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Camelon Juniors' Under 20's Development squad has earned Club Academy Scotland status after a recent audit. The accreditation makes Juniors' only the second side outside the SPFL, along with Spartans, to achieve this status.
Club Academy Scotland is Scottish FA's structure that defines, operates and partially funds the Academy system in Scotland and governs the development of players from the ages of 11 to 18.
The club has been working towards this for the past 18 months when secretary Allan Morrison began helping the club work towards their goal.
In a statement on their website, Camelon Juniors said, "CJFC have taken time to build the U20's Development Squad over the last 18 months to become one of the best local development teams in the area.
"This is a squad where boys can come to further their footballing opportunities under the umbrella of the Lowland and East of Scotland Football Associations.  The CAS Lite endorsement goes a long way to establishing the criteria that the Club will follow to ensure that any player coming through our player pathway to U20's development level are nurtured to move into adult football.
"Over the next two to three years, we have some fantastic young players in our other Academy teams that will get to play at the standard the U20's provide competitively, to continue their pathway within a development environment.
"Camelon U20's will always try to improve and provide a strong development pathway for what is currently one of the youngest U20's teams in the league set-up."
Coach Thomas Brighton reckons his young Syngenta Juveniles team will learn a lot from their trip to the UK International Cup next year.
The 2011 squad are off to St George’s Park at the start of May, where they’ll be part of a 100-team tournament vying to be crowned UK International Cup champions.
And Brighton believes it’s an invaluable opportunity for his side: “The boys are all excited to attend the tournament and are looking forward to playing against teams from different cultures and backgrounds from all over Britain and Europe,” he said. “We believe it will be a good chance for our boys to gain valuable life experience, whilst playing football in a challenging environment and at a well-established venue.”
Syngenta are a team that have taken part in plenty of competitions in Scotland and are looking forward to meeting the challenge that awaits them down south. As Brighton explains, the number of matches in a short period of time and the unknown opposition they’ll be up against could test the squad:
“As a team we have experienced many tournaments, although predominantly at locations in close proximity to where we are based. This will be the first tournament where we will have lots of matches spread over two days and it may prove extra challenging for the boys.
“By coming up against different teams with different coaching styles this will be a challenge for both the boys and coaches.
“All of these challenges will help to assist with our ongoing development.”
And it’s not just the boys who’ll take a lot from the experience; travelling down to the state-of-the-art St George’s Park facilities - which features 12 world-class training pitches and plays host to all 28 England international teams - is something even the adults are excited for. Brighton said:
“Us coaches are looking forward to being a small part of the UK Cup 2020 and having the chance to play at and visit a great footballing theatre with lots of other football minded people.”
Syngenta are a club used to success. In fact, at the Easter tournaments this year their 2004 side returned from Holland victorious.
Can the 2011 side emulate their achievement? Brighton is just hopeful his side enjoy the experience:
“In regard to how we do in the tournament our primary goal is to enjoy ourselves,” he said. “To play with a smile on our faces; be respectful to all other players, coaches and watching family members; and to try and play football in the correct manner.
“Regarding winning the tournament – we’re from Scotland, so we’re just happy to have made it to a major tournament for once!”
If your side fancies joining Syngenta at the UK International Cup next year, then visit https://www.eurotournaments.co.uk/uk for more information and details on how to get involved.
Friday, 28 June 2019 12:05

New Club "LK Galaxy FC" officially launched

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June saw the launch of a new Grangemouth based grassroots sports club, LK Galaxy, a club that will look to combine the professionalism of the past and the contemporary values needed for the future. 

The club was formed by a set of administrators and coaches who have over 25 years’ experience running and coaching in both the grassroots and professional game. 

With a new modern constitution which places the focus will be on allowing the players, coaches and parents to take an active role in the development of the club both on and off the pitch.

