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Monday, 12 November 2018 13:46

Rangers vs Hibernian U15's - Match Analysis

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Rangers victory in the Under 15s final was deserved, although ultimately a tougher contest than the early exchanges indicated. As initial pressure evaporated, and Hibs found a previously absent cohesion, attrition as much as tactics came to the fore.

Whilst the first half ended goalless, possession and territory were primarily with the Glaswegians. It was control built upon midfield, where they owned superior numbers, shape, and consequently options. Hannah Robinson, Kirsty MacLean and Hannah Jordan rotated around and across the centre, ensuring each ball player had not only support, but choice.   

For Hibs, the formation was stretched. Wide players Lalita Hirani and Mya Bates operated towards the touchline, leaving central midfielders Phoebe Friend and Emma Mitchell against three opponents - four if a striker dropped deep - which tempted them to fall further towards their centre backs.

The midfield and defence were so close, frequently no further than 25 yards from their own goal, which made the defence tighter but possession difficult to hold. Players had to aim long, but Hirani, Bates and Eilidh McEwan were isolated. They offered speed, but beating a team from halfway is a low-percentage game.

Conversely, Rangers could move the ball to their fullbacks, or have advanced players pull wide only when play became too congested in the middle. As long as their defence stayed alert to potential breaks, the best hope for the opening goal was theirs.

It was perhaps a surprise that it took until the second period for that goal to come; that it originated in midfield numbers, however, was not. Winning the ball in the Hibs half, there was an immediate numerical advantage and midfielders to spare. With space into which to progress, Summer Christie’s 20 yard shot into the bottom right corner was certainly the optimum decision.

Hibs equalised swiftly, both in time and style. In many ways, their goal epitomised their earlier play as much as Rangers’ effort had. A long ball finally found success, with speed taking play past the defence. Only Hirani and a single defender were able to keep up, and without sufficient cover the striker was able to cut across her defender to convert the cross.

That goal inspired Hibs, who suddenly succeeded in joining their play with greater consistency. Ella Blamire filled the gap between strikers and the centre, and Hirani and Bates were able to tuck in, receiving and playing balls on the floor. The midfield monopoly cracked, Rangers found themselves struggling, and Hibs’ Friend could outwork her opponents as extra time arrived.

In an effort to reverse the tide, Rangers removed their centre forward, asking Jodi McLeary and Robinson to float in from wide positions. It didn’t appear to be effective, until suddenly it worked in the best fashion possible. McLeary chased and won a ball a long ball, turned in to find Donohoe, and then to the open MacLean, who had made great efforts to catch up with play. They had, in a manner, replicated Hibs’ strike to win the cup.   

Monday, 12 November 2018 12:03

Rangers vs Hibernian U15's - Players of the Match

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Rangers Player of the match - Kirsty Maclean

It was Rangers who lifted the U15s Scottish Womens Youth Cup at Oriam last Saturday. The Glasgow side took all the spoils in a tighly contested game which went all the way to extra time. The game winner was scored by Kirsty Maclean, who overall had an absolutely outstanding game. Besides her goal, the central midfielder stood out, and especially in the latter stages of the game, she showed no signs of fatigue, and continued to dominate the match.

She had seemingly adopted a deep lying playmaker role, sitting deep, and distributing the ball forward. She was not afraid to get stuck in and did brilliantly to stop several break away attempts by the Hibs side and stretching their backline through her excellent distribution.

Everytime she was on the ball, she looked composed and concentrated. It seemed like she could always find a pass no matter how many players were around her. Her ball control was second to none all game. It was as if the ball just stuck to her feet, as it hardly ever got away from her.

The second half was very evenly contested, with Hibs getting back into the game. It was Maclean again, who often calmed the game down, and got her team to keep the ball on the floor, and retain possession.

With the game firmly in the balance at 1-1, extra time was where Maclean really excelled. She was still fighting for every loose ball, every 50/50. Both teams were pushing forward for that winner, but it was Maclean that found it, late into the second half of extra time.

The composure she had displayed throughout the game, was once again the factor in her goal. She latched onto a pass from her team mate inside the box, took one touch, and slotted it away into the right hand side of the sprawling Hibernian goalkeeper.

She didnt let up there either. As the clock ticked on, it was Maclean again who played a brilliant ball over the top of the Hibs defence to Abbie Mackay who had her effort, tipped over the bar by Grace Mitchell in the Hibernian goal.

