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National Competitions (588)

Celtic’s Under 20s produced a stirring performance that came so close to beating Bayern Munich, but ultimately succumbed to a 2-1 defeat at Cappielow.

Jack Aitchison had seized on a loose ball inside the Munich penalty area to fire the young Celts 1-0 in front, but a terrific late double from wonder-kid Oliver Batista-Meier turned the game around for the Bavarians.

The Hoops produced a spirited performance in Munich despite a 6-2 defeat at the Bayern Campus, and they once again started brightly in this one.

They were eager to play out from the back early on, similarly to Celtic’s first-team, and they were confident in this approach. Young Calvin Miller saw a lot of the ball early on, and despite being under pressure from a high Bayern press, the hosts kept their composure in their defensive third.

Ewan Henderson was so impressive two weeks ago in Munich, and he bombed Celtic forward with purpose at times in Cappielow. He forced Ron Hofmann into his first save with a stinging effort from 20 yards out that was well held.

Miller then came close when he collected a Johnston cross at the back post, but his toe poke towards goal was deflected wide for a corner.

It took Bayern 25 minutes to have a meaningful effort at goal, and even then it was from a set-piece. A free-kick was crossed into the area for Felix Gotze to power a header on goal, but Ryan Mullen parried well before gathering.

Celtic’s best bet of a goal still looked from Mikey Johnston. The left-winger has been lauded for his performances in the UEFA Youth League, and had appeared twice for the senior side. He was giving Josip Stanisic a torrid time, but the final ball just wasn’t there.

Another who impressed in the first half was Regan Hendry. His driving runs cause Bayern’s back-line all sorts of problems, and drew a bunch of fouls down the right that led to set-piece chances.

Aitchison and Kerr McInroy both had efforts before the break, but neither troubled Hofmann as Bayern held on until the break.

Wednesday, 01 November 2017 00:23

Killie strike three past Spartans to reach fourth round

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Kilmarnock were on form on Sunday afternoon as a brace from Alex Samizadeh and a goal from Daniel Scally was enough to beat Spartans on their own turf. The side in blue and white progress into the fourth round of the Scottish FA Youth Cup.

Five minutes into the match Spartans had a good chance to take the lead. Cameron Dawson turned past the defender on the left side, getting a shot away on the edge of the box. However, Killie keeper, Curtis Lyle saved the effort at the near post.

Not so long after Spartans were on the attack again. Dawson involved himself in an attacking effort once again as he headed the ball onto Oliver Hetherington who was through on goal on the left-hand side. However, pressure from the opposition defence forced the player to take the ball out of play, unable to get a shot away at goal.

Despite the game being fairly even for the opening quarter of the match, it was the penalty decision that changed the game as Samizadeh was taken out from behind in the penalty box as a cross was played in. The fouled player stepped up to the spot and slotted the ball into the bottom left-hand corner of the goal, the keeper diving the opposite way as Killie went ahead in the 28th minute.

Moments later, Kilmarnock doubled their lead after a good team effort in the 31st minute. Josh Jeffries played in Samizadeh on the right side who burst down the wing with pace. The goalscorer then sent a cross to Scally in the left side of the penalty area, bouncing off his chest and into the net. 

Monday, 30 October 2017 20:43

Motherwell Sail past Burntisland Shipyard

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It was a convincing display by Motherwell who swept aside Burntisland Shipyard to sail through to the next round of the youth cup.
 
Motherwell came into the game as favourites against a Shipyard side who had pulled off a cup shock to put out Livingston at the last stage of the competition.
 
The Steelmen however were determined not to let this happen and after just eight minutes it was 1-0 Motherwell.
 
James Scott with a magnificent run down the left, met the unlucky Shipyard defender Kyle Walls who could only turn into his own net.
 
That gave the Steelmen something to build on and they doubled their lead fourteen minutes later, when David Turnbull’s low effort was parried by Craig Richardson, leaving Alfredo Agyeman the simple task of slotting home the rebound.
 
Soon after this, it was Motherwell who scored again, this time it was Scott who converted after some creative brilliance slotted him in, brushing his shot into the right hand side of the goal.
 
Shortly before the half came to a close Dylan Falconer got onto the scoresheet, getting away from his man on the edge of the area and sending a low driven shot underneath the goalkeeper to make it four for the Steelmen. 
Monday, 30 October 2017 17:35

Portobello cruise past brave Campsie side

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Portobello cruised into the InspireSport Scottish cup fourth round in a dominant display against a brave Campsie side who refused to lie down despite the inflated scoreline.
 