Based in Polmont at Galaxy Little Kerse which is referred to as “Home of Community Football” and one of Scotland’s largest football centres, LK Galaxy will hope to support six different squads with up to 100 players taking part. 

Initial age groups have been confirmed as: U21s, U17s, U16s, U13s and 2008s. The club is also keen to develop in line with interest from other age groups, with already a registered amount of interest in 2014s and 2013s.

The club plans to lead with modern values that place transparency at the top of the list for parents and coaches. A spokesman for LK Galaxy FC commented on these values, saying, “We’ve all been in the game a long time and we see around how much harder it is to run clubs at grassroots. Legislation, compliance and funding are all getting more difficult to manage. Everything needs to be out in the open in open forums and a there’s a chance for all to contribute. Regular parent communication will be key”

A forthcoming LKTV channel is already in the planning and receiving lots of interest from media students to launch as part of the 2019/2020 season. 

Laying out their mission statement, the LK Galaxy spokesperson said, “We want to be a club that welcomes all standards of player, we don’t want to be known for being elitist. Players grow and develop at different paces; we need to respect that, and we have no intention to reject or allow players to move on due to size and standard”.

You can keep up to date on the plans for their future developments via their Facebook page @LKGalaxyFC and can also get in touch if interested in sponsorship, coach or player involvement or anything else via their email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
This weekend sees cup final action as the Forth Valley FDA host their finals this weekend. Five enticing ties to look forward to and YFS is proud to be filming all of them! Here is how the weekend shapes up.
Braehead FC vs Dunbeth FC U14 - FVFDA Challenge Cup Final
The first final of the weekend sees unbeaten Dunbeth take on second placed Braehead. Braehead have played well on their way to the final, getting past Alloa Saints, Riverside FC and Stenhousemuir FC Community.
Dunbeth beat Auchterarder Juniors, Grahamston and Stirling Albion Junior Academy to book their place in the final. Hopefully we should get a great game of football when the two meet on Saturday.
Strathkendrick vs Milton U16's - FVFDA Donnie McColl Cup Final
The U16's final sees second take on third as Strathkendrick take on Milton FC. Strathkendrick booked their place in the final by beating Sauchie Juniors and Stenhousemuir FC Community.
Milton earned their spot by beating Bonnybridge Youth and Syngenta Juveniles. Let's hope the league positions of both sides equate to an even game on Saturday.
Dunbeth FC vs Dunipace Juniors U13's - FVFDA PE5 Sports Tour Cup Final
Dunbeth will be making their second appearance this weekend, this time at U13 level as they take on Dunipace Juniors. Dunbeth made their way to the final in high-scoring fashion, playing out goalfests against Carse Thislte, Dunblane SC United and Wasps CC.
Dunipace on the other hand had an easier route to the final, with two walkovers, before putting in an immense performance to beat league leaders Milton FC in the semi-finals.
Milton FC vs Alloa Rovers U15's - FVFDA Challenge Cup Final
Milton will also be making a secon appearance in these finals as their U15's contest the final against Alloa Rovers. They required two penalty shootout wins to earn their place, beating Dunipace Juniors and Stirling Albion Junior Academy as well as overcoming Dunblane SC
Alloa Rovers also need two spot-kick victories to make the final with wins over Boness United and Wasp CC, as well as a win over Auchterarder CFC.
Bonnybridge Youth vs Stenhousemuir FC Community - FVFDA Challenge Cup Final
The last game of the FVFDA finals sees Bonnybridge Youth and Stenhousemuir Community face each other at U19 level. Bonnybridge had a bye into the semi-finals, where they beat Milton 2-0.
Stenhousemuir booked their place with victories over Syngenta Juveniles, Boness United and Cowie United to set up what should be an entertaining way to round off the finals.
You can pre-order DVD's for the matches here @ https://yfs.news/FVFDAFinals2019
Mill United Colts will be out for revenge on Sunday as they look to avenge a group stage defeat to Motherwell Phoenix as the two meet once again, this time at Ochilview Park, Stenhousemuir in the Central Scotland FA D League Cup Final.
