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Wednesday, 19 August 2015 09:32

Performance School footballers dare to dream

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As the Scottish FA welcome 100 new recruits to one of the country’s seven Performance Schools, recently appointed Performance Director Brian McClair insists Scotland’s future footballers have to dare to dream. 

For the 51 year old, who previously headed up Manchester United’s youth academy, the ambitions of the performance school pupils is of paramount importance. 

"The thing with dreams or visualisation, or whatever you call them, is that somebody steals them. Over time, somebody dampens that fire, puts it out, douses it, whatever. Here, we should be the opposite," he said.

"I still dream now. None of it’s realistic, but I still dream. I’ve won the US Open. I’ve won Wimbledon. I’ve won the darts. A lot of it is to do with sport, actually. I’ve even dreamt of being a journalist in Scotland!"

Asked what his dream would be in his role as Performance Director, McClair explained: "What we’re giving the kids is a fun, safe learning environment with some advice along the way. Ultimately, we want them to look back fondly and say that it was a great experience and it either helps them with their dreams whether it be by becoming a professional footballer or in their chosen careers." 

Speaking at a press conference to launch the fourth year of the programme, the former Motherwell, Celtic and Manchester United man concedes that the latest recruits have embarked on a rollercoaster ride. 

"For these young players, a number of them are going to play professional football if that’s what they want to do and that’s what they dream about. It is difficult. Very, very rarely is it a straight line from one age all the way, it’s a bumpy ride and some of the bumps can be pretty steep ones, but if you can manage to hang on it gives you a hell of a good chance to climb back out of it again," he said.

For Scottish FA Chief Executive Stewart Regan, the programme is already showing signs of success. 

He said: "It’s still early days, because the true feedback will be when the first kids come off the pipeline. An accurate reflection will be when they leave school and how many get signed by their clubs and ultimately get to play first team football and - we hope - international football.

"At the moment, we’re measuring technical skills: the accuracy of their passing, shooting, dribbling as well as their fitness and making sure they’re spending more contact time with a ball. When we launched the Performance Strategy in 2011, we had a number of ements - one which was 10,000 hours contact time. As such, we hope all of this will turn into results when they leave school."

An example of such success is Rangers and Scotland under-17 youngster Zak Rudden (pictured, right). Rudden, who attends Broughton High School - one of the seven Performance Schools - was included in Scot Gemmil’s squad for the Under-17 Championship Finals in Bulgaria earlier this year. Rudden, 15, became the first Performance School player to score for Scotland when he netted in the under-15s win against Switzerland last year.

Scotland have announced the under-17 squad for their tour of Romania later this month. 
The Tartan Army will meet Romania twice, on the 23rd and 27th August in preparation for their European Championship qualifying campaign, and the squad features a number of familiar faces who played in the European Championships in Bulgaria this summer. 
Scotland will face Italy, Bulgaria and FYR Macedonia in the European Championship qualifying campaign later this year, with the hope of qualifying for the finals in Azerbaijan next summer. 
Scotland squad to face Romania: 
Aidan McAdams (Celtic / St Ninian’s)
Kieran Wright (Rangers / Our Lady’s HS)
Daniel Baur (Heart of Midlothian / Craigmount HS)
Tony Gallacher (Falkirk / St Peter the Apostle)
Dan Meredith (West Bromwich Albion / Sandwell Academy)
Shaun Bowers (Celtic / St Ninian’s)
Wallace Duffy (Celtic / St Ninian’s)
Liam Burt (Rangers / St Ambrose)
Lee Connelly (Queen’s Park / St Ninian’s)
Jamie Barjonas (Rangers / Greenfaulds HS)
Fraser Hornby (Everton / Wade Deacon HS)
Lewis Bell (Celtic / St Ninian’s)
Michael Johnston (Celtic / St Ninian’s)
Jack Aitchison (Celtic / St Ninian’s)
Broque Watson (Celtic / St Ninian’s)
Lewis Morrison (Kilmarnock / Kilwinning Academy)
Matthew Knox (Livingston)
Connor McLennan (Aberdeen / Peterhead Academy)
Glenn Middleton (Norwich City)
Callum Morrison (Heart of Midlothian)
Wednesday, 12 August 2015 11:59

