This report comes from Ian Mackay. Click here to read his blog on YFS or to visit his own website click here.
This all-Edinburth 3rd tie was played in pouring rain and high winds but that did not cool down the players in either sides at all and in a second-half flare-up, two players were red-carded in what were very unpleasan scenes with the referee, teachers and parents on the pitch trying to haul warring players apart. It was even more sad as this was a cracking cup tie in appalling conditions on a newly laid hockey pitch at Holy Rood High School. I am very friendly with parents at both schools and how I hope they can sort out the silly aggression among certain players. The incident referred to was the second blow-up in the second half, and possibly, if stronger action had been taken in the first incident, things would have calmed down. Who knows, however. My view is that if any of the young players on the pitch at Holy Rood High School hope to impress watching senior club scouts they had better clean up their act. To put it in perspective, it was almost laughable and instead of looking like little tough guys those involved reminded my of a crowd of petulant silly young laddies. Is Scottish football not bad enough without making it even worse than it already is?
The pace of this cup tie was frantic from the start and Andy Greenhill had a good chance early on for Craigmount but his good strike was just off target. I felt sorry for both goalies - Holy Rood's Neil Fairnie and his opposite number in the Craigmount goal, Stuart Davidson. Shots at both goals zipped off the smooth surface and both keepers were quite brilliant in stopping shots. It was a super start to the game and the home side were first to break the deaklock with a well-taken goal from Danny Greaves. However, the celebrations on the home touchline were cut short when Ryan Baptie it 1-1 with a super goal. The pace of the game was relentless and the competitive nature of exchanges ensured excellent match referee, John Thompson, was kept busy. It was not, in any way, a dirty game, just a great Scottish Cup tie. Holy Rood went behind when Mark Osbourne punished poor defending in the home side's rearguard when he put Craigmount back in front at 2-1. Then came the goal of the game with a wonderful shot from Marcus Campanile - wonderful name that - and it was stlll 2-2 at the close of a great first half of non-stop action.
It was quite amazing what both sides achieved in such awful conditions on this new hockey pitch. Apart from the two incidents referred to, the second half was totally absorbing. As players on both sides tired, some late tackles caused howls from parents on the sidelines. Nothing wrong in that as most of it was in the 'encouraging' bracket. The play moved from end to end and both goalkeepers, I thought, were outstanding. There were many good young players on both sides and every one of them deserves praise for playing this important cup tie in the driving rain and howling wind. Craigmount did little wrong but they were punished again when poor defending once more allowed Campanile the chance to run on to a ball played inside the Craigmount defence and with keeper, Stuart Davidson caught in 'no-man's land', the Holy Rood hero scored what proved the winning goal for his school team. That should give him hero status when he returned to school on Monday morning. After both teams were reduced to ten-men each, Craigmount put in a great finishing burst in a bid to get back on level terms, but on this occasion, all their hard work did not gain the reward they were hoping for. Holy Rood, I thought, looked a very good team with talented players in many areas of the pitch. I went through to St Andrew's last season and this good side from the Capital were very unlucky indeed to lose in their semi-final against a school from Aberdeen. With more self-discipline, Holy Rood could go far again this season, even win the silverware. But, please, learn to 'keep the heid' or it could all end in disappointment once again.
I want to express my personal thanks to all those who spoke to me and expressed sorrow at the loss of my wife last month. I am most grateful, even if I was soaked through and through.
Holy Rood - Neil Fairnie, Ryan Agate, Kieran Muirhead, Danny Graves, Brad Hainey, Jack Brien, Dyhlan Mya, Lewis Vaughan (his talented young man is playing for Raith Rovers under-19s), Sean Alexander, Marcus Campanile (his dad's first name is Mario), Liam Peden, Danny Gally, Benji Edwards, Max Rowall, Jake Welsh, Jamie Henderson.
Craigmount - Stuart Davidson, Ruri Ward, Grant McKean, Thomas Porteous, Andy Greenhill, Euan Terry, Kieran McGraw, Ryan Baptie, Peter Carnie, Stuart Donaldson, Mark Osbourne, Greg Powrie, S Thomson, Euan Anderson. Apologies for any mistakes as I cannot read the names written down by a parent.If any are wrong let me know and I will correct any mistakes.
Five star referee - John Thompson.