It was a very cold, crisp morning at Bingham Park, but that didn’t stop the hosts, who were in dreamland from the word go, and inside eight minutes they were 3-0 up on their visitors from the west.
 
Campsie showed fight at the end of both periods, although nothing to show for it at half time as they went in 7-0 down, but managed to snatch a couple of late consolation goals in the final minutes of the second half, to at least give the visitors something to cheer about.
 
Portobello had already hit the crossbar through Luke Griffiths when they took the lead on two minutes through Lucas Martin. The midfielder calmly guided the ball out of goalkeeper Euan Greig’s reach and into the top right corner from the penalty spot.
 
Mathias Martinez added the second on five minutes. The ball was edged into the winger’s path by Griffiths and he controlled before looping the ball over the helpless Greig for 2-0.
 
The goalkeeper, who made numerous good saves on the day, was then caught out in possession and Euan Walker made him pay as he caressed the ball to the goalkeepers left for Portobello’s third.
 
A brilliant double save from Greig kept the score at 3-0, firstly to deny Griffiths in a one on one situation and then to keep out a header moments later.
 
Campsie did manage the occasional breakaway, and were most threatening through Kai Grimes in the first half although the visitors one clear-cut chance fell to Rhyan Coll following Grimes’ pullback, but the strike was well off target.
 
Finally Yule slotted away the fourth for Portobello as he defied the offside trap before calmly rounding Greig and rolling in from an acute angle, despite the best efforts of Owen Barr trying to keep it out on the line.
 
Greig continued to stand in Portobello’s way, denying Frazer Robertson from a corner. Campsie then brought out a good save from the home side’s goalkeeper Rory Comerford, who rushed out to smother the ball at the feet of the advancing Grimes.
 
Walker would add his second and his sides fifth as he received the ball on the left and aided the ball into the net. Number six came soon enough from Stevie Renton’s corner, which looked to go through everyone and straight into the net, although Griffiths may claim it, as all poachers should.
 
Greig was once again there to save the visitors but only for a matter of seconds this time. The keeper beat away Renton’s low drive but as the cross came in from Martinez on the rebound, Yule leapt highest to power home the seventh. 
 
Campsie came close with three free kicks in quick succession. Aidan Kelly curled a lovely cross into the middle but there were no takers and the ball was scrambled clear. Ben Brackenridge then fizzed a right footed free kick inches wide of the far post a minute later.
 
The third was straight off the training ground. The ball played into the feet of Mark Hale who was unmarked as he sent a swerving delivery into the mixer but Brackenridge couldn’t convert inside the area as the half time whistled sounded. A half dominated by the home side buy Campsie showing sign of life in the later stages.

Hillwood Boys Club moved into the 4th Round of the Scottish Youth FA Cup with victory over Ferry Athletic at Dawson Park. Four goals in the second-half proved the difference with  the Glasgow side moving one step closer to Cup glory.

As is usually the case with knock-out football the match began with both sides cancelling each other out and few clear cut chances being created.  The first real opening came for the away  side when a good delivery from Lewis Cannon almost picked out the onrushing Cameron Kelly at the back post.  Ferry also began to find joy going forward and were ahead on the 9th minute, Jack Moir flicking the ball into the path of Owen Boath who stabbed the ball into the net.

Hillwood responed well to the set-back and found themselves level 6 minutes later, a looping cross from Kieran McCrory's free-kick found Aiden McCann and he made no mistake nodding past the keeper. 

Ferry looked to restore their and immeditly began pressuring the Hillwood backline, Moir brought out a good save by Archie Dickson and Liam Scott fired an effort over the bar. 

With the half drawing to a close it was Hillwoods turn to excert pressure and almost finished the half in front, Aayan Ali forcing a solid stop by Lewis Burns.

A real ding-dong encounter between Hamilton and Falkirk ended in a 4-2 win for Accies at the SuperSeal Stadium in the Scottish Youth Cup.

A brace from Ross Cunningham added to strikes from Marc Kelly and Ryan Tierney for Hamilton, whilst Falkirk twice got themselves back on level terms through Kevin O’Hara and Reis Peggie.

Hamilton came into the match on the back of a confidence-boosting 3-0 home win against Dundee United in the Development League, with memories of their terrific 4-2 win over Queen’s Park in Round two still fresh in the mind.

For Falkirk, they came into the game on the back of two games without a win. A 1-0 home defeat to Motherwell was followed up by a 1-1 draw in Dundee – leaving the Bairns looking to the Youth Cup to springboard league success.

The game had hardly settled before Hamilton stormed into an early advantage. Leon McCann was showing great energy down the left early on, and after reaching the by-line within minutes of kick-off, his low cross saw an initial effort parried by Robbie Mutch, before Marc Kelly turned in the rebound.

