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Thursday, 12 April 2018 16:14

Craigie confident ahead of Currie cup showdown

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Craigroyston Boys Club U14s are feeling confident ahead of Friday’s Ian Mackay showdown with Currie Star.
It is the third cup final the team has reached in the past two years.
Speaking at their Muirhouse Parkway pitches on Wednesday evening, Coach Stephen Delworth believes his players have been training well ahead of the match.    
He said: “Our preparations have been really good.
“We have great training pitches down here, and they really help the lads play football on the deck – like it’s supposed to be.
“We’ve done a bit of extra training this week. On Monday night we worked on fitness. Tonight, we’re working on our play with the ball in order to keep the boys sharp. Tomorrow night we’ll do the same, and then we’ll relax on Friday before the game.”
The desire for the team to play attractive football was echoed by goalkeeper Liam Cawley.
He said: “We’ve been doing a lot of passing and moving drills in the build up to the game because we think that’s a better way to play than to just punt the ball up the pitch.
I prefer it when we score good team goals – they’re better than long ball goals.”
Discussing the upcoming match itself, Delworth is aware of the threat Currie Star possess, but he’s positive Craigroyston will have enough to overcome their west Edinburgh opponents.
He said: “They’re on a run of good form in the league at the moment – as are we.
“I think if we just play our normal game we’ll have enough to win on Friday. We like to pass the ball a lot and play a lot of football, so teams find it hard to come up against us.
“We’ve got a lot of pace and strength in the team to cause them problems. It’ll be tough, but it should be a great game.”
Cawley agrees that the form he and his teammates are in could prove the difference come Friday.
“We had a good game at the weekend – 11-0 against Edinburgh South – so if we can play like that in the final I’m confident we can get a win,” he said.
“Whether it’s a league game or a cup final we treat every match the same so I’m confident that if we turn up on the day and play our A-game then we will win.”
The final takes place this Friday, 6:30pm at Paties Road Stadium. Click here to pre-order your discounted DVD bundle from the game (only available pre-match).
Tuesday, 03 April 2018 10:07

ANALYSIS | Edinburgh City vs Spartans FC

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Strikes from Callum Hall and Nathan Kay proved to be the difference as Edinburgh City overcame Spartans in a Lowland & East of Scotland Development League Cup Final with few clear-cut opportunities.

Both teams came into the final with identical league records - Spartans are ahead of Edinburgh City only on goal difference - and it showed; neither side was able to stamp their authority on the game early.

Both teams lined up in a 4-4-2 formation, and for long periods they nullified each other, particularly in the middle of the park, where no one was able to get their foot on the ball and dictate the game. In the opening exchanges both teams were limited to long range efforts and set-pieces.

For Spartans, winger Arron Singh was a handful on the left-hand side and looked the most likely to create something whenever he started running at the Edinburgh City back line.

Unfortunately for Spartans, his supply dried up as the half wore on and he found himself having to come deeper to get involved in play, where he was far less dangerous.

In contrast, Edinburgh City’s own wide men – goalscorer Hall on the left and Harry Pullar – began seeing more and more of the ball as they looked to target the wide areas. This was in no small part to the other goalscorer, striker Kay, who held the ball up all afternoon and linked well with the wingers as Edinburgh City began to take control of the game.

However, chances were still few and far between as Spartans defended resolutely.

As is so often the case when two evenly matched sides go up against each other, it was likely to be a moment of magic or a mistake that would break the deadlock. To Spartans dismay, it was the latter; Hall pounced on a poor pass out from the back, carried the ball to the edge of the box and fired low past Jordan Pettigrew to give Edinburgh City a half time lead.

Spartans looked to change it in the second half: a switch at centre half saw Michael Allan replace Lewis Grant as they moved to a back three; right back Calum O’Neil filled in at centre back with left back Gabriel Hill and right winger Murray Hand operating as wing backs.

It seemed to be working; they began the half playing much higher up the pitch, and with an intensity that Edinburgh City were struggling to match. Still, the issue remained creating chances and all Fraser Morton in the Edinburgh City goal had to deal with were a few long-range shots.