After the game when asked if her cup winning goal was the most important goal she has ever scored, she replied with a resounding yes.

Overall, the Rangers team had many impressive performers, however it was Kirsty Maclean who caught the eye.

 

Hibernian Player of the Match - Zoe Murray

In what was a very tightly contested game, Hibernian can be very proud of their performance.

All of the Hibernian players put in a brilliant shift, and were unlucky to come away without any silverware. Their defence was solid almost all game, with full back Zoe Murray being the outstanding one from the number four.

With Rangers being the dominant team in the first half she put in a real shift, going in for every tackle and doing well to contain the dangerous Rangers attackers. When the game shifted in the second, she continued to contain, contributing to their excellent defensive effort.

Everytime she was faced up on a one vs one she always knew what to do, not commiting herself and losing her position, but instead concentrating and waiting for the opposition to make a mistake.

Hibernian overall as a team worked really hard, and must be dissapointed that their effort was not rewarded. Ella Biamire was probably the most threatening on the attacking side of things due to her ability to get past her marker.

She set up to Lalita Hirani's opener in the second half. Grace Mitchell, the Hibs goalkeeper, also did well, making some very important saves especially in the second half.

Friday, 09 November 2018 10:44

Preview: SSF Women's Cup 18/19

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With another season of SSF Women’s Cup action about to get underway proper, what better time to catch up on all you need to know, as the journey to next April’s final at Ainslie Park begins?   
 
19 teams began the tournament this year; Glasgow Caledonian 1’s, St. Andrews 3’s and Dundee & Angus 1’s have already fallen.
 
But with most teams entering the tournament at the last 16 stage - and with many of those matches taking place next week – YFS is here to bring you up to speed as we move one step closer to crowning this season’s champions.
 
Stirling are the team they’re all out to beat – they’re looking for a hat-trick of titles after winning the 2017 and 2018 competitions, defeating Edinburgh 2-0 in the last season’s final.
 
And YFS spoke to the head coach of Stirling’s first team, Craig Beveridge, who – despite only taking charge of the squad a little over a month ago – has been with the team at Lesser Hampden each of the past two seasons as they’ve claimed Scottish Cup glory.
 
As he explains, for a team that compete week in and week out against some of Britain’s best student teams in the BUCS Premier North Division, there is always a pressure to perform when they come up against Scottish opposition:
 
“We definitely go into the tournament with ambitions of winning it,” he said. “Because we’ve won it the last two years, I think the girls expect to win it – they know themselves that anything else would be seen as a massive disappointment.”
 
Stirling begin their quest for three in a row at home to Glasgow 2’s – although due to league commitments the fixture date has not yet been confirmed.
 
But Beveridge is looking forward to taking on Scottish opposition, yet knows the team can’t afford to take anyone lightly:
 
“We normally play against the same British teams and they’re quite physical and pose similar threats,” he said. “So it’s good to play against different teams.
 
“We try and get as much information as we can on [Glasgow 2’s] and see how they’re doing in the league and things like that.
 
“Fortunately, the girls are very professional, and they go into every game with the mindset of working as hard as they can and playing as well as they can.”
 
Such is the nature of student football, players graduate and re-building jobs are required on an almost season-by-season basis.
 
However, Beveridge explains, Stirling go into the cup this year with a strong core of players who know what it’s like to win the trophy.
 
He said: “We have seven or eight regular starters that were with us last year, so some of them have been here before.
 
“A couple, such as our captain Chloe Logan who’s been here for four or five years now, have seen and done it all.”
 
Glasgow 2’s will come into the match as underdogs, but they’ve already defeated Glasgow Caledonian 1’s 2-0 in this competition and will be hopeful of causing a major upset against a side three divisions above them.
 
Stirling’s second team are also in action; they travel to Abertay to take on their first team in a match of teams in contrasting form.
 
Abertay currently sit rock bottom of Division 1A with six defeats from six, whereas Stirling are flying high in Division 2A with three wins from three – a run that includes a remarkable 7-6 victory over Dundee 1’s.
 
One of the more intriguing ties of the last 16 will see an Edinburgh 3’s side that won 4-2 against St. Andrews 3’s in the last round take on Edinburgh’s first team.
 
