A lot of work has gone into getting the Juniors team up and running in its first season but now it’s time to raise the bar and with the squad we have there’s no reason why we can’t do well next season”.
Michael added: “It’s important for the juvenile players to know that there’s a pathway through to senior football and we’re working together to make the pathway a success”
With the latest major milestone reached, attention is focused on ensuring a bright future for the current generation of Syngenta players across the club’s many teams.
Coatbridge Rovers have been recognised by the Scottish Parliament in their efforts to help the local community during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Fulton MacGregor, the MSP for Coatbridge and Chryston, said in Parliament that Rovers, alongside many other clubs, have: “used their unique reach to connect people and organisations right across the country.
He continued that Parliament notes “their current role in helping deliver frontline services, harness the power of volunteers and offer alternative online educational opportunities and believes the clubs are playing a valuable role during these difficult times”.
Gary Flint, Rovers’ Chairman, was full of praise for everyone involved: “For the club to receive recognition has been great to see and I can’t thank everyone at the club enough for the support they are offering to everyone at this time.”
Like many clubs around the country – such as Cumbernauld Colts and Holytown Colts, who were also mentioned by Mr GacGregor - the North Lanarkshire side acted swiftly to help out their local community following the news of lockdown, which of course meant a blanket postponement of all football activities.
Instead of taking to the pitch, the Rovers have been collecting shopping and prescriptions for the vulnerable, to prevent them from having to leave their homes, as well as donating sleeping bags for the homeless - with 30 donated right at the start of lockdown as well as supporting those in need within their community.
Gary continued: “Over the course of lockdown our aim has been to help everyone connected to the club and make sure they have all been safe and well.
“We then offered our support to the community in Coatbridge by doing daily shopping, picking up prescriptions, to just being available for a chat. It’s been fantastic. The kids have also been checking on the neighbours to make sure everybody is safe and well.”
However, it hasn’t only been those most vulnerable that the Rovers have focused their efforts on to during this time.
With over 130 youngsters on their books, the club have created football challenges, educational work training packs, bingo and quizzes via Zoom in order to try and support them with the changes they are having to adapt with. There has been a hugely positive response, with the mixture of activities allowing the kids to develop mentally and still interact socially with teammates and friends.
Alongside their community efforts, Rovers are also planning an initiative with the aim to help promote health and wellbeing in their local area. They’re doing this with a 500-mile ‘Walk-Run-Cycle’ starting on June 1, with their players, coaches, and parents taking part.
Gary explained: “For the full month of June we are promoting positive health and wellbeing where we have 186 people signed up to complete 500 miles [collectively]. We are asking everyone to compete one mile a day for the ‘Walk-Run-Cycle’. We also have a mental health group on Tuesday nights and are raisings funds to continue to run the club for the community and also we want to support our local foodbank with donations and NHS Lanarkshire.”
To help drum up funds for the ‘Run-Walk-Cycle’, the club have created a Just Giving Page, should people wish to contribute, with half of the proceeds going to Coatbridge Rovers Mental Health Club, a quarter to the Local Foodbank and the final quarter to NHS Lanarkshire.
To donate to their cause, please click here.
Dunbeth FC Yellow vs Central Boys FA U14
The title race is hotting up in the CSFA B League this weekend as the top two face off in a crucial match for both teams.
Central Boys FA have had a season to remember, sitting at the top of the table with a perfect 11 wins from 11 games. That form has seen them take a six point lead at the top ahead of their opponents this weekend, Dunbeth FC Yellow.
The Yellows have also had an impressive season so far and are still very much in the title race, despite the six point gap and the fact that they have played one game more. A win this weekend would prove themselves as genuine contenders whilst simultaneously putting pressure on Central.
It will certainly be interesting to see how this one goes, especially with other teams still looking to muscle in towards top spot.
Lenzie YC vs Stenhousemuir FC Community U15
Stenhousemuir will be hoping to pull of a terrific result by beating league leaders Lenzie at the weekend.
