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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.
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.”
Wednesday, 07 November 2018 09:10

SWF U13s Scottish Cup Final: Donside Girls Preview

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Donside Girls are under “no illusions”, and know they’ll have to play to the “best of our ability” to win this weekend’s SWF U13s Youth Scottish Cup Final, according to coach Neil Daniel.
The Aberdeenshire side arrive at Oriam having scored 40 goals in six matches en route to the final, but in Musselburgh Windsor they’ll be coming up against a team that’s scored 44 goals this campaign.
“They’re a very strong team and we just need to play to the best of our ability,” said Daniel. “All we can do is concentrate on our own game.”
It’s been a fantastic run to the final for Donside; victories over Colony Park, EKFC Girls, Ayr United, Hearts Development and Central Girls Legends were topped by a hard-fought 4-3 semi-final win over Kilmarnock Whites at Toryglen at the end of September:
“Honestly, it was a very tough match to be involved in, because Kilmarnock are a very physical side,” Daniel admitted. “For the players to come through it is testament to their character.
“We’re probably not used to being involved in games like that, so we were delighted to come through a very, very tough tie.”
Conquering Killie means another long journey for Donside – who have by far the furthest to travel of any of the six teams competing at Oriam this Saturday – but Daniel doesn’t feel like the early start and miles on the road will negatively impact his team’s chances this weekend:
“I think playing away from home is a fantastic experience for the players,” he said. “A lot of comradery is created travelling down together and going back up regardless of the result, so I think it’s been great.
“At the start of the competition we genuinely didn’t set goals of reaching the final; the target was one home tie and one away match just to give the girls a footballing experience of travelling together and playing a team from a different region, but we’re elated to get here.
“The one negative of having to travel is that not everybody that would normally come to see us will be there because of the journey, but we’ll still have a good support and I’m sure they’ll be in fine voice.”
And this is truly a team worth backing. In both league and cup competition they’ve been a free-scoring and exciting team to watch, something Daniel believes is down to the players attitude:
“When it’s time for a training session everybody wants to be there, which is a sign of their commitment, how close they are as a group and how much that want to play football, it’s brilliant.
“Scoring lots of goals has just been a bonus because we concentrate on doing the hard work, it’s been great to watch.”
They’ll be up against a strong Musselburgh side who Daniel reveals they have nothing but respect for.
He said: “I made a point of talking to their coach and some of the Musselburgh parents.
“They’re a community club as well, and there’s nothing but positivity from us for what they’ve done and what they’re doing.
“We’re really looking forward to meeting them in the final.”
But although the match will be played in good spirit, it is still a national final and the stakes are high:
“I think the most important thing for the players will be to not let the occasion get to them,” said Daniel. “We need to try and play with a smile on our face because that’s what we’ve done all the way through this competition.
“We want to try and keep the pressure away from the players and tell them to go and enjoy the moment and enjoy playing football – which is what they do best.”
The third round of the U21's Scottish Youth FA Cup has been drawn at Hampden Park
All teams will be looking to replicate the feats of last year's U21 Scottish Cup winners Tower Hearts, who put in a fantastic performance to see off Arthurlie Juniors and lift the prestigious trophy.
The full draw is as follows:

Vale of Leven vs Johnstone Burgh

Rutherglen Glencairn vs Campsie FC

Arthurlie Juniors vs Shettleston Juniors

Steins Thistle vs Kirkintilloch Rob Roy

Rossvale vs Harmony Row

Greenock High School vs Renfrew FC Blue

Gartcairn FA vs Barrhead YFC

KSC Kilwinning Rangers vs Eastwood Juveniles


All ties will be played in November. Good luck to all teams involved!