The 1’s currently sit top of Division 1A and are fresh from a 6-0 victory over Edinburgh 2’s, so it’ll be tough for the Division 3A third team to impact the game, but it’ll be interesting to see how they equip themselves against their university’s top players – and the side that Stirling defeated in the final last season.
 
St. Andrews 2’s reward for defeating Dundee & Angus College in the first round is an away trip to Glasgow to take on their first team.
 
St. Andrews 2’s are another side with a 100% league record; they’ve won all three of their Division 3A matches this season, so they’ve every reason to go into the match full of confidence, but they’ll be up against a Glasgow side currently sitting second in Division 1A on goal difference and looking to bounce back from their first defeat of the season - to St. Andrews first team – when they meet next week.
 
St. Andrews 1’s 2-1 victory over Glasgow moved them level on points with their opponents and Edinburgh 1’s at the top of the league, and they’ll be looking to continue building momentum when they host Heriot-Watt 1’s next week.
 
The Watt head to Fife looking for their first win of the season – they’re currently rooted to the bottom of Division 2A.
 
Robert Gordon 1’s welcome Strathclyde 1’s in a battle of Division 2A teams.
 
RGU got the better of Strathclyde when they met in the league at the end of October – 5-0 in Aberdeen – and are narrowly ahead of Strathclyde in the league, so will go into the game as favourites.
 
Also up north next week, Aberdeen 1’s host Edinburgh Napier 1’s.
 
It’s been a mixed bag in the league for both sides; Napier have six points from four games this season, whilst Aberdeen have six points from six games – although they are playing in a higher division than their visitors.
 
The final game from the round of 16 sees an Edinburgh 2’s side with one win from their first six league games take on Dundee 1’s in the capital next week.
 
The away team also only have one league win to their name this season and will be hoping to cause an upset against their Division 1A opponents.
 
 
FULL DRAW
 
Stirling 1  v  Glasgow 2
 
Robert Gordon 1  v  Strathclyde 1
 
Edinburgh 2 v  Dundee 1
 
St Andrews 1  v  Heriot-Watt 1
 
Abertay 1  v  Stirling 2
 
Glasgow 1  v  St Andrews 2
 
Aberdeen 1  v  Edinburgh Napier 2
 
Edinburgh 1  v  Edinburgh 3
 
 
 
Friday, 09 November 2018 09:57

SWF U17s Scottish Cup: Glasgow City Preview

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Glasgow City head coach Craig Joyce believes it is testament to his players that they have made it to this weekend’s U17 SWF Youth Cup final at Oriam.
 
City have had to overcome three massive tests in order to set up this Saturday’s meeting with Dryburgh Athletic, and Joyce believes the squads work ethic has been key to their success this competition:
 
“They’re in four nights a week, which is a lot to ask any young player,” he said. “To turn up, be consistent and work hard – they do it.
 
“It’s not been done overnight; the quality has been built up over five or six years - the way they move the ball and the work they do off it is testament to their character and the effort they put in.
 
“The person comes before the player for us at City.
 
“I think sometimes that message can get lost in football, but hard work and work rate come before everything and these girls have that in abundance.
 
City have conquered Celtic, Rangers and Hibs en route to the final, scoring nine goals and conceding just one.
 
And Joyce couldn’t be happier with the way his team have played:
 
He said: “We’ve been up against basically all our rivals – if you want to put it that way – so we’re chuffed to have come through them and make it to the final.
 
“We knew the threat Hibs would bring to the party; they’re a very, very good side.
 
“I thought on the day the players were excellent; the way they moved the ball, the way they fought to win it back; the way they worked as a team – they executed everything we set out for them.”
 
But despite that emphatic 4-0 semi-final victory at Ravenscraig in September, it’s the second-round performance against Celtic that stands out for Joyce:
 
“I can’t highlight any individual, because they were all fantastic,” he said. “But if the team don’t come together and push on in the second half and show the quality they’ve got then we don’t make the quarter-final.”
 
In Dryburgh, City are up against a team that has been scoring for fun in this competition, and know they’ll have the quality to punish them if they do not turn up on Saturday:
 
“Dryburgh are a very good side,” said Joyce. “They’re quick in attack, physical, they work to their own advantages and we saw in that semi-final against Murieston that they’re pretty ruthless in front of goal when they got their chances.
 