Lenzie have been in fine form all season, and rightfully find themselves at the top of the league with just one loss to their record. They sit five points ahead of their second placed opponents this weekend, having played two games less.
Stenhousemuir have also had a very impressive season and will feel themselves more than capable of taking points off of the league leaders. They will also be keen to avenge their 8-3 defeat to Lenzie back in October.
A defeat for Lenzie would open the door for others, such as Balloch Eastfield and West Park United White, to put pressure on the leaders and utilise their games in hand to full effect.
North Motherwell BC vs Mossend FC U15
Another top two showdown in the CSFA sees North Motherwell and Mossend battle in the D League.
Both of these sides remain undefeated in the league and you feel something has to give if the title has to be decided. Both of these teams have been in tremendous form and deservedly occupy the top two spots.
Mossend hold top spot for now, sitting four points ahead of their opponents having played two games more and if their last encounter is anything to go by, a thrilling 3-3 draw, this has all the making to be a classic.
EKFC Blue vs Wishaw WW U17
Just five points separate the top five in the CSFA U17’s A League, and the top two in the division face off this weekend.
EKFC Blue hold the top spot in the league for now, two points ahead of their opponents this weekend having played three games more. East Kilbride have only lost three games this season however and will be keen to stay at the top.
Wishaw will be encouraged by their progress this season, and find themselves in the title race based on merit. With just two defeats to their name they will be encouraged to take on the league leaders this weekend.
With the league so tight at the top, any game between those involved in the chase has more meaning. Let’s hope these two live up to the occasion and put on a great game.
Cambusnethan Talbot vs Blantyre Victoria U13
These two sit on even footing in the CLYFA A Division as far as points are concerned so a barnstorming match is expected as the top two go head-to-head.
Blantyre hold top spot for now and have a perfect record in the league, securing six wins out of six in the league. Another win here would provide a massive mental boost as they continue their march towards the league title.
Cambusnethan on the other hand will be looking to make up ground. They remain on the even footing in terms of points, but having played one game more they will be looking for a win to take the pressure off of themselves as they seek to steady the ship of their title challenge.
It will certainly be interesting to see who comes out on top in this one.
RH: I joined Hamilton on my ninth birthday
Q: Has anyone else in your family went professional or been professional before you?
RH: My whole family enjoy football and have all played sports but no one has ever went professional with it
Q:When did you realise football was more than just a passion?
R: I always loved football. My grandad has taken me to games for longer than I can remember. It’s always been a passion I guess, there’s nothing I like more than playing football.
Q: How did you get scouted for Hamilton Accies?
RH: I used to play in school competitions with my primary and my friend at the time suggested that I should come along and play for hamilton. A few weeks later I went to training and joined in with the U9's team. I joined on my birthday so my family bought me new football boots and sports stuff, it was really special!
RH: Not at all, I loved it from the first session and couldn’t wait to go back
RH: (If your talking about first team appearance then) I made my first appearance in July 2015 against Glasgow City at Airdrie stadium. It was an unreal experience playing against internationalists at the age of 15. Even though the result didn’t go our way, it was great to get minutes in that kind of environment
RH: Probably going to Alkmaar and Amsterdam with the U17’s team. It was a great experience to play against different clubs in a different climate, it really tested us.
RH: Unfortunately the 23’s league folded. When this happened I knew I would either need to leave or try earn a place in the first team. I wanted to stay at Hamilton more than anything but sadly it wasn’t meant to be and I wish all the girls and coaching staff the best of luck for next season!
RH: I guess I’ve learned not to take anything for granted. I didn’t think I’d be at Hamilton for my whole career but I also didn’t think I’d be leaving as soon as this. I love the club and all the girls so it’s sad that I won’t be able to play with them all again next season as we had a really good bond.
RH: I feel like I’ve had a really good connection with all the girls I’ve played with. Especially over the last few years moving up to play senior football, I feel we’ve all really came together and became close friends. I also had a good relationship with the first team which made it easier going up and training with them.