Phoenix came out on top when the two met back in August with a 3-0 win and will be looking to repeat that feat on Sunday.
Mill United Colts come into the game on good form, winning three of their four games in the group stages and have made a good start to the D League, currently sitting in fourth place.
Colts were narrowly knocked out of the Scottish Cup courtesy of a 1-0 defeat away to C League side Larkhall Thistle.
Motherwell Phoenix have had a mixed start to the 2018/19 campaign. a 100% record in the group stages set them up well, though they have had a mixed league campaign, finding themselves in eighth place.
They did well to reach the second round of the Scottish Cup, before they came up against a strong Mill United side and were knocked out of the competition.
Here are each sides route to the final:
Mill United Colts
Group Stage
Mill United Colts were drawn into group two in the League Cup, alongside Strathaven Dynamo Colts, FC Kirkwood, Bargeddie Colts Airdrie and their opponents on Sunday, Motherwell Phoenix.
First up was a home tie against Strathaven Dynamo Colts. United got their cup campaign off to the perfect start with a dominating performance that saw them pick up a double-digit victory.
Next up was an away tie to FC Kirkwood. A closer game in this one but a match that United came through well. A 5-2 triumph made it two wins from two.
Colts suffered their first and only defeat of the tournament to fellow finalists Motherwell Phoenix at home. The away side left with a well earned 3-0 victory.
Qualification for the semi-finals was secured in their final group game. A wonderful 6-0 victory away to Bargeddie Colts Airdrie provided them with a great amount of confidence heading into the semis.
Mill were handed a potentially tricky tie in the semis, with a trip to face Dunbeth Black. The journey did not appear to affect United however and booked their place in the final by virtue of a 6-1 victory in Coatbridge.
Motherwell Phoenix
Group Stage
First up for Phoenix was a trip to face Strathaven Dynamo Colts. Much like their fellow finalists, Motherwell secured a very impressive double-digits victory, blowing Strathaven away with their attacking play.
Just three days later, they were back out again to face FC Kirkwood. Showing no sign of fatigue, they powered past them, putting in a terrific performance to win 8-1.
Two days after that, they were in action once again, this time hosting Bargeddie Colts Airdrie. Many teams would have buckled playing so many games with little time to rest, however Phoenix showed their endurance, putting six past Bargeddie and keeping a clean sheet in the process.
Finally, a trip to face Mill United Colts. A 3-0 win secured top spot and a 100% record in the competition.
Kildrum United were the only team standing in the way of Motherwell Phoenix and a place at Ochilview. A professional performance and a 3-0 triumph set up their date with destiny on Sunday.
On paper, if you look solely at the league standings, Mill United Colts would be considered favourites. On top of that they will be keen to grasp their opportunity at revenge for their loss to Phoenix in the group stages. However, Motherwell Phoenix are a better team than their league position shows and have demonstrated their ability to go toe-to-toe with the best teams in the CSFA D League.
Both will surely enjoy their cup final day and should put on a terrific show for the spectators.
You can pre-order your match DVD now @ https://yfs.news/CentralCupFinals2018
The first of two cup finals on the 2nd December sees two of the CSFA C League's high-flyers clash in what is sure to be a intruiging and closely contested clash. Both sides qualified from the same group to reach the semi-finals of the competition and when the two faced each other in the group, they played out a 2-2 draw.
The two have also faced off in league action, with both putting on a terrific show in a 4-4 draw. It seems as though there will be no shortage of goals when the two meet again at Ochilview on Sunday.
Clyde SOF currently sit in third place in the CSFA C League, having played seven games, winning four, drawing two and losing just one against league leaders West Park United Gold.
Clyde performed well in the Scottish Cup this season, reaching the second round of the competition before being knocked out by LFDA B League side Clremont via a penalty shootout.and won four of their five games in the group stage.
