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National Competitions (651)

The fourth season of the SPFL Development League is now in the history books and it was a great advert for the youth game in this country.
Ultimately it was Hibernian who would lift the league title at the end of the season and rightfully so. The Hibees finished the season six points ahead of their nearest challengers Dundee, winning 19 games in the process, losing just five.
Their title win was secured on the 17th of April after Dundee were unable to take the league to the final game of the season, losing their match against Hearts to hand the trophy to the other Edinburgh side.
This season saw reduced participation in the league. Rangers withdrew from the competition in favour of playing in glamour friendlies against youth teams from across Europe, including Bayern Munich, Manchester United and Benfica, whilst Dunfermline Athletic and Inverness Caledonian Thistle withdrew in preparation for the new reserve league to be set up as per the proposals made under ‘Project Brave.’
The season saw a tremendous display of youth talent from every club in the league, so let’s review each side’s campaign in the SPFL Development League.
Last Season: 4th
This Season: 1st
Hibernian were worthy winners of the league and will have a number of players to thank for their success. One key name will be striker Oli Shaw, who has broken into the first team as of late and topped the Development League scoring charts for the second season in a row.
Last Season: 15th
This Season: 2nd
The Dee will be disappointed that they couldn’t end the season on a high but they will be proud of what they achieved this season. A vast improvement on last season and a few players have made the step into the first team including Kerr Waddell, Matthew Henvey and Cedwyn Scott.
Last Season: 11th
This Season: 3rd
Another team that made a vast improvement from last season was Hearts. The Tynecastle side have been making a habit of nurturing young talent for their first team and made a late surge to capture third place.
Last Season: 9th
This Season: 4th
Key defeats towards the end of the season ended up derailing the Dons’ title charge, namely against Dundee and Hibernian and eventually ended up 12 points of the pace. A little disappointing considering the Pittodrie side made a great start to the season and had the potential to really challenge at the top. Also made the SFA Youth Cup Final but lost to Hibs at Hampden.
Last Season: 5th
This Season: 5th
Another good season for the Well. No improvement in terms of league position but have picked up some very impressive results. A league double against Celtic is no easy feat as well, but was achieved by the Lanarkshire side.
Last Season: 3rd
This Season: 6th
Celtic began this season on the back foot, having to play a number of games in the Youth Champions League and quickly needed to get up to speed. Unfortunately, while they put in many commendable performances, the fixture list was always against them and they underperformed.
Ross County
Last Season: 1st
This Season: 7th
Last season was a massive success for the highland side but less can be said for this campaign. The Dingwall side finished 26 points worse off from last season. Of course it must be mentioned that they have played six fewer games this season but considering last season’s title win many would have been hoping that County would put up another title challenge.
Hamilton Academical
Last Season: 2nd
This Season: 8th
Hamilton were made to pay for a very slow start to the season but eventually managed to save themselves a respectable mid-table spot. Accies have always placed a very heavy emphasis on youth development and we will perhaps see some of the players used in this campaign in the Scottish Premiership next season.
Dundee United
Last Season: 14th
This Season: 9th
A minor improvement from the tangerine side of the City of Discovery. They finished two points worse off from last season but also played six fewer matches so have definitely made strides forward in terms of youth development.
St Mirren
Last Season: 13th
This Season: 10th
The Buddies are another team that like to put an emphasis on youth development, with the likes of Kenny McLean, John McGinn, Stephan Mallan and Lewis Morgan coming through the academy. Minor improvement from last season but will be hoping for better.
St Johnstone
Last Season: 17th
This Season: 11th
St Johnstone endured a difficult campaign last season and only marginally improved this time around. They managed to secure seven wins this season, two more than the previous campaign but many with an allegiance to the Perthshire side would have been hoping for a drastic improvement on last time.
Partick Thistle
Last Season: 8th
This Season: 12th
The Jags threatened to break into the top five last season, but this season struggled to stay clear of bottom spot. Definitely not a season to remember for the Glasgow side.
Last Season: 12th
This Season: 13th
Killie had a better time in the youth cup than they did in the league this season. No team can really recall a successful season after finishing second from bottom, but the Ayrshire team did manage to make the semi-finals of the youth cup where they were knocked out by Aberdeen.
Last Season: 7th
This Season: 14th
The Bairns really struggled in the Development League this season and have the unwanted moniker of finishing last, losing 17 games and winning just five. After the club’s decision to withdraw funding for the Forth Valley Academy, it will surely be a while until things stabilise.
Friday, 27 April 2018 22:13