Scotland under-19 squad announced for Ireland tour

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The Scotland Women's under-19 squad has been announced for two matches against the Republic of Ireland next week.
The matches will be played on Tuesday 18th and Thursday 20th as the team prepare for their upcoming European Championship qualifiers against Austria, Ukraine and Albania next month.
Scotland Women’s under-19 squad for fixtures against the Republic of Ireland:
Carla Boyce (Glasgow City FC)
Chantelle Brown (Rangers LFC)
Sarah Clelland (Glasgow City FC)
Chelsea Cornet (Hibernian LFC)
Cassie Cowper (Aberdeen LFC)
Erin Cuthbert (Glasgow City FC)
Rebecca Flaherty (Aberdeen LFC)
Amy Gallacher (Forfar Farmington LFC)
Laura Hamilton (Celtic FC)
Kirsty Hanson (Liverpool LFC)
Abigail Harrison (Hibernian LFC)
Carla Jackson (Spartans LFC)
Rachel McLauchlan (Aberdeen LFC)
Cailin Michie (Hibernian LFC)
Georgie Rafferty (Glasgow City FC)
Hayley Sinclair (Rangers LFC)
Lia Tweedie (Hibernian LFC)
Courtney Whyte (Glasgow City FC)
Wednesday, 12 August 2015 11:29

Ricky Sbragia named new Scotland under-21 coach

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Former Sunderland manager Ricky Sbragia has been announced as the new Scotland under-21 head coach. 

The 59-year-old was previously coach of the under-19 team and will be assisted by former Hearts and Hibs coach Donald Park.

"I am very proud to have been offered the position of Scotland Under-21 head coach," Sbragia said. 

"I am acutely aware of the importance of the job in what for many young professionals should be the final stage before entering the full international team.

"The primary responsibility is to help prepare players to make that leap to Gordon Strachan’s A squad but it is also important that we work hard to ensure we are ready to make an impact in the forthcoming European Championship qualifiers which start in September.

"With the help and support of our senior clubs, it is my ambition to help our most talented young players excel at the highest level of international age-group football which, in turn, can only aid their development at their respective clubs."

Sbragia's coaching career has spanned roles at Manchester United (reserve-team coach), Bolton Wanderers (first-team coach) and Sunderland (youth, reserve and first-team coach).

Scot Gemmill, who took Scotland under-17s to back-to-back European Championship finals, will take over the management of the under-19 team.

"Ricky has built up a wealth of knowledge and experience at the highest levels of coaching and the under-21s will now benefit greatly from that," Scottish FA Performance Director Brian McLair said.

"I am also pleased to confirm Scot as the coach of our under-19 squad after two excellent European Championship campaigns which saw us reach successive finals.

"It is important that as well as being an educational experience for our country’s most talented young players, it should also be an enjoyable and enriching experience for them as people, too.

"I believe there should be a fluidity to our coaching structure, so that our young players can become familiar with the values and principles that we live by from the youngest age group to the senior national team as they make their football journey."

Scotland under-21s start their European Championship qualifying campaign away to Northern Ireland on 5th September, and will host France and Iceland at Pittodrie Stadium in October.

The under-19 squad start their upcoming qualifying campaign in November. 