Hamilton looked buoyed by their early start, and were winning the aerial duels impressively in the final third through Kelly and the impressive Ryan Tierney.

Falkirk stuck to their principles however, and after an early wave of pressure from Accies, the Bairns started to play it out from the back. Falkirk used their passing game to good effect as the half wore on, as they grew in confidence and started using the flanks.

Marky Munro and Mark Stow were combining well down the left, with Stow in particular looking like he could create something.

A few crosses into the penalty area troubled Hamilton as Falkirk turned the screw. Firstly, a corner was controlled by Mark Finlayson, who hooked over the bar on with an over-head effort. Then, moments later, a deep cross to the far post from Reis Peggie found Conor Langton waiting, but his header was sent over.

A goal was coming with Falkirk in control of the ball, and it was no surprise when they equalised through Kevin O’Hara. The Bairns won an aerial duel in the midfield, with Jason Jarvis flicking a ball through for O’Hara to run onto. He strode forward with confidence to bury a low effort past the helpless Alex Marshall.

Credit must go to Hamilton for how they responded to the Falkirk goal. After surviving an initial flurry of counter-attacks, Accies grabbed control of the midfield and started winning the 50-50s.

With 10 minutes to go until the end of the half, Hamilton’s pressure started with a patient move around the Falkirk box, with Ross Cunningham firing wide from outside the area.

This led to a late siege of pressure in the first 45 from the hosts, as a Cunningham effort was blocked in the box, before Tierney’s clever glancing header was saved spectacularly from Mutch.

Accies had the ball in the net twice in the final five minutes of the half, both being put in by Lewis Ferguson. Firstly, the youngster lashed home a rebound but was adjudged to have fouled Mutch, before beating the Falkirk goalkeeper in an aerial duel and once again being penalised for it.

Raith Rovers produced an impressive away performance against Inverurie Loco Works to secure a spot in the next round of the SFA Youth Cup as the two clashed at Harlaw Park. Two late goals from Raith were enough to ensure that they came out on top against a resilient Locos side.
 
As the game kicked off, both teams started with intensity despite the adverse weather conditions. Inverurie had the better of the play in the opening minutes as Cameron Moultrie swung a dangerous free kick towards the head of Andrew Watt who saw his effort go narrowly wide of goal.
 
However, it did not take long for Raith to begin dominating possession in the middle of the park. Jack Smith played a dangerous through ball which would have sent Kieran Dall in on goal if not for a fantastic interception from Locos defender Campbell Marr.
 
The half continued to be difficult for Inverurie, with Raith not allowing them to pass the ball fluently due to their strong pressing. Another chance fell Rovers way as striker Yaw Osei Opuku-Berchie teed up Dall just inside the box. Dall struck the ball well but it was met by a quick reaction save from Inverurie keeper Jamie Butler who tipped it over the bar.
 
Raith’s continued pressure eventually paid off as they took the lead half an hour in. A corner from Ryan Stevenson came to the head of Opuku-Berchie. Losing his man, he drilled the ball to the keeper’s left with a powerful header and helped his side to take a deserved lead.
 
The rest of the first half continued in the same vein – Locos found it difficult to get enough time on the ball to create any clear chances to trouble the Rovers defence. They did, however, manage to keep shape solid in order to limit the damage that Raith could do with their possession.
 
As the teams went off for half time, Raith had a deserved lead. Inverurie would need to do a lot more going forwards if they were to advance to the next round whilst Raith would be looking to continue as they left off.
Sunday, 29 October 2017 16:08

Bou books Kennoway's fourth round place

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Rudy Bou’s goal booked Kennoway United’s spot in Round Four of the Scottish Cup as they beat Dundee West. The striker grabbed the decisive goal late in the first half, and his side managed to hold on to make it to the next round.
 
The match, like many up and down Scotland, was preceded by a minute’s silence in the memory of Kennoway 2006’s Owen Nisbet, whose life was tragically cut short during the week. The minute’s silence was well observed by both sets of players, coaches and parents.

Injuries and suspensions meant both sides were down to the bare bones, with the Dundee West team line only featuring 12 names, while Kennoway had just 13 players available. The hosts weren’t helped when midfielder Jude McIntosh was lost to injury inside the opening five minutes.

Both sides struggled to get a foothold in the game early on, with play being stopped regularly for niggling fouls from both sets of players. Dundee West got their first sight of goal after 17 minutes when Callum Rae looped a cross over the Kennoway defence into Cavan McLaren, but he could only send his shot straight at Craig Doctor.