With just over 20 minutes to go, Spartan’s made one final roll of the dice: their number nine Rowan Fife was replaced by defender Oran Hosey, which allowed Anthony Laing to move up into midfield and number 10 Olly Hetherington to spearhead the attack.

It didn’t matter though, just a few minutes later Hall pounced on more sloppy Spartans passing and dinked a left-wing cross to the back post, where Kay was there to smash high into the roof of the net. A goal his performance deserved.

Spartans committed plenty of bodies forward in the dying stages as they went searching for that elusive goal that would have set-up a frantic finish, but Edinburgh City never looked in danger of being breached. In fact, with Kays endless running and the introduction of fresh legs in the middle of the park, they looked dangerous on the counter as the game became stretched, and could have easily added to their own tally had it not been for some sloppy final passes and the linesman’s flag.

But in the end the two goals proved to be enough as Edinburgh City ran out deserved winners on the day.

Edinburgh South Community Football Club have today announced the appointment of Paul Doig as their first community football coach.
Doig had previously worked as the Head of Community Development at Raith Rovers and has also worked as a part of the community programme at Hibernian.
He will begin his new role at Edinburgh South on the 2nd April and will be responsible for working with local schools and the local community to provide football coaching for girls.
Edinburgh South already have an established pathway for young bys playing the game and with Doig's appointment it is hoped that that can be replicated for the girls game as well.
On his appointment Paul Doig said, “Edinburgh South CFC is a club l know well and l’m delighted to be part of what l’m sure will be a continuing success story. The Club from Soccer School upwards is the club of choice for hundreds of boys and the onus is now on making it equally attractive for girls. It is a challenge l relish and look forward to getting it moving.”
Brian Waugh, Chairman Edinburgh South Community Football Club said, “The club celebrates its 50th birthday next year so it has taken a while but l’m very pleased to welcome Paul as our first paid employee. However given the incredible progress made in the last few years l’m confident this pace will be maintained and that Paul will be an integral part of the club’s very rosy future.”
Edinburgh South has a great record of inclusion and aims to provide football for all children regardless of abilitiy. They currently have more than 600 children playing the game and have over 50 teams playing now.
They also have a strong coaching base, with over 140 volunteers giving their time and money to provide these children with the opportunity to play football.
This was a game full of emotion from both teams. Tension between the two was running high as this was a highly anticipated semi-final clash between two great teams.
Unfortunately for Edinburgh City they were the team on the losing end today. Airdrie proved difficult to break down and it showed as they came out as the victors today in a comprehensive win. This now means that Airdrie will progress into the final to play against a ruthless Musselburgh Windsor side.
Edinburgh City will surely bounce back from this and take it as a learning curve, they will surely improve and come back a better, stronger and hungrier team.
The match started off as a scrappy game as both teams found their way into the game but eventually some great, free flowing football developed as both teams grew in confidence.
Edinburgh City showed at times to be a better footballing side but crucially they didn’t capitalise on opportunities, allowing Airdrie the opportunity to take their chances and really punish their capital opponents.
Edinburgh City started off great playing the ball about and with some great over the top through balls, although nothing materialised from this.
It was Airdrie who drew blood first, a great ball was floated in and it was one of the Airdrie players who got there first and scored from the inviting ball in.
This only gave Airdrie confidence as they looked to add to their lead. To Edinburgh City’s credit their heads did not drop until Airdrie put in another cross which was not dealt with and as a result Airdrie doubled their lead with a good finish from five yards out.
Edinburgh City had been playing very well up until now, although in the first half number 17, Aaron Mackay was a revelation. He was winning 50/50s all over the pitch and supporting his attack but also doing the dirty side of the game putting in tackles for the teams benefit.