Condorrat BC have enjoyed a good start to the season as well. They currently occupy second place in the C League, having played eight games, winning five, drawing one and losing two.
They qualified for the semi-finals by finishing second in their group, just one point behind their opponents this weekend.
Here is how both teams made it to the final:
Clyde SOF
Group Stage
The draw for the group stage of the C League Cup saw Clyde SOF drawn with Craigburn BC, Rosebank United, North Motherwell BC, Larkhall Thistle and Condorrat BC. First up was a home tie against a tough North Motherwell BC side. A 4-2 win was a good confidence booster ahead of the rest of their group matches.
Next up was Larkhall Thistle away from home. The journey did not seem to have a great effect on their performance and they ran out convincing 5-2 winners.
Another away tie was difficult enough, but against Condorrat the task was made even harder. Clyde turned in a very impressive performance to leave with a 2-2 stalemate.
Back at home and next up was a struggling Rosebank United side. Clyde made their superiority count and ran away with a spectacular 8-0 triumph.
Finally, it was another away tie, this time against Craigburn and Clyde made it two wins out of three away from home in the competition, leaving with a 4-2 win and  finl position at the top of the group.
Clyde's reward for topping the group was to be their toughest test as they were put up against West Park United Gold for a place at Ochilview. A stunning back and forth game saw Clyde come out on top 5-4 winners. A well deserved victory for well deserved finalists.
Condorrat BC
Group Stage
First up for Condorrat was a home mtch against Rosebank United and they showed their strength early on, running away with an 8-0 victory.
Their first away day took them to Lanarkshire to face North Motherwell BC. An even contest against a formidable team ensued and Condorrat had to be satisfied with a 3-3 draw.
Next up was a 2-2 draw with Clyde SOF. Condorrat would surely have been frustrated not to hve made home advantage count on the day.
However, they were back to winning wys in their next match, this time away to Craigburn BC. A 6-3 win left Condorrat with a chance of qualifying for the semi-finals.
To round off the group, Condorrat welcomed Larkhall Thistle, knowing that a win was needed to qualify. They certainly did not crumble under the pressure and produced a 4-2 triumph to advance.
The semi-final paired Condorrat against Rossvale FC Barca. Rossvale advanced as group winners and had beaten Condorrat just one week prior to their cup meetinf. Revenge was certainly on the mind and they earned it and then some, reaching double digits and booking their place at Ochilview.
If these sides previous meetings are anything to go by then expect a high-scoring and evenly matched contest this weekend. Both sides will still be in the hunt for league silverware after this match, but bragging rights, as well as the C League Cup are definitely up for grabs in this one.
Two games so far and two draws. There will have to be a winner on Sunday.
If you would like to order a DVD of the game, you can pre-order here @ https://yfs.news/CentralCupFinals2018
Gairdoch United and Dunbeth FC will get the Central Scotland FA League Cup finals underway tonight at Ochilview Park, Stenhousemuir, when they both compete for the B League trophy.
Both teams have had decent starts to their 2018/19 campaigns so far and all indictions point to this one being a great final.
Gairdoch United currently sit in seventh place in the CSFA B League, having played six games, winning four, drawing one and losing one to current league leaders, West Park United Gold.
United bowed out of the Scottish Cup in the second round, performing well against a tough LFDA A League side in Milton Rovers, though eventually leaving the competition after a 4-2 defeat. They have performed well in the League Cup as well, winning all but one of their group games, drawing one against West Park United Navy.
Dunbeth have had a very good start to the season and have maintained a 100% record in the B League. Their seven wins from seven games see them occupy second place, just one point behind leaders West Park United Gold, with two games in hand.
A dissapointing Scottish Cup campaign ended with a first round defeat at the hands of CSFA A League side Moorlands FC. A narrow 3-1 defeat to the tem currently sitting in third place in the A League is no embarrassment however, and they have performed spectacularly in the League Cup, with a 100% record in their group and a big win in the semi-final against Clyde FC Community.