Scottish Colleges travelled south to play Scottish Colleges on Tuesday 12th May 2015 in what has become a regular fixture between the two sides. Cardiff Met University, provided the venue for this international challenge match, at the Cyncoed Campus.
Clearly full of confidence, having beaten Scottish Colleges 4-2 already this season in November in Gala, it was Welsh Colleges who started very positively and broke the deadlock with a goal from Sion-Dafydd Williams, just after the 15-minute mark. Wales capitalised on a poor clearance with a chipped ball played over the Scottish defence to Williams, who dispatched neatly past Wilson in the Scottish goal.
On 30 minutes, Welsh Colleges fired in a second goal, with a goal from Jordan Davies who found himself unmarked at the back post after a deep cross into the box. The score line was no less than Wales deserved after a very dominant opening display.
Scotland came out the blocks quickly in the second half with the hope of turning their fortunes around and were unlucky not have put a few chances into the net, with Zak Wilson and Joshua Anderson both going close.
However, against the run of play, Welsh Colleges scored the third and final goal of the match with a superb turn and volley from 25-yards from Jordan Davies, his second of the game. Scotland had a very small glamour of hope when they were awarded a penalty with 5 minutes to play and Wales subsequently getting a man sent off, however Zak Wilson’s attempt was met by a great save from Daniel Evans in the Welsh Goal.
After the match, Todd Lumsden, Scotland’s Head Coach, stated “I was disappointed with the goals that we conceded, we shot ourselves in the foot on too many occasions, particularly in the first half, and it ultimately cost us the game. I was pleased with the effort and application and for spells in the match we played some good football, especially when we went two up top early in the second half.“
Scottish Colleges finish the season having won against Scottish Independent Schools in March and lost both fixtures, home and away, against Welsh Colleges.
For full match highlights please click here.
Scotland Squad:
Paul Weir
Dundee & Angus College
Frankie Devine
Dundee & Angus College
Zak Wilson
Dundee & Angus College
Paul Cottrell
Dundee & Angus College
Han Agacan
Dundee & Angus College
Jordan McNeill
Edinburgh College (Granton Campus)
Calvin Muttitt
Edinburgh College (Sighthill Campus)
Michael Anderson
Glasgow Clyde College (Cardonald Campus)
Dean Wilson
Glasgow Clyde College (Cardonald Campus)
Kieran Brown
New College Lanarkshire (Cumbernauld College)
Peter Byrne
New College Lanarkshire (Motherwell Campus)
Sean Stewart
Edinburgh College (Granton Campus)
Joshua Anderson
Edinburgh College (Granton Campus)
Dean McLean
New College Lanarkshire (Motherwell Campus)
Martin Docherty
New College Lanarkshire (Motherwell Campus)
Monday, 06 April 2015 17:15

The Bob Docherty Cup - Match Centre

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The Bob Docherty Cup takes place at Toryglen Regional Football Centre from the 6th - 9th April 2015 and Youth Football Scotland is delighted to be able to offer the perfect Match DVD Souvenir  Package, which features all the Scotland games and post-match interviews. 
Order your copy of the Bob Docherty Cup DVD Package now. The four game package includes each of Scotland's games (alternatively you can order an individual game) and an 8"x6" team photo print of the squad.