The first half ended 2-0 to Airdrie, although it could be argued it was against the run of play.
Edinburgh City made a tactical move to begin the second half.
Three new substitutions went on to try and target this game differently as their original game plan hadn’t worked out.
Edinburgh City had struggled in the physical battle and they were being bullied in certain aspects.
Airdrie were up for this game as much as their capital rivals
The three new substitutions offered something different and Edinburgh City were now looking more likely to get a goal.
Substitution Ryan Borthwick had a great shot saved for City, a cross was floated in which he attacked well but his glancing header was just over the bar, leaving number 1, Tony Sharkey with nothing to do in Airdrie’s goal.
The game progressed casually at 2-0 for Airdrie and they had another corner in which is attacked powerfully by number 4, Sean Mullen, who saw all his efforts come to fruition as he grabbed himself a goal from a header to put Airdrie 3-0 up, with the game surely over now.
This was the third set piece goal Edinburgh city had conceded, something that their coaches will not have been happy with.
Airdrie kept on coming and not long after it was 4-0.
This goal was somewhat debatable as it looked to be offside from the spectators view but the referee saw nothing and gave it.
Edinburgh City kept on battling till the final whistle and got their reward as forward Sam Walker went on a great solo run to slot home with a tidy finish.
This is nothing but a consolation goal at this point but it’s still good to see that Sam still had the self-belief to score such a good goal.
The game trickled to an end and Airdrie walked out 4-1 winners against a good Edinburgh City side.
Best of luck to Airdrie in their big final but commiserations to Edinburgh City as they deserved a result today.
Penicuik Athletic U14s v SERFYA U13s
Friday 16th February 2018 (6.30pm KO)
Friday night saw a large crowd turn out in Penicuik to watch the 2005 SYFA South East Region Squad take on there elder Penicuik Athletic 2004 counterparts in what turned out to be a throughly enjoyable match.
Straight from the first whistle both teams competed well with the action moving from end to end and the energy levels were high from both sets of players. The SERFYA midfield duo of Ian Galloway and Stevie Renton continuously drove the 2005’s forward at every opportunity trying to find an opening with the tricky Sami Doig showing some neat skills out on the left wing, keeping the Penicuik defence on their toes.
The Penicuik defence stood their ground and also tried to find an opening of their own but the solid defensive pairing of Gabriel Fleet and the Impressive 2005’s captain Kris Young proved hard to break.
As the high tempo continued, the 1st half drew to a close and Penicuik finally got the breakthrough with a quality high, long range strike by Ben Mapstone leaving Darcy Munro in the 2005’s goal with no chance at all.
Half Time: Penicuik Athletic 1 -0 SERYFA
The SERFYA Coaching team made five changes at the half-time interval but this made no difference to their game plan as the new line-up continued the second half in the same manner as was displayed in the first.
Likewise the game continued to flow from end to end as SERYFA tried hard to find an equaliser. However it was Penicuik who found the net with a great move down the right hand side and finished off by Athletic's Lewis Masson to score from 6 yards out.
With a 2 goal advantage it now looked like the strength of the older Penicuik boys was going to prove too difficult for the 2004 SERFYA squad but they continued to work hard and started to move the ball well around the pitch with some neat combination play and this was rewarded as Louis Conlin reduced the 2 goal deficit with a wonderful 20 yard strike to make it 2-1.
As the match drew to its conclusion the next goal was always going to prove decisive and what a goal it turned out to be. SERFYA full back Euan Walker picked the ball up just inside his own half and dribbled towards goal. As he dribbled past 3 Penicuik defenders he unleashed an unstoppable strike from just outside the box to cap off a magnificent individual performance and earn his side the leveller their efforts deserved.
As the final whistle blew both sides were happy with a justified 2-2 draw in what was a fantastic advert for South East Region football.
Full Time: Penicuik Athletic 2-2 SERFYA
SERFYA squad: D.Munro, F.Bain, G.Fleet, K.Young, E.Walker, S.Doig, B.Klimionek, I.Galloway, J.Purdie, S.Renton, F.Yule, J.Lothian, L.Neill, C.Dillon, F.Croall, L.Conlin.

Star Player: Kris Young - Fantastic captain's performance and led his team by example and never put a foot wrong all game.