Analysis: Roaming forwards win cup for Hibees

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Hibernian came from behind to defeat Aberdeen in the Scottish Youth Cup Final. Grant Murray’s men lifted the silverware after an excellent second half performance was enough to see them overcome the Dons.

Hibs began the game playing with a back five allowing their wing-backs Callum Donaldson and Sean Mackie to push very high, which seemed to work early on and it was Donaldson and Mackie who combined to produce the game’s first opportunity.

Five minutes in and Mackie broke up the left and whipped a cross into the box and from 10 yards out Donaldson’s half-volley flew wide of the post.

Aberdeen began by playing a counter-attacking style of play, designed to catch out the advanced Hibernian wing-backs and on the fifteen minute mark their tactics paid off. A long ball into the right channel got Connor McLennan into the box and he managed to beat three defenders, round the goalie and stab home from six yards to put the Dons in front.

After this early goal for the Dons, Grant Murray changed his side’s formation to try and combat Aberdeen’s counter-attacking style. He changed to a more conventional 4-4-2 and Aberdeen couldn’t cope.

With the wing-backs now transformed to full-backs, it allowed more space on the wings for the Hibernian forwards to drift into and just after the half-hour mark the Hibees were level.

Some good work in the middle of the park lead to Fraser Murray, who had hit the cross bar only moments before, being played in on the right wing. He drove forward and looked to pick out Ollie Shaw in the middle of the box, however Murray’s cross was diverted into his own goal by Joe MacPherson.

Hibs continued to press the Aberdeen defence, however they never created any clear cut chances and both sides went into the break on level terms.

Grant Murray’s change of formation again looked like a masterstroke as in the second half Hibs blew away the Dons. They continued to look dangerous and created a couple of decent chances, with the best falling to Jamie Gullan.
Again the Hibs forwards were drifting in and out of the Aberdeen back line and Gullan, who was playing on the wing, found himself in the middle of the box. He controlled well and his deflected effort was stopped well by Dons goalie David Craddock.
Hibs didn’t have to wait long to take the lead though, and the goal came from centre midfielder Ben Stirling moving out wide. He collected the ball on the wing and put in a wonderful cross for Ryan Porteous, who bulleted the header into the back of the net.
Another key feature to Hibernian’s performance was the strike play of Ollie Shaw. He had the thankless task of running the channels and chasing long balls but did so very effectively and it was Shaw who was the architect of the third Hibs goal.
Shaw latched onto defender Waugh’s brilliant long ball and he composed himself to get a strike off, which was deflected into the path of Jamie Gullan who tapped the ball into the empty goal to put the game to bed for Hibernian.
Hibs managed to see out the remaining minutes of the game to lift the silverware and, in truth, it was all down to the tactical changes made by manager Grant Murray.
His decision to change from five at the back to 4-4-2 proved to be a game changer.  By playing a compact midfield, there was more space on the wings for the forwards to move into and this is where Hibs goals came from.
An excellent victory from Hibs who have now completed the domestic double of Development League and Youth Cup and they will be delighted with their season.
Wednesday, 25 April 2018 16:31

SWF Youth Cup 2018 - U13's 2nd Round Draw

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The draw for the second round of the U13's SWF Youth Cup was made earlier today at Burns Cottage in Ayrshire. The first round contained many incredible matches across the country and left us with 32 worthy teams in the next round.
The full draw is as follows:

Kilmarnock Blues v Lomond Development

Larnarkshire Hibs v Kilwinning

Forfar Farmington v Boroughmuir Thistle Purples

Kilmarnock Whites v Celtic 12s

Celtic 13s v Aberdeen

Jeanfield Swifts 12s v Deveronvale Girls

Penicuik Athletic Blues v Bonnyrigg Rose

Blackburn United Blacks v Hearts Development

Gartcairn Blues v Blackburn United

IHS Strollers v Musselburgh Windsor 

Hibernian 13s v Central Girls Legends

Aberdeen FC Youth v Cove Youth

Donside Girls v Ayr United

Kirrie Thistle v Scone Thistle

Pollok United v Central Girls

Queen of the South White v Glasgow Girls 12s


There are certainly many interesting ties among these fixtures. Last season's beaten finalists Glasgow Girls, off the back of an impressive 9-0 win over Raith Rovers in the first round, face a potentially difficult tie down in Dumfries to play Queen of the South White.

There is also an all Aberdeenshire tie to look forward to as Aberdeen FC Youth will host Cove Youth for a spot in the round of 16.

Ties will be played on the 5/6 May

Last week the SPFL Development League West was set for its grand finalé. Airdrieonians needed victory away to Morton to clinch a hard earned league title. Stranraer watched on, knowing anything else would see them crowned champions. Or would it? Whilst the league table suggested so, a statement from the SPFL issued before the game noted:

As things stand, Stranraer will be champions if Airdrieonians fail to beat Greenock Morton tomorrow night.
However, it has been alleged that, in their match against East Kilbride on 11 April 2018, Stranraer fielded a player as a trialist in respect of whom the correct paperwork had not been received by the SPFL and the player was allegedly therefore not eligible to play. The match ended in a 2-1 victory for Stranraer.
A disciplinary hearing has been scheduled for Monday 23 April in respect of this matter and, as such, no announcement in relation to the Development League West title (if required) will be made until that hearing has been concluded.
The game was played and what a match it was. Airdrieonians went 2-0 up at half-time and looked to have the title within touching distance. However a sensational 20 minute goal spree (click here to view the winner) saw Morton come back and win 3-2. 

Proceedings moved onto Monday evening and whilst the disciplinary meeting was taking place at Hampden, Morton and Ayr United were hosting Albion Rovers and Queens Park respectively. Both sides had been mathematically out of the title race a week prior, but with the news of Stranraer's potential point deducation combined with Morton's win over Airdrie, they were back in it. Both won convincingly and eagerly awaited news from the governing body.
This morning the news was delivered:
Prior to the hearing, Stranraer were alleged to have fielded a player as a trialist without submitting the correct paperwork to the SPFL. 
At that hearing, it was determined by an SPFL Board sub-committee that Stranraer had indeed breached SPFL Regulations and the player was not eligible to play in the match, which finished 2-1 to Stranraer. 
The club were reprimanded and warned as to their future conduct. The original match result has been annulled and recorded as follows:
East Kilbride 3-0 Stranraer 
The three points for a victory were awarded to East Kilbride and the points previously awarded to Stranraer withdrawn.
The news means now, the SPFL Development League West has just one unfulfilled fixture. Can you guess? Greenock Morton v Ayr United. Being played at Cappielow tomorrow (Wednesday) evening, everything all comes down to this match. A victory for either side would see them crowned champions, whereas a draw would see the previously devastated Airdrieonians clinch the title. Unfortunately for Stranraer, they are now set to finish third regardless of the result.
Tuesday, 24 April 2018 11:16