RH: Probably winning my first individual award this year, that’s my first award for Hamilton. It meant a lot as I knew it could be my last time with all the girls so that topped off a good night.
Q: What are you going on to do now that you have left?
RH: I’ve had interest from a few clubs so I’ll probably go and train with them in January and see where that takes me. I just want to be back playing football as soon as possible.
RH: I loved everything about Hamilton, my team mates and all the coaches. It was such a special club to be apart of for so long and I wish them every success in the future. Hopefully I might even be back one day, you never know where football can take you.
ES Galaxy kept their undefeated record in the CSFA A League intact after their 7-1 victory away to Cumbernauld Colts. Galaxy remain two points behind second placed Gairdoch United, and are 10 points behind leaders Rossvale Inter with five games in hand. There was also a narrow 1-0 win for Milton over West Park United Sky to keep themselves in the chase for top spot.
Mossend consolidated their place at the top of the B League table with an impressive 8-3 win over Albion Rovers ITC. Mossend remain undefeated in the league and hold a 13 point lead over second placed Steins Thistle. Mossend will be wary of those behind them as there are quite a few teams with games still to play in the league.
In the LFDA U13s League, Mill United earned an impressive 5-1 win away to Yett Farm to move further ahead at the top of the league table. They sit four points clear at the top ahead of second placed Holytown Colts, who have four games in hand.
Airdrieonians Real BC and Clarkston Athletic are still running each other close at the top of the CSFA A League following last weekend’s results. Airdrieonians scored a comfortable 5-0 win over Larbert, whilst Clarkston Athletic eased to a 5-1 victory away to Kilsyth Amateur Juniors. Airdrieonians remain five points ahead of Clarkston, with Athletic still to play a game in hand.
Central Boys FA claimed top spot in the B League last weekend with a convincing 8-0 win away to Balloch Eastfield. Central earned the spot after previous leaders EDFC weren’t in action on Saturday. Central Boys are two points clear at the top with a game in hand.
In the C League, Cumbernauld Colts Blue picked up a vital victory in the title race as they secured a 3-0 win away to league leaders West Park United Sky. Colts closed the gap at the top to three points and have two games in hand. The loss was West Park United Sky’s first of the league season. Rossvale United also picked up a big win to keep close to the leading pack with a 5-2 win over Stenhousemuir FC Community.
And in the D League Camelon Juniors moved up to second place and to within three points of the top of the table with a big win away to Motherwell FC CT. Leaders Garrell United however, still have one game in hand.
There were wins for all of the top three in the CSFA A League last weekend as the title race continued to hot up. Leaders Maryhill BC fought off a brave Dunbeth FC side 3-1, Professional Football Academy maintained their unbeaten league campaign with a narrow 1-0 victory over Milton FC and Scotland BC Purple played out an entertaining 5-2 win against Burnbank FC. There is just four points between the three sides at the top of the table.
Grahamston FC, second place in the C League, will be encouraged after leaders Seafar Villa Cumbernauld dropped points at the weekend after a thrilling 4-4 draw against Cumbernauld Colts. The tie did increase Villa’s lead at the top to nine points, however Grahamston still have two games in hand.
In the D League Mossend increased their lead at the top of the division with a comfortable 5-1 win at home to Moorlands. The win moves them four points clear of second placed North Motherwell BC, who did not play at the weekend, although Mossend have played two games more so far.
Drumsagard took advantage of Aston Villa BC’s slip up in the LFDA A Section to take top spot from their title rivals. Drumsagard managed an emphatic victory over Strathaven Dynamo, whilst Villa could only manage a 1-1 draw against EK Caledonian Thistle. Drumsagard take a two point lead at the top, with two games in hand.
In the B Section, leaders Eddlewood Red were held to a goalless draw by Holytown Colts.
Burnbank FC took advantage of their game in hand to close the gap at the top of the CSFA A League to just one point after their narrow 3-2 victory over Kilsyth Athletic. The win sets up what looks to be a two horse race between Burnbank and leaders Gartcairn for the title.