Hibernian Girls are due to open their first regional academy in Lanarkshire later this month.
The move is the first of many planned regional academies to be set up in Scotland by the Hibees to ensure a steady flow of talent from around the country makes its way through the doors of Easter Road.
The players called up to the academy will train locally in Lanarkshire and will play matches as ‘Lanarkshire Hibernian.’
Hibernian Community Foundation Chief Executive Charlie Bennett is extremely excited about the development and the future of the ladies team.
"This is an exciting time in the development of girls and women football at Hibernian.
"In the last year we have invested significantly in our Girls Academy and as a result have an excellent crop of you players coming through the pathway. We are building for continued success, however, and the natural progression for us was to create this regional centre in an area that has over a period of time produced excellent footballers."
Girls Academy Manager Joelle Murray is also looking forward to the opening of the new academy, saying, "This is a unique opportunity, I think it will broaden the Hibernian brand and also create opportunities for talented players to join our already highly gifted squads within the academy.
"We have implemented some great resource for our academy players here in Edinburgh and are looking to replicate that in Lanarkshire."
Wednesday, 03 January 2018 09:59

MBE for Spartans academy chairman

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(Photo Credit: Spartans FC)
The Spartans Community Football Academy chairman Craig Graham has been named on the Queen's New Year's Honours list for an MBE for, "services to football and the community in Edinburgh."
Graham, 55, has been chairman of the academy since it was first set up in 2008, which operates throughout north Edinburgh delivering innovative programmes in youth work and education.
On his award Graham said. “At Spartans we have got loads of brilliant people – they are hugely committed and hugely generous with their time.
"I happen to have got dead lucky to have this award, but it’s really on behalf of everyone at Spartans over the last ten years and all the efforts they have put in. It’s exciting and obviously you always appreciate when someone recognises your work.”

The announcement was met with jubilation by members of the youth football community and beyond, with many sending their messages of congratulations to Craig over social media.
From sportswriters to coaches to football clubs, they all lined up to congratulate Graham on his award. David Tanner of Sky Sports News posted on Twitter saying, "it’s lovely to see some of the guys doing football for the benefit of others getting Royal recognition. Lovely." And Moira Gordon from Scotland on Sunday and the Scotsman said, "This is so well deserved. A great guy who cares passionately about making lives better and affording everyone an opportunity to improve themselves. Also cares about Spartans. What's not to like/admire. Well done to The Cat."
Praise also came from colleagues as Spartans Women's General Manager Debbi McCulloch said, "Couldn't be happier for the boss man. One of most genuine and generous guys you will ever meet."
There were also messages from clubs such as East Stirlingshire, Edinburgh City and Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale.
On behalf of everyone at Youth Football Scotland, Congratulations Craig on this incredible achievement.
After a closely contested season in the South East Joelle Murray u17s League it was Murieston United who emerged as champions.
The team won four of their six league games to secure the title, edging out nearest rivals Boroughmuir Thistle by just three points.
Things did not get off to the best of starts for Murieston as they opened the season with a disappointing 2-0 defeat away to Boroughmuir, but quickly recovered a week later, securing an impressive 5-0 victory away to Bonnyrigg Rose.
United sealed the title with one game to spare after a 3-0 win at home to Bonnyrigg, securing the title.
Youth Football Scotland caught up with Murieston United coach Stephen Hegarty for his thoughts on his sides successful season.
"It feels great to be the league champions, especially as we had to use a lot of our young u15s to bolster our u17s squad, I think its not just a credit to the girls but to the whole girls and ladies section coaches up at Murieston United as we all work as a team with, to be honest, very few disagreements. We like to have all of our girls clubs interests at heart, not just the ones we individually coach. For a team from outside the capital city to win the championship as well is a great feeling as there were some very tough opponents.
"Our players were fantastic last season and gave me 100% every week, you can't ask for any more than that and I was thrilled to bits with not just the effort they put in, but the fact they always tried to play football in the right manner by playing it on the deck and with good passing, we're a good team to watch. 
"The most pleasing part of last season was the girls attitudes, never once did any of these girls let themselves, their coaches or their parents down, when we were getting beat, they dug in and always tried to pull it back, fantastic attitudes from all of them.
"Toughest moments of the season were overcoming injuries, we lost a couple of key players to injury early in the season along with possibly our main goal threat as she decided to move up to our newly formed ladies team, despite having a full season of 17s football left. We also lost our goalkeeper halfway through the season but were very lucky to get another one in so quickly. 
Aims for next season to try and beef my team up a wee bit!! We have 10 stepping up from the u15s and while a few of these girls played last season, its a massive step for some of the others, we may not be the biggest physically but these girls can hold their own if any rough stuff starts.
"Its a tough ask but I would also like to keep our league title!! We know the 17s league will be a lot tougher this year round and as league champions, we'll be the team everyone wants to beat but I think myself and the girls will relish that challenge as after all, if your not in it to win it then whats the point?!"
Congratulations to Murieston United and the best of luck for next season!
Thursday, 30 November 2017 14:59