Here is each sides route to the final:
Gairdoch United
Group Stage
Gairdoch were handed a very tough draw in the group stages, having to battle it out with West Park United Navy, Lenzie YC and ES Galaxy. Only top spot would be enough to qualify from the group and reach the semi-finals, making a challenging task even more difficult.
First up was a home tie against West Park United Navy. Navy have performed very well in the B League, currently sitting in third place. A hard-fought 2-2 draw was a great way to start the campaign and a definite confidence booster ahead of their remaining two games in the group.
Next up was a potentially tricky away tie to ES Galaxy. A tough test, but one that United came through with flying colours, securing a 3-0 win and setting them up well for qualification.
Knowing that a win against Lenzie at home would secure a semi-final place, the pressure was on for Gairdoch to perfor. Once again, they passed that test, earning another 3-0 win.
They were made to work for their place in tonight's final. They were given a home tie against Scotland BC Red and needed extra-time to book their place at Ochilview. Eventually coming through 3-1, they are sure to battle hard for their first chance at silverware.
Dunbeth FC
Group Stage
Dunbeth were handed a potentially difficult group, though maybe one they would've expected to qualify from, something they did comfortably. EDFC, Cumbernauld Colts Blue and Hamilton Accies BC provided the opposition.
Up first for Dunbeth was a trip to face EDFC. EDFC have struggled so far this season in the B League and that translated onto the pitch. A 3-0 win for Dunbeth set them on the path for qualification.
Next up was another away tie, this time at the now folded Cumbernauld Colts Blue. Dunbeth were certainly not put off at the prospect of another away tie and left with an impressive 5-1 victory.
With qualification essentially secured, Dunbeth could go into their last game, a home meeting against Hamilton Accies BC, under no pressure. They certainly showed their confidence with a convincing 6-2 win.
Three wins from three in the group set up a semi-final clash against Clyde FC Community. Unbeaten in the league and with a 100% record behind them, they stormed to a big victory to set up their final clash with Gairdoch at Ochilview.
A great match is certainly in store between two teams high on confidence. Gairdoch go into the match knowing they are in for a tough match, but confidence will be high given they have gone toe-to-toe with some good teams already, whilst Dunbeth will be keen to keep their 100% domestic record intact.
Expect a classic at Ochilview!
If you would like to purchase a DVD for the game, you can pre-order here @ https://yfs.news/CentralCupFinals2018
Fresh from being crowned Young Volunteer of the Year at the 2018 Scottish FA Grassroots Awards at Hampden Park this past week, Ben Mitchell took the time to speak to YFS about his love for coaching, his work with the SFA and his aspirations for the future.
21-year-old Ben has been involved in football for almost his entire life; he played between the ages of five and 15 and – after leaving school at the end of fifth year – soon found himself involved in coaching.
His took his first steps with Active Stirling- who ran coaching classes on behalf of the SFA – before moving on to coach with Stirling Albion and now Airdrie Academy U18s:
“I love it,” Ben told YFS. “When I was younger a lot of coaches thought it was their job to make me an amazing player, but actually it was their job to make me love football.
“Especially at grassroots level, you’re going to get kids through the door that you’re not going to be able to turn into the next Messi, but if you can make them love football the way you love football then that’s your job done.
“I think a lot of coaches feel they have to win every game, when actually it’s about trying to develop players and make them fall in love with football.”
When he’s not coaching, Ben now works in the football development department of the SFA and has been an SFA Youth Ambassador for Change for almost two years now.
The ambassador role is one he’s relished, because it’s allowed him to represent young people at the top table of Scottish football.
He said: “The programme is basically a way for the SFA to hear the voices of young people in Scotland.
“We’ve got a whole team of us in different areas, and we get involved in projects, with the end goal of trying to get an idea of how young people feel about certain things in Scottish Football.”