Bob Docherty Match DVD  Package - order below


DVD option
You can also access photos and match reports from each of the games. See below for links to the coverage as soon as they goes live:
Post Tournament
Match Coverage
Monday 6th April 2015
Scotland 4-0 Northern Ireland
England 2-2 Republic of Ireland (England win on penalties)
Tuesday 7th April 2015 
England vs Scotland
Republic of Ireland 2-1 Wales
England 2-0 Wales
Republic of Ireland 2-1 Northern Ireland
Wednesday 8th April 2015
Scotland 3-0 Wales
England 0-0 Northern Ireland (Northern Ireland win on penalties)
Thursday 9th April 2015
Republic of Ireland 0-1 Scotland
Match report | Photo gallery | Video highlight
Northern Ireland 1-2 Wales
League Table
Scotland - 12pts | +9 gd
Republic of Ireland - 7pts | +1 gd
England - 6pts |  +2 gd
Wales - 3pts | -5 gd
Northern Ireland - 2pts | -3 gd
Sporting Lisbon prospect Ryan Gauld and in-form Hibernian striker Jason Cummings are amongst the names announced today for Scotland U21s' friendly against Hungary at the end of the month.
The squad list boasts a surprising six new faces including the likes of Manchester United defender Donald Love.
With sights firmly set on the 2017 UEFA European U21 Championship qualifiers in September, Danny Lennon will be hoping to discover his most capable side in order to progress.
The Hearts and Hibs contingent is ever present, making up a large part of the squad as well as players from various other Scottish clubs and down south.
Other first time call-ups have been handed to Charlie Telfer (Dundee United), Callum McFadzean (Sheffield United), Lawrence Shankland (Aberdeen) and Stephen Kingsley (Swansea City). Perhaps the most exciting new addition is Cummings, with 13 goals at the top of the Scottish Championship scorers list, his form has been rewarded and he'll look to get his international tally off the mark. 
The inclusion of both Gauld and Cummings will ensure attacking threat and a real opportunity to take the game to Hungary in Budapest on Thursday the 26th March.
Since his move to Portugal last year, the Scottish Messi has made only five appearances for the Sporting first team but has notched an impressive two goals so far and turned in a number of impressive performances for the B team.  
Scotland U21s' last match resulted in a 1-1 draw away to Switzerland thanks to a late Cameron King (Norwich City) goal. The 19-year-old isn't in the squad this time around which leaves the goalscoring resposibility in the capable hands of the others. 
Scotland U21 squad v Hungary 
Jack Hamilton (Hearts)
Jonathan Henly (Reading)
Marcus Fraser (Ross County)
Dom Hyam (Reading)
Stephen Kingsley (Swansea City)
Donald Love (Manchester United)
Jordan McGhee (Hearts)
Callum Paterson (Hearts)
Callum McFadzean (Sheffield United)
Ryan Christie (Inverness Caledonian Thistle)
Danny Handling (Hibernian)
John McGinn (St Mirren)
Sam Nicholson (Hearts)
Charlie Telfer (Dundee United)
Craig Slater (Kilmarnock)
Jason Cummings (Hibernian)
Ryan Fraser (Bournemouth)
Ryan Gauld (Sporting Lisbon)
Declan McManus (Aberdeen)
Lawrence Shankland (Aberdeen) 
Thursday, 12 March 2015 13:32

Scotland Under-19 Squad Announcement

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Photo courtesy of Kelly Neilson

Scotland Under 19 manager Ricky Sbragia has named a strong eighteen man squad for the forthcoming UEFA European Under-19 Championship elite round.

The young Scots will take on Italy, Croatia and Austria between the 26th and 31st March, with the winners progressing to this summers’ finals in Greece.

Celtic, Rangers and Aberdeen all have three representatives, while Dundee United’s John Souttar is recalled to the squad following injury. 

Celtic trio Paul McMullam, Calum Waters and Liam Henderson were all in included in first team manager Ronny Deila’s winter trip to Gran Canaria, while Rangers inclusions Liam Kelly, Ryan Sinnamon and Tom Walsh have all featured heavily in this seasons SPFL Development League. 

Development League leaders Aberdeen are represented by captain Scott McKenna - on loan at Ayr United, Craig Storie and captain Scott Wright who was the star of the  UEFA European Under-17 Championship Finals last summer. 

Hamilton Academical striker Eamonn Brophy, who has scored 20 goals in 17 starts for Accies, is one of four forwards in the pool alongside Harry Caldwell of Reading, Bradford City’s Oliver McBurnie and the aforementioned Wright. 

Also represented were runaway Championship leaders Hearts, with two players making the squad. Defender Liam Smith and midfielder Angus Beith have been enjoying first team experience with East Fife and Stirling Albion respectively.

There is however, no room for Dundee United striker Robbie Muirhead or Hibs’ Lewis Allan who has bagged eleven goals so far this campaign.