INTERVIEW: Ross Millar

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Recently I sat down with relatively inexperienced coach Ross Millar, who has been at Spartans FC Reds 2002 since 2015. He has 2 sons in the side, Jack and Shawn. He has overseen a promotion in his time at the team.
When and why did you first get into coaching?
“I actually got involved because the previous team coach announced he was leaving at the end of the 14-15 season. Myself and another of the dads decided to get involved because our sons both played for the team, we wanted it to keep going and thought it could be a fun & interesting thing to do.”
“Neither of us had any coaching experience at that time but have since done the required coaching badges.”
Did you take any inspiration from the way you choose to play/manage your team?
“Just before I started coaching I had listened to a podcast which had Gordon Strachan as a guest. When asked about emerging talent and grass roots football, he made a point which I found to be very interesting – he reckoned kids are over coached these days. His philosophy was the best way for kids to learn is to give them the ball and let them play. I thought that made a lot of sense so have always tried to keep my sessions simple & have as much game time in them as possible.”
That fact is evident in his sessions (which I take part in). The usual structure follows a quick drill, normally possession or something similar, followed by 4 a side football, with no instruction, just play. Finally a match is played across a 7-a-side pitch. Ross has obviously taken the advice and employed it in his bi-weekly sessions.
“From a playing point of view one of the earliest inspirations was in my first season when having seen Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool in a match at Anfield vs Manchester United. I was in the Kopp End which gives a great view of the team setup & shape. They played a 3-5-2 that day & although they lost, when we had a bad start to the following season I put in the same formation to close a gap we had in the middle of our back 4. It made a real difference mostly because the player I put in as sweeper was tailor-made for that position, so there was an element of luck about it too.”
The formation change saw a very big shift in results instantly, beating Seton 5-2 away from home. This was Marc Lynn’s debut for Spartans and Ross described him as “tailor-made” for the position, he would later win the Player’s Player of the season award. The Reds would later lose Marc to Spartans Colts at the end of the season.
Last season your team was promoted from the Third Division achieving third place, how do you feel the season went as a whole?
“Honestly I am extremely disappointed with how the season went. We were good enough to win that league & should have done. It really came down to a handful of games where we just didn’t perform that cost us not just 1st place but also 2nd which we lost on the head to head with Leith Athletic.”
Spartans started the 2016/17 season very brightly, beating Oxgangs 5-4 away from home amongst other results, which saw them on top for most of the opening months. Although after a dismal league cup performance, seeing them knocked out in the group stages with 2 points, Spartans never seemed to recover, losing 5-0 against Leith and 3-2 against Oxgangs saw them finish third.
Ross in the end claimed “third wasn’t an achievement and we should have done better”
How has your season been so far?
“A real mixed bag. We had a couple of excellent results in the first few weeks but since then have not really performed. Quite why that is the case I am still trying to figure out & it’s probably the toughest challenge of my coaching career thus far.”
Although Spartans opened their season with a disappointing away loss to Leith Athletic, ending their away unbeaten run stretching back to April 2016, the bounced back with two 1-0 defeats of Hutchie vale and a Dramatic 1-1 draw with Spartans Colts. After that results seemed to go downhill, with a 4-1 home defeat to Longniddry Villa starting the downward spiral.
Ross finished with “However we do have a great bunch of boys in the squad & I am sure we will bounce back.”
So far this season who has been the stand out player?
“A few of the boys have really made the step up but the probable stand out is our vice-captain Lee Russell. He’s progressed particularly well this season, moving from centre half to centre midfield. It’s especially pleasing to see as Lee has been playing in the same team as my son Jack since 2012.”
Lee and I both started our careers at Redpath Albion in 2012, alongside current players Matthew McDonald and Shawn Millar. Lee was snapped up by Spartans in the summer of 2014 alongside Shawn Millar, he was later joined by me, three months later.