SPFL Development League Round Up - 23/04/18

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The SPFL Development League is now drawing to a close and with Hibernian already being crowned league champions, the race for second place is still on. Here is how the action went down on Monday:
St. Mirren 2-2 Dundee
Dundee ended a good season in the SPFL Development League with a disappointing draw away to St. Mirren. The Dee finished the game with nine men as they let slip a two-goal lead.
Cedwyn Scott opened the scoring for Dundee after just six minutes when he managed to get on the end of Jesse Curran's cross. Matthew Henvey doubled the lead just a minute later with a drilled shot into the bottom corner.
St Mirren equalised just before half-time when Curran's wayward header only went as far as Robbie Leitch who had the simple task of firing home. Kerr Waddell was shown a red card 15 minutes into the second half for a late tackle and from the resulting free-kick St Mirren were level through a Sam Jamieson header.
Dundee would be reduced to nine men four minutes later as Matthew Henvey was shown a second yellow for dissent.
Falkirk 0-1 Hearts
Dundee's slip-up meant that Hearts closed the gap on the Dee to just four points as they secured victory over the league's bottom side Falkirk. The win means that Hearts can leapfrog Dundee to finish second if they secure four points from their last two games, which are against Kilmarnock and Celtic.
The scoreline could have been a lot worse for the Bairns and they had 'keeper Robbie Mutch to thank for keeping the score respectable. However he could not keep Hearts from opening the scoring just two minutes into the second half.
It was Euan Henderson who broke the deadlock, pouncing on a loose ball to fire past Mutch and secure the three points for the Jambos.
Celtic 0-2 Motherwell
Motherwell ensured a 100% record over Celtic in the Development League this season with a 2-0 win over the Bhoys at Lennoxtown. 
It took just three minutes for the Well to take the lead through some great work by Jack Hastie. The striker ran down the right hand side, before cutting in on his favoured left foot to strike past Ross Doohan for the lead.
Some slack play from Celtic defender Stephen Welsh led to Motherwell's second. Jamie Semple won the ball and played through David Turnbull, whose strike was saved by Doohan only as far as Hastie who tucked away for his and Motherwell's second.
St Johnstone 1-2 Dundee United
Dundee United came away from McDairmid Park with a very impressive 2-1 victory over St Johnstone.
Emil Lyng opened the scoring for the Terrors within five minutes after capitalising on a poor free-kick from Stefan Scougall to advance down the field and place the ball past Saints 'keeper Ross Sinclair.
United doubled their advantage just before the hour mark through Gavin Ritchie, who burst into the box to fire high past Sinclair. Saints responded well and pulled a goal back just a minute later through Ali McCann, but they could not find an equaliser and Dundee United returned to the City of Discovery with the three points in tow. 
Tuesday, 10 April 2018 15:15