Full Squad:


Ryan Fulton (Liverpool)
Liam Kelly (Rangers)
Lewis Martin (Dunfermline Athletic)
Scott McKenna (Aberdeen)
Ryan Sinnamon (Rangers)
Liam Smith (Heart of Midlothian)
John Souttar (Dundee United)
Calum Waters (Celtic)

Angus Beith (Heart of Midlothian)
Liam Henderson (Celtic)
James Jones (Crewe Alexandra)
Paul McMullan (Celtic)
Craig Storie (Aberdeen)
Tom Walsh (Rangers)

Eamonn Brophy (Hamilton Academical)
Harry Cardwell (Reading)
Oliver McBurnie (Bradford City)
Scott Wright (Aberdeen)


Fixture: Ayr United vs St Mirren FC U20s
Competition: Little Big Shot Youth Cup
Venue: Somerset Park
Date: 8th March 2015
Ayr United Under 20’s made it through to the semi-finals of the Little Big Shot Youth Cup at the second attempt after the first match was abandoned, due to the weather, with Ayr in the lead. Ayr started the first half well despite St Mirren benefiting from the strong wind. In the 6th minute a long range shot from Gordon Young was saved well by the St Mirren keeper. As the half progressed the visitors came more into the game and after 21 minutes they were unlucky to see a shot hit the side netting. After 27 minutes St Mirren took the lead, after some good play on the left, resulted in a looping shot from their no.11 flying into the top corner of the net.Reagan Ross
Ayr United stepped up after going behind and created a number of chances. A header by Sean McKenzie went wide and some good play between Dale Shirkie, Darren McGill and Ryan Nisbet lead to a corner which was cleared. In the 35th minute a good break down the right allowed Ryan Nisbet to get off a shot that was well saved by the St Mirren keeper while five minutes later both Mick Wardrope and the St Mirren no.11 were booked after clashing.
Half Time: Ayr United 0-1 St Mirren
The second half kicked off in driving rain with Ayr attacking the Somerset Road end. Ayr dominated much of the second half with St Mirren conceding a series of free kicks in their own half. Despite their dominance Ayr did not created enough clear cut chances until in the 69th minute a good shot from Ryan Nisbet clipped the post. In the 73rd minute Ayr made their first substitution with Ryan McGuffie replacing Darren McGill.
With time running out Ayr increased their assaults on the St Mirren goal which resulted in a succession of corners. In the 84 minute one of these corners led to a well deserved equaliser when Sean McKenzie headed back across goal for Josh McArthur to head home. As extra time approached Ayr were denied what looked like an penalty when Sean McKenzie was bundled to the ground in the box.
Full Time: Ayr United 1-1 St Mirren
St Mirren started the first period of extra time on the front foot and hit the post after just 2 minutes then Shaun Newman made a good save after a breakaway. An Ayr chance in the 10th minute lead to a challenge on the keeper that saw Kieran Woods booked.
At the start of the second period of extra time Ayr introduced Steven McCreadie who replaced Gordon Young. Minutes into the second half Ayr got their deserved winner when Ryan Nisbet intercepted a cross field pass, drove into the box and slotted it past the keeper. In the 19th minute Ayr were reduced to 10 men when Kieran Woods was shown a second yellow card for a foul. Ayr immediately withdrew Sean McKenzie for Reagan Ross (pictured) to bolster up the defence and held on comfortably for a well deserved win.
Final Result: Ayr United 2-1 St Mirren (AET)
Ayr United: Shaun Newman, Kieran Woods, Andy Muir, Josh McArthur, Craig McCracken, Gordon Young, Darren McGill, Mick Wardrope, Sean McKenzie, Dale Shirkie, Ryan Nisbet. Subs: Steven McCreadie, Reagan Ross, Craig McGuffie, Peter McGill, Lyall Avcii.