“We need to move the ball quickly and take our chances when they come, as we did in the Hibs game.”
 
 
 
 
Dryburgh Athletic “deserve to be on this stage” as they prepare to meet Glasgow City in the SWF U17 Youth Cup Final at Oriam this Saturday.
 
That’s according to John Beatt, club chairman and U17’s manager, who can’t praise his team enough for their efforts this year.
 
The majority of the side have just made the move up from U15s and have enjoyed a fantastic season; they won the North East League Cup back in August and finished second in the North East League.
 
And Beatt believes the success they’ve achieved is testament to the players:
 
“From a coaching perspective, the girls have been first class all season,” he said. “They have worked so well together, and this really shows in the performances and results throughout the year.
 
“The girls have played some lovely football on the way to the final, scoring some fantastic goals.
 
“It’s been a joy to watch at times and they’ve certainly kept the supporters happy.”
 
No wonder.
 
Dryburgh have been free-scoring on their march to their first ever Youth Cup Final; they put ten past Montrose in the first round; three past South East League Cup winners, Broxburn Athletic Colts, in the second round; nine past Raith Rovers in the quarter-final and three past SE Joelle Murray league champions Murieston United in the semi-final.
 
And it’s that semi-final performance that Beatt has particularly fond memories of.
 
He said: “Showing the character to come from a goal down against Murieston and go on to win the game was fantastic.
 
“Murieston are a quality side and to win in the manner we did was a definite highlight.
 
“That was our first appearance in the semi’s, so we just tried to approach it like any other game and keep the girls’ feet on the ground.
 
“That approach worked really well during the game, but everyone was thoroughly enjoying the occasion during the celebrations.”
 
With the anticipation to Saturday building, excitement levels throughout the club are growing, but they know if they’re anything less than their best then a strong Glasgow City will punish them:
 
“The girls are really looking forward to Saturday,” Beatt said. “They’ve been working hard to prepare and are sure to be in good form on and off the park this weekend.
 
“We’ve got two bus loads heading to Edinburgh and numerous car loads too, so Oriam should be maroon and blue come 4pm.
 
“Days like this don’t come around very often, so we’re going to enjoy every moment.
 
“To meet a side the calibre of Glasgow City is exciting and we will have to be on the top of our game to compete, that’s for sure.”
 
 
Thursday, 08 November 2018 16:17

SWF Youth Cup 2018 - Match Centre

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On 10th November 2018 six teams from six clubs will descend on Oriam National Performance Centre in Edinburgh. Donside Juveniles, Musselburgh Windsor and Dryburgh Athletic aim to win the first SWF Youth Cup in each of their clubs' history. Hibernian, Rangers and Glasgow City look to continue their clubs' fine tradition in this competition. 
 
YFS will cover the matches with video, photography, match reports and analysis. You can find links to all of the coverage below.
 
Match DVDs
 
The match DVDs contain the full match, presentation ceremony and post-match interviews. You can order yours below:

Quantity
Your Team


Donside Juveniles v Musselburgh Windsor U13 Girls

Donside Preview | Musselburgh Preview | Match Report | Photo Gallery | Match Analysis | Players of the Match | Cup Lift | Video Clip of the Game
 
Hibernian FC v Rangers FC U15 Girls
 
 
Dryburgh Athletic v Glasgow City U17 Girls

Dryburgh Preview | City Preview | Match Report | Photo Gallery | Match Analysis | Players of the Match | Cup Lift | Video Clip of the Game
 
 
 
 
Thursday, 08 November 2018 10:29

SWF U15s Scottish Cup Final: Rangers Preview

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Rangers head coach Jordan Boyd is hopeful his side can stake their claim to being the best team in Scotland when they take on Hibs in this Saturday’s SWF U15 Youth Cup Final at Oriam:
 
“I’ve been telling this squad they are the best team in the country for about three years now,” he told YFS. “[Before the final] I’ll be telling them that this is their opportunity to prove it.”
 
They’ve already defeated a string of top teams to make it to this stage; impressive victories over Aberdeen, Hamilton, Central Girls, and Glasgow City were all topped by a fantastic 3-2 victory over rivals Celtic in the semi-final.
 
So, if they can overcome Hibs, you’d be hard-pressed to argue with Boyd’s belief in his side:
 
“We couldn’t have got a much more difficult run of games to the final,” he said. “We have had to overcome three of the top four Performance League teams and an Aberdeen side who would not have looked out of place in the later rounds of the competition.
 