SPFL Development League Round Up - 09/04/18

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Aberdeen 0-1 Dundee
Dundee moved to the top of the SPFL Development League temporarily as they produced a great performance to beat fellow title contenders Aberdeen 1-0 at Station Park.
It took just 15 minutes for the young Dee to take the lead after Craig Wighton bombed forward from his own half and played the ball through to the prolific Cedwyn Scott, who knocked the ball past Archie Mair for the lead.
The Dons had a large shout for a penalty on the hour mark when Dundee goalkeeper Callum Ferrie clashed with Sam Cosgrove, but after a lengthy discussion with his assistant, referee Chris Fordyce decided not to award the spot-kick and Dundee left with a valuable win.
Falkirk 1-2 Hibernian
Hibernian had to come from behind, but still managed to reclaim top spot in the Development League table with a 2-1 win away to bottom side Falkirk.
The Bairns went into the game with the odds stacked firmly against them, yet still took the lead in the game when Scott Shepherd was picked out in the box and fired a shot out of the reach of Maciej Dabrowski.
Hibs were level just shy of the half-hour mark through Ryan Porteous’ header and the Hibees scored the decisive winner 15 minutes from time when Oli Shaw held the ball up well for Danny Swanson to fire past Robbie Mutch for the win.
Dundee United 0-6 Ross County
It was disaster for Dundee United at St. Andrews University as they were humbled 6-0 by a brilliant Ross County side.
County opened the scoring on after 20 minutes through Kyle Johnson and doubled their lead five minutes after the restart with Tony Dingwall.
Davis Keillor-Dunn added a third ten minutes later before Matthew Wright scored his first goal for the County Development squad. A fifth and sixth were added late on to compound the Terrors’ misery.
Hamilton Accies 1-3 Motherwell
It was Motherwell who walked out winners in the junior Lanarkshire derby, beating Accies 3-1 at the Superseal Stadium as Hamilton were made to rue two penalty misses.
The home side were awarded their first penalty five minutes from half-time, but Ryan Tierney’s effort was held by Peter Morrison. Motherwell took the lead 10 minutes into the second half as Shea Gordon played in Alfredo Agyeman, who cut the ball back to James Scott who slotted home.
Five minutes later, Accies had another opportunity to score from the spot, but Ronan Hughes blazed his shot over the bar. They were level three minutes later though through Ross Cunningham.
The Well retook the lead when a cross from Jack Hastie eventually fell to David Turnbull to slot home at the back post. Turnbull then added his second from the spot to seal the game for Motherwell.
Kilmarnock 0-2 St Mirren
Kilmarnock were unable to put their Scottish Youth Cup loss against Aberdeen behind them, as they were beaten 2-0 at home to St Mirren.
The Saints took the lead in the second half, when Cameron MacPherson played in Conor O’Keefe, who in turn crossed the ball into the path of Matthew Reilly to slot home.
Kilmarnock were pushing players forward in search of an equaliser and St Mirren took advantage of this to settle the game with their second goal, with Cameron Bredner running through to slot the ball past Ross Miller.
Partick Thistle 0-3 Celtic
Celtic prepared for their Scottish Youth Cup semi-final against Hibernian on Thursday with a 3-0 win in the Glasgow derby against Partick Thistle. The Bhoys opened the scoring in the second half when Broque Watson’s blocked shot fell to Jack Aitchison, who fired home.
The second came with just 15 minutes remaining. It came through another impressive period of play from Watson who squared the ball over to Ciaran Diver, who placed the ball comfortably into the net.
And it was three, five minutes from time when a looping ball was well controlled by Kerr McInroy, who fired past Jamie Stevenson with ease.
Tuesday, 03 April 2018 14:49