English Independent Schools
Scottish Independent Schools
Girls Independent Schools Challenge Match
St George's Park
16 December 2014
The FA Performance Centre at St George’s Park provided an illustrious setting for the first ever full international fixture for a SISFA Girls’ squad; a real landmark, as our U16s headed south to the Staffordshire countryside to take on what we knew would be a strong England team.
The Scots started the game very much on the front foot, taking the game to their hosts, and the resultant early pressure paid off as striker Grace Molloy found time and space in the box to fire home. 
That old adage of a team being at its most vulnerable immediately after scoring certainly came home to roost, as England drew level within a minute, bundling the ball in from a free kick.
To the SISFA girls’ credit, however, they did not allow this setback to unsettle them and quickly found themselves dominating possession once again, with the central midfield trio of Georgia Adderley, Kate Alexander and Ciara Keenan doing sterling work in winning the ball and feeding it out to the wide areas. 
It thus came as no surprise when Scotland edged back in front, this time through Helena Todd, whose work out wide on the right was keeping the England rear guard busy, as she turned sharply and delivered a fine finish. 
Not to be outdone, Amber Paterson was also having considerable joy out on the left where she was able to use her pace to great effect, getting in behind the opposing defence and into promising positions. Indeed, she can count herself most unfortunate not to have got herself onto the score sheet, as Scotland piled on the pressure and created a number of fine chances, hitting both post and crossbar in the process.
As the first half wore on the Scots’ defence was rarely troubled and took on an increasingly solid look, wonderfully marshalled by centre backs Lynsey Carlyle and Katie MacDonald, who had by now forged a strong partnership. 
Left back Colette Cavanagh was not only nullifying an opponent whose pace and trickery posed a real threat, but with her marauding, penetrating runs deep into the England half was herself having a real impact as an attacking force. 
Meanwhile Kirsty Buist, not accustomed to playing at right back, showed good positional awareness and strength in the tackle, and on the rare occasions when England did manage to breach the Scottish back line they found in Whitney McMahon a goalkeeper who was both brave and alert to snuffing out any danger.
Having travelled with a squad of only thirteen and aware of the need to rotate players to keep things fresh, Sarah McLaren and Aicha Keita entered the fray before half time, making telling contributions in holding midfield and striking roles respectively. 
Half Time : English Independent Schools 1-2 Scottish Independent Schools
With Scotland 2-1 up at the break, the only real concern was the slenderness of the lead, and the early part of the second half did indeed suggest that we might ultimately rue earlier spurned opportunities, as England turned the game around with two goals in six minutes, their equaliser being a particularly good strike. 
However, the Scots – despite the inevitable onset of fatigue – were by no means finished yet and delivered the perfect response within two minutes of falling behind for the first and only time, courtesy of arguably the best move of the match finished off by Grace Molloy following some fantastic link up play with Georgia Adderley.
Fast forward a mere four minutes and once again it was Grace Molloy who showed real composure as she lobbed the England goalkeeper from distance to put SISFA 4-3 up and cap an outstanding performance by sealing her hat trick.
With more than quarter of an hour still to play and England desperately seeking an equaliser the tension was verging on unbearable, as the Scotland girls summoned every last remaining ounce of energy to keep their hosts at bay. 
Though England forced a number of corners and free kicks, the Scots’ defence and midfield remained resolute to the last, with Georgia Adderley very nearly delivering the crowning glory with a curling strike which looked for all the world like it was heading for the top right hand corner before sailing narrowly wide. 
As it was the final whistle brought both elation and relief, as Scotland saw out a remarkable victory courtesy of a superb team performance in a pulsating match. 
Full Time : English Independent Schools 3-4 Scottish Independent Schools
Scottish Independent Schools :
ADDERLEY Georgia, The Mary Erskine School
ALEXANDER Kate, George Watson’s College
BUIST Kirsty, The Mary Erskine School
CARLYLE Lynsey, Hamilton College
CAVANAGH Colette, St Aloysius’ College
KEENAN Ciara, George Watson’s College
KEITA Aicha, George Heriot’s School
MACDONALD Katie, Strathallan School
MCLAREN Sarah, George Heriot’s School
MCMAHON Whitney, St David’s High School
MOLLOY Grace, The Mary Erskine School
PATERSON Amber, Strathallan School
TODD Helena, St George’s School for Girls
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