Carnoustie Panmure and Ferry Athletic’s youngest squads will make their North End Park debuts as they compete in the Diamond Jubilee Cup final. Both sides are looking to lift silverware in their impressive first season at 11-a-side football.
Ahead of the final, YFS caught up with Carnoustie manager Gary Hamilton and Ferry boss Paul Riley, to find out about their roads to the final, their previous meetings and some of their potential match winners.
Here’s what they had to say:
Carnoustie’s season started with five wins out of five in the Jubilee Cup group stage, and manager Gary Hamilton expressed his delight at how his side handled the step up to 11-a-side football.
He said, “Our aims at start of season were just for the kids to continue playing the same style of football they had played throughout seven-a-side football. We felt if they did that, not only would it be best for the kids individual development, it would also make us a good 11-a-side team.
“The kids have handled the step up to 11-a-side brilliantly. They have played some excellent football during the season.”
“The group stage saw us playing our first games at 11-a-side. We topped our group with a 100% record. We played particularly well in an away win against DUSC and defended superbly in a 1-0 win over Pitfour.”
Dylan McLeish netted twice, while Charlie MacPherson, Carter Kelly, Jack Chalmers and Karter Inglis also found the net in Carnoustie’s 6-1 quarter-final win over Montrose. In the semi-final, goals from James Paterson, Harrison Whittet, Chalmers, McLeish and an own goal earned them a 5-3 win over Maryfield.
Hamilton said, “In the quarter final at Montrose, the kids were excellent and again defended very well in a 6-1 victory.
“In our semi-final away to Maryfield, again the kids produced the goods. Maryfield fought hard and made us work for victory but we had our noses in front throughout the game and managed to hold on to book our place in the final.
“To their credit, the Maryfield coaching staff were very complimentary about our performance that day.”
Ferry were victorious when the sides met in October, and Hamilton knows his side will be in for another tough test in the final.
“In our previous game against Ferry, we didn’t play particularly well, and Ferry ran out deserved winners by three goals to one. There is no doubt they are an excellent team with lots of good players.
“They are sitting at top end of the league and reached quarter finals of Scottish Cup, so we will have to play better than we did in our league game against them if we are to have a chance.”
Ones to Watch
Scott Hamilton – The versatile Hamilton has played all over the park for Carnoustie but has settled in the side’s defence in recent weeks. Having already taken his goal tally for the season to double digits, he will be an asset at both ends of the park in the final.
Carter Kelly – The energetic midfielder will be important if Carnoustie are to disrupt Ferry’s passing style. In possession, he has an eye for a pass, and will hope to unlock the Ferry defence.
Jack Chalmers – The Carnoustie forward has been in fine form this year and has 14 goals to his name this season. He will be hoping to fire Carnoustie to cup glory.
Ahead of their big day, Hamilton had this message for his players. He said, “All I can ask is that the kids work as hard as they can and to try and play the football they’re capable of. If they do that, I can’t ask for anymore.”
Ferry Athletic have had a remarkable first season at 11-a-side, as they reached the quarter-final of the Scottish Cup. They started the season as runners up to Fairmuir in their Diamond Jubilee Cup group, and manager Paul Riley believes that experience has proved valuable to his players.
He said, “Having had a very successful period of seven-a-side football for three years, the aims were very simple, to push on from that success and be as competitive as possible within the 11-a-side framework.
“Whilst it is clearly a lot different to seven-a-side, the boys adapted very well and remain on course for a very successful first season.
“In the group stages of this competition, we finished behind Fairmuir after they beat us Graham Street. That defeat was an eye opener for some of the boys in that there was a stark realisation in terms of the difference between the physical side of 11s and seven’s.
“The boys really responded well after this and went on a long unbeaten run.”
Ferry’s quarter final tie proved to be one of the games of the season as they fought back from 3-0 down to beat Riverside 4-3, thanks to a hat trick from Blaike Kyles and a late strike from Will Hanbury.
In the semi-final, they came from behind once again to beat Pitfour 6-1. Manager Riley was pleased that his side had the character to navigate two tricky ties.
“The games against Riverside and Pitfour were very different in that we started slow against Riverside and were 0-3 before storming back and winning well.
“The Pitfour match was arguably our best performance of the season where we were at it right from the off and were superb all over the pitch and won comfortably 6-1 against a good side.”
Ferry picked up a 3-1 win at the start of October when the side’s met in the league, and Riley is expecting a high-quality final.
“Carnoustie are a team we know very well, and they know us well also as we have played a number of friendlies with them over the years.
“They are good football team, who like us want to get the ball on the ground and pass. Like all cup finals I would expect them to be very motivated for the occasion and expect a cracking game of football involving two very good teams.”
Ones to Watch
Finlay Lyttle – Ferry’s keeper has kept three clean sheets this season and his ball playing ability make him instrumental to the way they play. He will be hoping to pick up another clean sheet, and a piece of silverware in the final.
Aiden Lockheart – The midfielder is Ferry’s set piece specialist and has been in fine form this season. His never say die attitude will be invaluable in the final.
Blaike Kyles – The Ferry striker has missed the last few weeks through injury, but still boasts 18 goals in seven appearances this season. His quarter-final hat trick kept Ferry’s cup dream alive, and if he is fit enough to feature, expect him to have a say on the final score.
Ahead of their big day, Riley had this message for his players. He said, “It goes without saying I hope this is just the first of many cup finals for this group of players, but I want them to realise that these games are to be enjoyed and not feared.
“I want 11 individuals to combine as a team with as many as possible looking to make the difference on the day. Go out and do their very best and that’s all I can ask for. If that’s the case then I’ll be happy, and I expect us to get a positive result, a result that they will remember for the rest of their lives.”