SPFL Development League Round Up - 02/04/18

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Things are really starting to heat up in the SPFL Development League as teams at both ends of the table made serious moves and earned vital results.
Let's have a look at all the Development League action from the 2nd April:
Celtic 1-1 Hibernian
League leaders Hibernian dropped points yesterday as they were held to a 1-1 draw away to Celtic at Cappielow Park. The draw was welcomed by the end of the game for the Hibees, who saw Sean Mackie sent off within three minutes after a challenge on Grant Savoury.
Despite this it was the Edinburgh side who took the lead eight minutes into the second half, when Lewis Allan capitalised on some slack play by the Celtic defence to charge forward and slide the ball under on-rushing 'keeper Ryan Mullen.
It wasn't until the 79th minute when Celtic found their equaliser, when Thomas Caffrey squared the ball towards Broque Watson to slot past Martin in the Hibs goal and open the door for Dundee and Aberdeen to close the gap on the leaders later in the day.
Dundee 3-0 Hamilton Accies
Dundee secured their eighth straight win in the Development League as they eased past Hamilton Accies by three goals to nil. The Dee opened the scoring in the second half through centre-back Julen Extabeguren, who converted Jack Lambert's corner.
Shortly after the Dens Park side doubled their lead through Cedwyn Scott who latched on to Lambert's blacked shot, giving the Accies 'keeper no chance.
The Dee coompleted their victory when Scott saw his initial shot saved, only to have the ball find it's way to substitute Max Anderson who had the simple task of poking the ball home to secure the three points and close the gap on leaders Hibs to just one.
Ross County 1-1 Aberdeen
Aberdeen missed the opportunity to close the gap on league leaders Hibernian as they were held to a 1-1 in Dingwall to Ross County. The result means that if Aberdeen win their game in hand, they will remain two points behind the Hibees.
County took the lead in the match 25 minutes in when a contraversial handball decision by the referee awarded the Staggies a free-kick which in turn was brilliantly dispatched by Ross MacIver.
The Dons equalised just before the interval when Ethan Ross sent a corner kick into the near post which completely wrong-footed County goalkeeper Mark Foden, who could only touch the ball into the back of the net.
Falkirk 1-2 Dundee United
Despite the narrow scoreline Dundee United walked out of their match against Falkirk as comfortable winners, though great credit will go to United centre-back Luc Bollan for a vital block just before half-time.
The Terrors opened the scoring ten minutes after the restart through Jake Davidson, who got a great connection on Logan Chalmers' corner. They doubled their lead shortly after when Luc Bollan headed home an inviting Kieran Inglis cross.
Reis Peggie pulled one back for Falkirk but it was too little, too late for the Bairns as they fell to the bottom of the league.
St Johnstone 3-2 Kilmarnock
St Johnstone ended up on the winning side of a five goal thriller at McDairmid Park as they beat Kilmarnock 3-2 in Perth. The Saints took the lead after just eight minutes when Ally McCann fired home from close range.
Two minutes before half-time they had doubled their lead, when a corner into the box from Kyle McClean was headed in by Jack Wilson. Killie pulled one back on the 72nd minute through a deflected Oliver McDonald free-kick.
Saints restored their two goal advantage 10 minutes later through Cameron Ballantyne, before Killie pulled one back in stoppage time courtesy of a Innes Cameron penalty.
St Mirren 1-0 Partick Thistle
St Mirren had Myles Hippolyte to thank yesterday as his first-half strike was enough to secure the three points for the Paisley side as they edged past Partick Thistle.
The winning goal came two minutes from half-time when Hippolyte picked up on a clearance and then produced a stunning loop over Jamie Stevenson to give the Buddies the lead at the interval.
Partick's best chance of an equaliser came in the 69th minute when a shot from Aiden Fitzpatrick had Chris Henry in the St Mirren goal scrambling, only for the effort to go just wide.
Tuesday, 03 April 2018 15:00