Kennoway should have opened the scoring just after the half hour mark when Rudy Bou was sent in behind the Dundee West defence, but he sliced his effort horribly wide with only David Boylan to beat.

Bou would make amends for passing up this opportunity less than a minute later, as he opened the scoring from close range. Dylan Walker’s shot was saved by Boylan, but the ball eventually broke across the face of goal, where Bou was waiting to finish past the defender on the line from a matter of yards out.

Boylan denied Bou a second on the stroke of half time, when he smothered the striker’s effort from a tight angle.
Goals from Fife’s Skipper Harris Kay, Matthew Todd and Hamish Milne saw maximum points go to the visitors in the SSFA National Trophy group B tie. Powered on by an influential performance by Matthew Todd, Fife picked up their second win out of as many games in Group B.
 
Independent began this tie the brighter of the two sides and for the opening 5 minutes had Fife camped inside their own half. This early pressure was almost rewarded when Sam Walker’s delivery from the corner flag was met at the front post by Chris Stafford but a last-ditch block from Harris Kay ensured the score remained 0-0. After riding the storm of the opening few minutes, the Fife midfield began to make their presence felt with Matthew Todd helping link midfield and attack. Fife continued to pile on the pressure with Ryan Connelly looking lively up front, winning his side their first corner of the game after 11 minutes. Todd swung the ball into the box and it was met by the head of Captain Harris Kay to give the Fife side a 1-0 lead.
 
Fife came close to doubling their lead when Ross Cuthbert dispossessed Max Bendle inside the Independent box but Scott Robeson was out quickly to produce a smart save.
 
Independent began to battle back and after 17 minutes Sam Walker was brought down at the edge of the box following some good passing and footwork. But, Walker’s shot from the free kick was saved comfortably by Craig Richardson in the Fife net.
 
Independent continued to drive forward in search of an equaliser and following some close control Cameron Dow worked himself some space at the edge of the area and produced a great driven effort matched by a smart save from Richardson, but he could only parry the ball into the path of Sam Walker who was already beginning to wheel away in celebration as he watched Richardson come out of nowhere to produce a phenomenal diving save to keep his team in front.
 
After 30 minutes, Fife appeared to be winning the midfield battle and following some more quick passing Lewis Crosbie slipped in Connelly who done well to beat his man but his low shot across goal failed to trouble Robeson.
 
Crosbie was once again in amongst the action when he was taken out by Chris Mullen near the side line following some good footwork. The resulting free-kick was played deep into the box by Matthew Todd and the ball was met by the high-rising Ross Cuthbert who could only direct his header over the bar.
 
As the first half drew to a close, Fife had one more chance to extend their lead as Todd’s shot for outside the box was deflected into the path of Lewis Crosbie whose low effort from 8 yards drifted inches past the post.

Jamie Gullan lit up Easter Road with two goals and an eye-catching display as Hibernian overcame East Kilbride in the third round of the Scottish Youth Cup.

Gullan’s goals either side of half-time, the first a well-struck free kick and the second an instinctive finish, were enough to secure victory over a resilient East Kilbride side, who replied through Jay McInally in first-half stoppage time.

“It was just about the result today,” said Gullan afterwards. “We didn’t play our best but we got what we wanted so we’re all happy.

“They were difficult to break down and were right in our faces from the start. We just had to keep passing the ball to find space. In the end two goals were enough.”

From the start, it was clear that the 18-year-old was Hibs’ biggest threat. His speed on the ball allowed him to beat his full-back every time, and drive forward into the space.

The visitors were surely aware of the danger, but there wasn’t much they could do about it. In the 26th minute Gullan again turned at halfway and ran at the East Kilbride defenders, who hauled him down on the edge of the box. Undeterred, Gullan picked himself up and curled a sublime shot up, over the wall, and into the far corner.

“I practice free-kicks in training,” Gullan said. “I want to step up and take them and I fancied my chances.”

East Kilbride continued to sit in, and were fortunate not fall further behind just before the break. From a corner, goalkeeper Kieran Bell was forced into making a save on the line. His palmed effort only went as far as Hibs striker Ruairi Paton, who, from under the bar, couldn’t keep his header down.

Hibs were perhaps a little too comfortable, and the equaliser came from a complete lapse in concentration. Defender Josh Campbell was under no pressure at all, but his back-pass to keeper Maciej Dabrowski was woefully under-hit. East Kilbride forward Gavin Millar burst onto the loose ball but was smothered by Dabrowski. Instead, it broke to McInally, who poked the ball over the line from the edge of the box.