“As a team, I don’t think we’ve played our best football in the cup, but a highlight for me has been watching the girls discover one of the most important attributes for when you play for this club: to play for Rangers you must find a way to win.”
 
In particular, Boyd credits the victory over Celtic in the semi-final to his sides attitude and desire.
 
He said: “It was a great game of football.
 
“The character the girls showed was the most pleasing part for me – despite having a mass of injuries and unavailable players we were able to get a result on the day.
 
“I’ve worked with them for a long time now and it’s been great to see them develop both as football players and young people.”
 
The only team standing between Rangers and Scottish Cup glory is a Hibs side competing at the top end of the National Performance League, and Boyd has no doubt it will be another stern test for his team.
 
He said: “I’ve watched Hibs a few times now, I think they play a really good style of football; they keep the ball well and have players in forward areas that can be a threat.
 
“We’re looking forward to testing ourselves against a strong Hibs side and are confident that if we manage our emotions and play to the levels we’re capable of then we can win the game.”
 
As has become tradition on SWF Youth Cup Final Day, the crowds will be there in numbers and the atmosphere will be electric – and the Rangers support will be no different.
 
“I reckon we’re going to have a big turnout,” Boyd said. “I think some of the parents are potentially more excited than the girls, and the younger age groups will be out in force.
 
“It’s a great experience for the girls to get to play in front of bigger crowds and on these sort of occasions sometimes a big support can get you over the line.”
 
 
Thursday, 08 November 2018 10:08

SWF U15s Scottish Cup Final: Hibernian Preview

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As Hibs prepare to take on Rangers in the SWF U15s Youth Scottish Cup Final this Saturday, coaches Garry Darling and Sarah Archibald spoke to YFS about the journey to Oriam and what their team will need to do to get the better of their Glasgow opponents on the day.
 
Hibs began the tournament in May with a 3-0 victory over Lanarkshire Hibs:
 
“My favourite moment of our cup run was the victory over Lanarkshire Hibs,” said Darling. “Given the connection between the clubs we put in a cracking performance to win comfortably, but there was a bit of pressure on the girls and they handled it brilliantly.”
 
Since then, they have only gone from strength-to-strength in the competition; a bye past Drumchapel United was followed by another convincing win, this time against Deveronvale Girls:
 
“Our quarter-final win against Deveronvale would be my highlight,” revealed Archibald. “We were unfortunately without our keeper that game which was a real challenge.
 
“Deveronvale were a physical side but we managed the game really well and scored three excellent goals – and you can’t grumble with a clean sheet either.”
 
In fact, it wouldn’t be until the second half of the semi-final with Kilmarnock that Hibs would finally concede a Scottish Cup goal – but by that time they were already out of sight of the Ayrshire side and ended up winning the game 5-1.
 
Darling said: “The semi-final was a tremendous first-half performance from us.
 
“Leading 4-0 at half-time, it was just a case of managing the second half and we did that brilliantly.”
 
Archibald added: “I was delighted with the way we played; we moved the ball really well and with purpose.
 
“We had some great finishes for our goals and I feel like we thoroughly deserved to win in the manner we did.”
 
And now, only a few days away from the big match with Rangers, both coaches admit that cup final fever is starting to grip the squad:
 
“We had a training session [the other night] and you can feel the excitement – and maybe some anxiety – creeping in amongst the girls,” said Darling.
 
Archibald said: “Who doesn’t relish playing in a Scottish Cup Final and being part of that occasion?
 
“There’s a real buzz about the squad and that’s important in the lead up to Saturday.”
 
It will be a tough game; in Rangers, they’ll be up against the side who defeated National Performance League Champions, Celtic, in their semi-final and who have knocked out the likes of Central Girls and Glasgow City on their path to Oriam:
 
“There’s no doubt Rangers have some excellent players,” said Archibald. “They’ll pose a different challenge to us in their physicality through playing in a boys’ league.
 
“We will have to match that and more to come away with the win, but I do feel that if we can focus on playing to our own strengths and capabilities then there’s no reason why we can’t secure a consecutive Scottish Cup win.”
 