Lee has contributed 4 league goals and 5 assists this season including a fantastic performance against Gala Fairydean which saw him score 2 goals, including the winner, in a 3-1 win.
Having 2 of your sons in the squad must be a challenge, do you feel pressure to select them every week?
“This might sound like the politically correct answer but I feel absolutely no pressure to select them at all. They are treated the same as any other member of the squad although my fellow coach Iain does often say I am too harsh on Jack our goalkeeper so maybe I’m too tough!”
I agree with him being harsh, as I am the keeper, but it’s warranted most of the time. Shawn has joined from a second division team and he has done anything but walk into the team. Ross has been harsh on us at times, but I believe it’s in our best interest. I’d rather he was harsh than never give us criticism, it’d be ridiculous.
Ross also stated “I told them both once I started coaching that on the pitch I’m their coach, not their dad.”
What has been your favourite game/moment while in charge?
“This is actually very tough to answer but I probably have 3 that I can’t choose. In my first season while in the 3rd division we played a 2nd division team (Edinburgh City) away in a cup tie. We drew the game 0-0 and took it to penalties, I was actually a little disappointed that it went that far as felt we had enough chances to win it before then. Despite missing the first penalty we went on to win it 4-3. The reaction from the boys & parents when the winning penalty went in was a really special moment…”
Despite not having a keeper fit, Matthew McDonald signed the week before and played the match in goals and kept a clean sheet and played a massive role in the penalty shootout.
“Earlier this season in the 2nd league game, after having lost the opener 4-2 to fellow promoted team Leith Athletic we were away to relegated from the 1st division Hutchison Vale. We didn’t really expect to get anything from the game but on a windswept Jack Kane pitch we gave a real cup tie type performance, scored a late winner & came away with a 1-0 win. Again, the reaction of everyone when Bayley Drew scored was another special moment.”
Spartans would play Hutchison Vale again that same weekend, again, a 1-0 Victory with Bayley Drew scoring the winner.
“Back again to our first season in the 3rd division, in the April we were away to Edina who had won all of their games in the league (& most cups too). Again, at the Jack Kane and after a battling display we came away with a 3-2 victory, the only league game they lost that season. It was a real turning point for our squad as they really started to believe in themselves after that, a real watershed moment I think.”
After what was a fantastic overall performance soaking up a second half of pressure Spartans won the game, all thanks to Ross’s 3-5-2 formation which was recently adopted.
Finally, if you were to do it all again what would you change?
“There’s always a few specific games that with the benefit of hindsight you’d do something different whether it was tactically, team selection or whatever. There are 3 games in particular from last season that I think cost us the league. In the 2nd game of the season we lost 2-1 at home to Blackhall, we were 1-0 up they were down to 10 men but I tinkered too much with the line-up and that cost us 3 points.”
Spartans would again meet Blackhall at the end of the season, only to win 4-1. Seeing Bayley Drew hit his 50th goal of the season was a highlight.
“In an away game we drew 2-2 with Earslton Rhymers (who we later beat 8-1) and I got the starting XI wrong, we got off to a bad start, lost an early goal and it was uphill from there. We lost 3-2 at home to Oxgangs (the eventual winners of our league) in a pivotal match. Again I got the starting line-up wrong and we paid for it, quickly going 3-0 down. Once I made changes we got back to 3-2 but couldn’t convert any of the many chances we made to equalise and snatch a point.”
Ross marred team selection as the causes for these results, although they were all uncharacteristically poor performances for his side, you could also blame a very poor pitch at Earlston costing us the 3 points but when it’s all said and done they should have performed and they didn’t.
In conclusion, Ross had said he and his fellow coaches found it to be a very rewarding decision to become a coach, and he has loved every minute of it (just about).
“It’s been an enjoyable and rewarding experience which I would encourage any football lover to take on, given the opportunity.”
Thursday, 30 November 2017 14:04