West Park United Gold moved further clear at the top of the B League table, thanks to an impressive 4-0 win away to Milton Rovers. They are being closely followed by Jerviston FC, who secured a 2-1 victory over Steins Thistle, and Maddiston Minis, who were not in action last weekend.
Clackmannan Community Rovers closed the gap on C League leaders Blantyre Victoria Blue with a good 5-2 win over Strathaven Dynamo. West Park UNited Navy also closed the gap with a 4-2 win away to Bo’ness United. Blantyre still maintain a five point lead at the top of the table.
Notre Dame Navy missed an opportunity to put some distance between themselves and second placed FC Kirkwood by dropping points in a 2-2 draw at home to Rosebank United. The slip up allowed Albion Rovers ITC to pull themselves closer to the top with a 4-2 win over Rossvale Madrid.
Falkirk FCF Blue maintained their 100% record at the top of the CSFA A League table with a 3-1 win away to Gartcairn FA. The win moves the Bairns into third place, just three points behind leaders Wishaw WW with three games in hand. Clyde SOF also moved within touching distance of Wishaw after an emphatic win over Bridgend BC.
In the B League Dalziel BC’s lead at the top of the table grew with a convincing 5-0 win at home to Seafar Villa Cumbernauld. Dalziel now hold a five point lead at the top ahead of second placed Dunblane SC. Elsewhere in the division, Sauchie Juniors earned their first league win of the season after an impressive performance in their 3-1 win against Stirling Albion JA.
Blantyre SA Black moved to within eight points of LFDA U17s League leaders Claremont with their big win over Dalziel Black. Blantyre still have one game in hand over the table toppers to play.
In the CSFA A League, Kirkintilloch Rob Roy and Glenvale AFC continued to battle with each other at the top of the table with convincing wins. Kirkintilloch stayed in top spot with a stunning 8-0 win over Cambuslang Rangers, whilst Scottish Cup champions Glenvale kept pace with a 7-1 win away to Rossvale FC Thistle. Just six points separate the two, with Glenvale having two games in hand, and with Clydebank also in the mix, this league is set to go down to the wire.
Milton increased their advantage at the top of the table, but were made to really work for the result after securing a 2-1 win over a motivated Lomond FC. Stenhousemuir FC Community closed the gap at the top with a 3-1 win over Dunblane SC. Milton move five points clear ahead of Third Lanark and six ahead of Stenhousemuir.
Bo’ness united continued their dominance at the top of the C League with a convincing win over struggling North Kelvin United. The win, along with Rangers Sabc’s 6-3 win over Bridge of Allan, maintains their 11 point lead at the top.
June saw the launch of a new Grangemouth based grassroots sports club, LK Galaxy, a club that will look to combine the professionalism of the past and the contemporary values needed for the future.
The club was formed by a set of administrators and coaches who have over 25 years’ experience running and coaching in both the grassroots and professional game.
With a new modern constitution which places the focus will be on allowing the players, coaches and parents to take an active role in the development of the club both on and off the pitch.
Based in Polmont at Galaxy Little Kerse which is referred to as “Home of Community Football” and one of Scotland’s largest football centres, LK Galaxy will hope to support six different squads with up to 100 players taking part.
Initial age groups have been confirmed as: U21s, U17s, U16s, U13s and 2008s. The club is also keen to develop in line with interest from other age groups, with already a registered amount of interest in 2014s and 2013s.
The club plans to lead with modern values that place transparency at the top of the list for parents and coaches. A spokesman for LK Galaxy FC commented on these values, saying, “We’ve all been in the game a long time and we see around how much harder it is to run clubs at grassroots. Legislation, compliance and funding are all getting more difficult to manage. Everything needs to be out in the open in open forums and a there’s a chance for all to contribute. Regular parent communication will be key”
A forthcoming LKTV channel is already in the planning and receiving lots of interest from media students to launch as part of the 2019/2020 season.