Live stream confirmed for SSS cup final day

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Wednesday 3rd April will see the road to Lesser Hampden reach its finalé as four universities battle it out to be crowned national cup winners. YFS is delighted to work with Scottish Student Sport to live stream both matches. Stay tuned to the SSS social media feeds for a link to the stream, just before kick off. 
Throughout the competitions, we've been producing highlights of a game of the round. Below you can find links to each of the highlights packages.
SSS Queen's Park Shield (Men)
SSS Women's Cup
Last 16
Semi Final
The Scottish Cup semi-finals are set to come to close in the coming weeks and this weekend we move onto the Under 14 age group as Giffnock North BC United and St Andrews BC will battle it out for a place at Airdrie in the Scottish Cup Final.
Both sides will be familiar to each other, with both playing in the Paisley and Johnstone District Youth Football League and with the teams separated by just one place in the table, it looks as though this will be a close match indeed.
Giffnock North have had a good league run so far. They sit in third place in the table, nine points behind leaders St Cadocs in first, crucially with three games in hand to play over the leaders. 
They have performed well in their cup competitions this season also. They are currently in the quarter-finals of the Gilbert Baird Cup where they are due to play against Southside Star and they played well despite being knocked out of the West Region Cup by Glenvale via a penalty shootout.
St Andrews BC have also had a season to be proud of as they sit in fourth place in the PJDYFL table, eight points behind their semi-final opponents on Sunday, though a title challenge may be out of their reach, having to make up a 17 point deficit.
They haven't had the best of luck in their cup competitions and will no doubt be looking to change that this Sunday. They are no longer in the West Region Cup and were knocked out of the Gilbert Baird Cup by their semi-final opponents in a nine goal thriller that finished 5-4. That was one of two games that Giffnock and St Andrews have played against each other this season, the other finishing in a 6-2 win for Giffnock.
Let us now have a look at each sides route to the semis:
Giffnock North BC United
Giffnock began their Scottish Cup journey in the first round with a home tie against fellow PJDYFL Division 1 side Renfrew FC. Renfrew have had a very difficult league campaign this season and find themselves third from bottom. Giffnock's superiority in this match showed as they convincingly booked their place in round two with 7-1 win.
Moving on to round two and next up was another all West Region tie, this time away to a familiar foe in Giffnock SC Blacks. Playing 'away' from home didn't seem to have a large factor in the match and United come through with relative ease, advancing to round three with a resounding 10-0 victory.
What awaited them in round three was potentially their trickiest match to date, as they travelled to Edinburgh to take on SERYFA league leaders Tynecastle FC. After the dust had settled on this seven goal thriller, it was Giffnock who eventually emerged victorious by a 4-3 scoreline and sending a message to the rest of the competition in the process.
The fourth round served up an East Region vs West Region tie as United travelled to Fife to take on Cupar Soccer Sevens. It was the West Region side who would advance and in emphatic fashion, earning their spot in the final 16 with a 10-0 win.
Into the final 16 and another trip to the South East was on the cards as United tok on Penicuik Athletic YFC Blues. It proved to be a simple matter for the PJDYFL side as they strolled into the quarter-finals with a 7-1 triumph.
Another potentially difficult away tie was given to Giffnock as they made the trip to face Glasgow and District title challengers Drumchapel Amateurs. Drumchapel have been on fine form this season and will certainly be a name in the discussion of potential title winners in the Glasgow and District Youth Football League, which makes United 3-0 win all the more impressive.
St Andrews BC
St Andrews got a head start to their campaign, beginning in the second round with a tie against fellow PJDYFL Division 1 team Glenvale. It was a very comnpetitive start to the campaing as the Saints managed to come out on the correct end of a 4-3 result to advance to round three.
Into the third round and an easier tie for St Andrews as they travelled to the capital to play SERYFA Division 2 outfit Edinburgh City. A comfortable victory in the end for the side from Greenock as they moved on to round four with a convincing 4-0 win.
It was Edinburgh based opposition again for St Andrews in round four as they welcomed to Greenock SERYFA Division 2 side Longniddry Villa. A professional performance proved to be the difference here as the Saints boked their place in the round of 16 with a 2-0 victory.
The round of 16 produced a very challenging matchup against Gartcairn Football Academy. Gartcairn currently sit at the summit of the Central Scotland FA table and ran St Andrews very closely indeed, but ultimately came up short, succumbing to a narrow 3-2 defeat.
That result meant that St Andrews were just one match from the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup and they were given another very tough game against Bellshill BC. The Central Region side have not been performing to the best of their abilities in the league but gave St Andrews a very difficult time. The Greenock side had to show great character to win the clash 3-2 and set up Sunday's match against Giffnock.