The draw for the fourth round of the U19's Scottish Youth FA Cup has been made at Hampden Park.
All teams involved will surely have been looking on with interest after a terrific weekend of football saw them advance to the draw earlier this afternoon.
The U19's draw has certainly brought up some very interesting ties. There is one tie in the fourth round which is yet to be confirmed as the winners of the third round tie between Glenburn MW and Glenrothes Athletic will take on the winners of the tie between Gleniffer Thistle and Hurlford. Champions EKFC Blues host Edinburgh side Spartans FC Reds.
The full draw is as follows:

Vale of Leven vs Musselburgh Windsor

Colony Colts vs Arthurlie Cantera

St Andrews BC vs Cumbernauld Colts FC Blues

Thornton Hibs vs Larkhall Thistle

Broxburn Athletic Colts vs Port Glasgow BC

Armadale Calcio vs Harmony Row

Glenburn MW or Glenrothes Athletic vs Gleniffer Thistle or Hurlford

Syngenta Juveniles vs Calderbraes FC Colts

Musselburgh Youngstars vs Kirkintilloch Rob Roy

Milton Rovers vs Giffnock SC United

YFFC Jerviston vs Cambuslang FA

West Park United vs Longniddry Villa

EKFC Blues vs Spartans FC Youth Reds

Spartans FC Youth vs Irvine United

Auchinleck Talbot vs Rutherglen Glencairn

Sunnybank Elite vs Edinburgh City Black

All ties will be played on the weekend of the 17/18th November. Good luck to all teams involved!
The draw for the fourth round of the U17's Scottish Youth FA Cup has been made at Hampden Park.
All teams involved will surely have been looking on with interest after a terrific weekend of football saw them advance to the draw earlier this afternoon.
The U17's draw has certainly brought up some very interesting ties. Champions Glenvale make the journey to face Rossvale FC Thistle while last season's beaten finalists Spartans FC Youth have a difficult match ahead of them as they welcome Fairmuir BC. Valleyfield's reward for their inspired display against Hutchison Vale is a home tie against Lewis United Rangers.
The full draw is as follows:

Rothes Juniors vs Tynecastle FC

Harmony Row vs Blantyre SA Black

Spartans FC Youth vs Fairmuir BC

Kemnay FC vs FC Coasters

Milton vs Banks O’Dee Albion

Dryburgh Athletic vs Cumbernauld Colts

Third Lanark vs AM Soccer Club

Valleyfield vs Lewis United Rangers

Middlefield Wasps vs EKFC Blue

Lenzie vs Ferry Athletic

Glenrothes Strollers vs Mossend FC

Kilsyth CFC vs Colony Park

St Andrews BC Reds or Blantyre SA Gold vs Kilsyth Athletic

Rossvale FC Thistle vs Glenvale AFC

Bonnyrigg Rose FC vs Erskine YFC Athletic

Prestwick Community vs Jerviston FC Blue

All ties will be played on the weekend of the 17/18th November. Good luck to all teams involved!
The draw for the fourth round of the Scottish Youth FA Cup has been made at Hampden Park.
All teams involved will surely have been looking on with interest after a terrific weekend of football saw them advance to the draw earlier this afternoon.
The U16's draw has certainly brought up some very interesting ties. Dundee West will have to wait to see who they face as they will host the winner of the tie between Johnstone Burgh and Edinburgh City Blacks and Pollok have a long trip head of them as they travel to Deveronvale. Kelty Hearts CC could face a visit from champions Longniddry Villa, but the Edinburgh side will have to get through Milton Reds first.
The full draw is as follows:

Bellfield Royals vs Accies BC

Kennoway Star Hearts vs Glenburn MWFC

Dundee West vs Johnstone Burgh or Edinburgh City Blacks

Tynecastle FC vs Cumbernauld Colts

Finnart BC vs Broomhill SC

Real Fife or Rowallan SC or Dalrymple Thistle vs Salvesen CFC

Heston Rovers vs Barrhead YFC

Jerviston FC vs Giffnock SC P&J

Airdrie United or Fraserburgh Link Up vs Milton

Deveronvale vs Pollok FC

Pitfour FC vs Holytown Colts

Leith Athletic vs Clyde SOF

Port Glasgow Juniors SC Reds vs Falkirk FCF

Milton Rovers vs CBC Hilton

Kelty Hearts CC vs Milton Reds or Longniddry Villa

Oban Saints vs Dalziel BC

All ties will be played on the weekend of the 17/18th November. Good luck to all teams involved!
The draw for the fourth round of the U15's Scottish Youth FA Cup has been made at Hampden Park.
All teams involved will surely have been looking on with interest after a terrific weekend of football saw them advance to the draw earlier this afternoon.
The U13's draw has certainly brought up some very interesting ties. Syngenta Juveniles, who came through a tough tie against Dunbar United Colts, will host St Peters FC. ML4 United will make the trip north to take on Banks O'Dee Albion and Hutchison Vale travel to Dundee to take on Dundee Celtic Boys.
The full draw is as follows:

Shettleston Juniors vs St Cadocs YC Saints

Dundee Celtic Boys vs Hutchison Vale

Westdyke CC vs Kilsyth Athletic

Tass Thistle vs Dean Thistle

Dyce BC vs Mill Utd or Leith Athletic

St Bernards BC Midlothian vs Glenvale AFC

Burntisland Shipyard vs Cumbernauld Colts

Giffnock North BC United vs Tynecastle FC

AFC Glasgow vs Peterhead BC

Banks O’Dee Albion vs ML4 United

Palace Park Unity vs Hampden Weir Recreation

Forfar BC vs Holytown Colts

Maddison FC vs Stirling Albion JA

St Patricks Sports Academy vs East Craigie Swifts

Blantyre SA vs Musselburgh Windsor

Syngenta Juveniles vs St Peters FC

All ties will be played on the weekend of the 17/18th November. Good luck to all teams involved!

The draw for the fourth round of the U14's Scottish Youth FA Cup has been made at Hampden Park.

All teams involved will surely have been looking on with interest after a terrific weekend of football saw them advance to the draw earlier this afternoon.

The fourth round will see many interesting ties. Kelso FC have a lot of travelling on their hands as they make the 376 mile round trip to face Colony Colts in Inverurie. Champions Hutchison Vale will also make the trip northward to take on Sunnybank Elite and finalists Cove will host Dundee-based side Riverside CSC.

The full draw is as follows:


Eddlewood BC vs Crosshouse BC

Glenbrae Colts vs Deveronvale

Colony Colts vs Kelso FC

Erskine YFC vs Bonnyton Thistle

Rossvale FC vs Aston Villa CFC

Cambusnethen Talbot vs Glasgow Boys FC

Holytown Colts vs The Nith United

Cove BC vs Riverside CSC

Knightswood FC vs Rosyth FC

Galston YFC vs Heston Rovers Colts

Braehead FC vs Donside Juveniles

Banks O’Dee Albion vs Lasswade Thistle

Ellon Meadows vs Scotland BC Purple

Bayside FC Athletic vs Lewis United Youth

Kerse United vs Glenburn MWFC

Westerton United vs Gairdoch United FC

Drumchapel United vs Dumbarton United

Sunnybank Elite vs Hutchison Vale

Fairmuir BC vs Armadale CFC Blue

Glenrothes Strollers vs Giffnock North P&J

Drumsagard FA Blue vs Milton or Ardrossan Winton Rovers

Falkirk FCF (CSFDA) vs Dunbeth

Dunbar Colts vs Kirkshaws Colts Blacks

Longniddry Villa vs Stewarton Annick

Glenrothes Athletic vs Dunblane SC

Lochend FA vs Larkhall Thistle

Tynecastle FC vs Ashfield Juniors Whites

Clydebank FC vs Portobello CFA

Giffnock SC vs Grassroots Development Coaching

Largs Colts or Broxburn Athletic Colts vs Dundee West

Kilsyth Athletic vs Kildrum United

Hampden Weir Recreation Amateurs vs Cambuslang FA


All ties will be played on the weekend of the 17/18th November. Good luck to all teams involved!