INTERVIEW: Calum Leslie

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Daniel Kirk recently sat down with Calum Leslie of North Merchiston Vale AFC to talk about his journey through the Scottish Youth Football system.
Calum Leslie - “My name is Calum Leslie and I am currently playing for North Merchiston Vale AFC in The LEAFA Championship. I started playing in Primary School and have played for many youth clubs both in Northern Ireland where I was born and in the Scottish Borders. I have since progressed through youth football and into the amateur system in Edinburgh.”
Daniel Kirk – “Tell us more about your club?”
Calum – “North Merchiston Vale AFC were formed in 2006 and play out of the North Merchiston Club at Harrison Park in Polwarth Edinburgh. I am currently in my 3rd season at the club. We currently play in the LEAFA Championship having last year won promotion from the Edinburgh West division.”
Daniel – “What position do you play? Have you always played in that position?”
Calum –“I play in goal. I’ve always played in goal since I think primary 6, I’ve had the odd game outfield mainly on the wings as I used to have a bit of pace in my younger days, but in goal is my favourite position and where I play best.”
Daniel – “Any success stories you can tell us? About you or anyone you played with?”
Calum – “At U17 level I played for Peebles Thistle and in my final season at that age group we managed to reach the league cup final. We played our biggest rivals Innerleithen Rovers, who used to beat us almost every game we played against them. However, on this occasion we managed to pull off a 1-0 win to lift the trophy. To finally beat them and in a cup final made the win even sweeter and to have  bragging rights at school on the Monday morning felt pretty good.”
Daniel – “What age were you when you signed for your first club?”
Calum – “In Northern Ireland I only ever played school football, so it wasn’t until I moved to Peebles at the age of 13 that I signed for my first youth club, Peebles Thistle FC.”
Daniel – “How many clubs have you played for?”
Calum – “Including each age group from u14’s up to amateur level at Peebles, Salters AFC and NMV AFC in LEAFA that’s a nice round total of 3 clubs.”
Daniel – “How has playing for a youth team improved your game?”
Calum – “I think the main thing that helped to improve my game after signing for a team was having structured training sessions to work on specific areas of my game, especially having the opportunity to work on goalkeeping specific training which is or at least was at Youth level. That’s the main difference between playing for a club and having a kick about with your mates in the park.”
Daniel – “How easy or difficult is it for kids to get into youth football these days compared to when you were playing youth football?”
Calum – “I think it’s probably easier nowadays, when I was younger social media didn’t really exist so you had to either know someone who was already at a club either as a player or a coach or you would find out about it at school. But now especially living in Edinburgh, or any large city, it’s so easy to search for clubs on Facebook or Twitter and get yourself along to play.”
Daniel – “In the future would you like your son to get involved in grassroots football?”
Calum – “Definitely, he’s only 2 in December so he’s still a few years away from it yet, but I would love it if he got involved in the grassroots game. Obviously I won’t put pressure on him to play, if he would rather play or do something else I’d be more than happy, but I think every dad who loves football secretly wants their son to grow up to be a professional player.”
Daniel – “Lastly, do you have any plans to get into coaching in the future?”
Calum – “It’s definitely something I have thought about, having studied Sports Science at University I have gained some good background knowledge and I would love to get my coaching badges and get involved in coaching probably at a Youth level as I also have a background in working in childcare.”
Daniel – “Thank you for speaking to me today, I’m sure people will find this quite an interesting read and I’m sure it will give people an insight to the Youth game in Scotland.”