On the two occasions that these sides have met so far this season, it has been Giffnock who have come out on top, however St Andrews will know that they can run them very close as shown by their narrow cup defeat.
Both games between these two have also been goalfests so we are eagerly awaiting what these two will be able to produce on Sunday. Youth Football Scotland wishes the best of luck to all involved.
It's always an exciting time in Scottish youth football at this stage of the season and semi-final weekends are days that we at Youth Football Scotland always look forward to and this Sunday we are to be treated with another great match-up, this time at Under 17 level as Edinburgh City Whites take on Eask Kilbride FC Blue for a place in the Scottish Cup Final.
Edinburgh City Whites have had a great season so far in the SERYFA Division 1 League and currently sit at the top of the pack, just one point clear of nearest chllengers Hutchison Vale having played one game more.
Their cup competition record has been very solid as well. Despite the disappointment of being knocked out of the South East Region Cup in the second round by Selkirk FC, they are still already in two cup finals in the Tom Wilson Memorial Trophy and the Victor Paris Bathrooms Cup.
East Kilbride FC Blue have enjoyed an equally impressive season so far. The Blues are in second place in the Paisley and Johnstone District Youth Football League, just five points adrift of leaders Giffnock SC United having played two games less.
They still remain in all of their available cup competitions. They are due to play their next match in the West Region Cup against Clydebank United and will compete in the final of the Tom McPhillip Cup, where they will play Giffnock SC United.
Let us now have a look at how each side got this far:
Edinburgh City Whites
Edinburgh City began their Scottish Cup journey in the second round of the tournament and began in emphatic fashion. Their first obstacle was Murieston United CFC Reds but the WLAYFC outfit were not strong enough to repel their SERYFA opponents, eventually losing 9-0.
The third round conjured up a home tie for the Division 1 leaders as they welcomed East Region side AM Soccer Club. This match proved to be extremely challenging for the capital-based side and had to show great determination to advance to the fourth round by just the 1-0 scoreline.
The fourth round proved to be City's toughest match of their cup run as they were drawn up against PJDYFL's third placed team in Division 1, St. Mirren BC. The Whites were pushed all the way and after a 3-3 tie after extra time the match had to be settled by penalties, which Edinburgh won by the skin of their teeth, 5-4.
Next up, in the round of 16, Edinburgh City once again hosted a club from the Eastern Region of Scottish football as they welcomed Dundee-based side East Craigie Swifts. This turned out to be another very closely-contested contest, but City once again showed their quality, overcoming their opponents 2-1 to earn their place in the final eight.
Into the quarter-finals and the capital side were drawn to travel to the Central Region to take on Cumbernauld and Kilsyth League side Drumsagard FAC. This was another match in which City had to be at their absolute best, which proved to be enough to advance to the semi-finals by a scoreline of 3-1, setting up this match on Sunday against EKFC Blues.
East Kilbride FC Blues
Like Edinburgh City, Eask Kilbride began their journey in the second round. Up first for them was fellow PJDYFL Divison 1 side Clydebank United BFC. It was a very entertaining game for the neutrals, though I am sure that the Blues would have liked an easier first match in the tournament. Eventually though they succeeded 3-2 to advance to round three.
An away tie awaited the Blues in round three, though they did not have to travel particularly far as they were to be hosted by fellow Central Region side Rossvle FC. This appeared to be a more strightforward match for EK and they triumphed 4-0 to move on to the round of 32.
Round four happened to be a real test to East Kilbride's character and composure as they were taken to extra time by Gartcairn Football Academy. The Blues had more in the tank than their opponents and eventually secured safe passage into round five with a 4-2 win.
One goal was the difference in the round of 16 tie, as they travelled eastward to play against Hill of Beath Hawthorn. After a tense 90 minutes it took extra time once again for East Kilbride earn their spot, returning home with a 2-1 win and a place in the quarter-finals.
The quarter-finals produced what, on paper, was their toughest game as they were to travel to the capital to play SERYFA Division 1 side Hutchison Vale. Many were expecting a very close tie between the two sides, but EK put in an absolutely outstanding performance to win the match 3-0 and set up their semi-final tie against Edinburgh City Whites.
Both sides have had to show real heart and grit to make it this far into the competition and that makes this match a very difficult one to call. They have both displayed quality on their way to the semi-finals and have proven that they can both hold their nerve in very tense situations and it doesn't get much more tense than a Scottish Cup semi-final.
What it does mean is that we are set to be gifted with a very entertaining cup tie between two teams so close to each other in quality and belief. All that is left to say is good luck to both teams involved.