All the teams competing at Oriam this Saturday are expecting the backing of a large and loud crowd, and Hibs are no different – with both coaches agreeing that the crowd support could be a difference maker on the day:
 
“We’re hoping to have a good few supporters there,” said Darling. “The backing they give to the girls will be very important.”
 
Archibald added: “Our players parents are always out in force, and I’m hopeful there will be a good turn out in support from other academy players and coaches.
 
“Like in any sport, those who turn out to support you can often give you that last push to get on and win when you need it in big games like these – and I’m sure the Hibs support will do the same for us.”
 
And what is the last message they’ll give to the team before they step out in front of a big crowd on the big occasion?
 
For Darling, it’s simple.
 
He said: “I want the girls to go out and enjoy it and not sit with any regrets after the game.”
 
 
Wednesday, 07 November 2018 15:13

Preview: Queen's Park Shield 18/19

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Who will be holding the Queen’s Park Shield aloft next April?
 
That’s the question on everyone’s lips as Scottish Student Football prepares to welcome back one of its most sought-after honours.
 
And with the road to the final at Ainslie Park on April 3rd beginning next week, YFS is on hand with everything you need to know before the round of 16 gets underway.
 
With almost 100 years of history, this is the prize everyone in student football is desperate to get their hands on.
 
And to see how much it means to those involved, you need look no further than the St. Andrews team that won the tournament earlier this year - their first victory since 1943:
 
“It was a massive achievement to finally win it,” Stuart Milne, Director of Football at St. Andrews, told YFS. “Not just for the football programme, but for the university as a whole.
 
“There’s been a lot of money invested in sport at St. Andrews over the last ten years, so it was great for raising awareness of what it’s like here.
 
“Hopefully we won’t have to wait 75 years to win it again.”
 
St. Andrews begin their defence of the Shield at home to Edinburgh Napier but will be doing so without many of the players that led them to glory last season; of the 16 in the squad back in April, only six remain with the university:
 
“It’s a new team, so we don’t want them carrying any expectation,” said Milne. “We’re relying on some of the guys who played in the final that are still with us to make the younger players aware of what the game is and what it means to the university – but without putting too much pressure on them.
 
“We know the game in a couple of weeks will be a tough one; we played Napier recently in a league game and were able to beat them, but it will be very tough.”
 
Upon its inception back in 1921, the tournament was competed for by Scotland’s four ancient universities – Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and St. Andrews - but has since expanded and is now competed for by the country’s top university teams.
 
And in recent years, it’s been Stirling that have laid down a marker in the competition: they’ve won six of the last ten tournaments – most recently in 2017.
 
As first team captain Lewis Hunter explains, success means a pressure to do well:
 
“I think there is an expectation on us to go and win the trophy,” he said. “I would say we’re probably the favourites every year to win it and if we don’t it’s probably seen as a failure – if you want to put it that way.”
 
Stirling - who spend the season competing against some of the best of Britain in the BUCS Premier North Division - begin their attempts to reclaim the Shield at home to Edinburgh College.
 
Hunter said: “We’ll be expected to beat them but it’ll be tough.
 
“I think they’ll set up to defend and it’ll be our job to break them down, but hopefully we can get a win and move into the next round.”
 
Elsewhere in the last 16, 2018’s beaten finalists Strathclyde face a tough test at home to BUCS Division 2A rivals Dundee.
 
Dundee, who were promoted from Division 3A last season, narrowly lost at Strathclyde 2-1 in a league match at the end of October, but captain Steven Roberts is hoping for a different result this time out:
 
“They are a good team, but we showed recently that we can match them,” he said. “It will be tough of course; we just need everyone to be up for it and win our individual battles all over the pitch and take our chances when they come.
 
“There is a real belief about the squad this season that we can beat anyone, we feel in the games that we have lost luck wasn't on our side so hopefully that begins to change soon.”
 
Edinburgh – the most successful team in QPS history – begin their quest for a first title since 2015 at home to Queen Margaret.
 
The visitors are flying high in Division 5B but face a tough test against an Edinburgh side six divisions above them.
 
Glasgow Caledonian University make the daunting trip north to take on the reigning British Cup Champions and the team currently sitting top of Division 1A, Robert Gordon University.
 
RGU defeated Bournemouth University 4-1 in March's BUCS Trophy final, and are keen to add a first Queen’s Park Shield victory to their list of accomplishments.
 
Stuart Alexander, club President and captain of the first team, said: “The Queen’s Park Shield is an extremely prestigious title to carry for any University within Scotland, and we look forward to the opportunity to compete against other top universities and hopefully go on a successful cup journey.
 
“The new additions to our team this year have taken the challenge of Division 1A in stride, and we’ve gained some exceptional talent that has strengthened the squad.
 
“[Against GCU] If we turn up on the day, I am confident that our talent within the team will be able to produce a positive performance.”
 
Meanwhile, Heriott-Watt – who won the Shield five years in a row between 2004 and 2008 – have had an indifferent start to the season in Division 1A, but will fancy themselves at home to a West of Scotland side playing two divisions below them.
 
The draw has also thrown up a battle of two Dundee based sides as Abertay host Dundee & Angus College.
 
The home side, who play in Division 1A, will be looking to improve on last season’s round of 16 exit when they welcome their city rivals.
 
Finally, in what may be the tie of the first round, two of the original four QPS competitors - and the first two sides to ever get their hands on the Shield - go head-to-head as Aberdeen travel south to take on Glasgow.
 
Aberdeen will be looking to improve on last years performance where they were knocked out in the semi-finals by eventual winners St. Andrews, whilst Glasgow will hope to make it further than the quarter-finals this year.
 
As Aberdeen were a late addition to the draw, a date for this fixture has yet to be finalised.
 
FULL DRAW
 
Stirling v Edinburgh College  
St Andrews v Edinburgh Napier
Abertay v D&A
Robert Gordon v Glasgow Caledonian  
Strathclyde v Dundee
Glasgow v Aberdeen
Heriot-Watt v West of Scotland 
Edinburgh v Queen Margaret
 
 
 
 
A “resilient” Musselburgh Windsor side can’t wait to test themselves against Donside Girls in the SWF U13s Youth Scottish Cup Final.
 
Musselburgh edged past Kilmarnock Blues on penalties in the semi-final back in September to set up the meeting with the Aberdeenshire side at Oriam this Saturday.
 
And coach Michael Windram knows it will be a fantastic occasion:
 
“It’s great for two smaller, community clubs to have reached this stage,” he said. “There’s a huge mutual respect between us and our girls are thoroughly looking forward to playing them.”
 
It’s been an exciting road to the final for a Musselburgh side that reached the last 16 in 2017 and were keen to improve on that in this year’s tournament; impressive early round victories against Queen of the South Whites, Dryburgh Girls, Inverkeithing Hillfield Strollers, Celtic and Boroughmuir Thistle Purples saw them notch up over 40 goals.
 
But it was a far nervier affair when they met Kilmarnock Blues at Toryglen in the semi-final, with the team displaying a steel and ability to dig in that’s crucial for any successful team:
 
“To be honest I think in the first half Kilmarnock were the much better side, but we kept ourselves in the game,” Windram admitted. “At half time I think the girls relaxed and started playing better football.
 
“When it came to the shoot-out, I don’t think the girl that took the last penalty realised that if she scored we were through, which helped because it took the pressure off.
 
“But it was a nerve-wracking experience – probably even more so for the parents.”
 
Getting over the line against Kilmarnock is indicative of the strength of character Musselburgh have throughout the squad and is a huge factor in their success this season:
 
“There’s a strong core to these girls,” Windram said. “The word for us all season has been resilience, and they’ve shown that time and time again.
 
“Regardless of whether we’re winning, drawing or getting beat, the willingness to step up and be counted is something each and every one of them has.”
 
They’ll need that character to be on full display this Saturday; in Donside they’re up against a team that has looked equally as impressive en route to the final, and Windram knows his side will need to be at their best if they’re going to head home with the trophy:
 
“Obviously, if we play to our potential then we have every chance,” he said. “We’ve watched bits and pieces of Donside highlights and they’re an excellent team, so it should make for an exciting final.
 
“Our girls need to relax and enjoy it first and foremost, and from there the result will come for us.” 
 
Whilst the result isn’t guaranteed, what we do know for sure is that Musselburgh will be backed by a large support; Windram explains how his sides cup run has captured the imagination of the town.
 
He said: “I suspect there will be between 100 and 200 Musselburgh Windsor fans there on the day.
 
“It’s massive for the club, but the town and local media like the Musselburgh Courier have picked up on the story as well.
 
“It’s just such a big thing for our club to be involved in something like this.”