Ben’s hard-work and dedication have not gone unrecognised; he was named Best Young Volunteer at the Central Region Grassroot Awards in July, and then was honoured with the national award this past week:
“I’ve worked quite closely with the SFA for a while now so whether that had something to do with me winning or not I don’t know,” he joked. “But the award ceremony was a good night.
“Obviously, it was a very busy event being at Hampden; there was a dinner and I had my family there, I was quite proud.”
And what advice would Ben give to any young volunteers looking to follow in the footsteps of himself and the countless others that dedicate so much of their time to promoting the growth of the sport we all love?
He said: “I think first and foremost you need to understand that what you put in you’ll get out – it’s not them giving you, it’s you giving them.
“Volunteer for your own experience, and if you can help others and make new contacts along the way then even better.”  
Ben will graduate from his role as a youth ambassador in December and isn’t entirely sure where his future will take him, but - as long as football is involved - he’ll be happy:
“I enjoy what I do day-to-day,” he said. “I also enjoy coaching with the kids in Airdrie so to be honest anything in football would be more than enough for me.
“But I think full-time coaching at an academy would be the dream.”       
Fresh from winning Best Volunteer in Youth Football at last month’s Central Region SFA Grassroots Awards, Milton AFC secretary Josephine Rodger spoke to YFS to discuss her time with the club and why the opportunity to play football is so important for kids.
Josephine began volunteering at Milton in 2004 when her eldest son, Paul, joined the club’s new soccer school. Her younger son, Marc, joined the club not long after and, although Paul has since left the club, Josephine remains to this day, and is now one of the most respected and involved people at the club.
She explained what convinced her to get involved all those years ago:
“I’m one of these types of people that’s always been quite hands-on,” she said. “I wanted to try and help where I possibly could, it was just part of bringing up my children.
“I was living in a house with my husband and two boys so I had to resign myself to the fact I was going to be buying football strips and football boots, so I just got involved naturally.”
She did admit that when it came time for her son’s to get involved in football, her family ties with Milton made choosing a club a no-brainer:
“My grandfather used to follow Milton when they were just a one team outfit way back in the 70’s,” she said. “He used to follow them everywhere.”
“Him and my dad had an affinity with Milton Football Club, so it’s always been in my family.”
Since those early days, Josephine has worked her way up through the club; starting as secretary of the 1994 team, she was in charge of - amongst other things - organising matches, washing kits and fundraising for trips abroad. Not long after, she began splitting her time between the 1994 team and the 98 team, and for the last eight years she has been secretary of the executive committee, meaning she’s now involved in co-ordinating with all youth, ladies and academy teams at the club.
And she says she is proud to have been part of the club for so long and to have played a part in it becoming the accredited SFA Community Club it is today.
She said: “I’ve watched Milton grow from a club just dipping their toe in the water and getting a soccer school, to a club with a structure put in place that’s creating a pathway for these kids.
“We’ve got these kids coming in at the age of four right the way up and feeding into our amateur team.
“That’s what it’s all about in my eyes and I can see it happening now so it’s been fantastic for me to witness and to be a big part of – and to actually still be enjoying it is great.”
But even after 14 years of tireless work, Josephine admits the Grassroots Award still came as a huge shock:
“That was the biggest secret ever,” she said. “Being the secretary of the full club means that when the Grassroots Awards come up I’m always plugging these things.
“With the amount of volunteers we’ve got at the club – over a hundred – and every one of them is a hero in my opinion. They all do a fantastic job - they’re all a cog in the huge wheel of Milton - and I send out emails telling them to get their nominations in because there’s loads of worthy people in our club that deserve to get these kind of accolades.
“I didn’t know that behind the scenes they were all scheming and it was me that they were actually nominating.”
Josephine was presented the award at a ceremony at Motherwell’s Fir Park, where she accepted it on behalf of the entire club, and dedicated the accolade to Mick Mullane, a founding member of the club who sadly passed away in June.
She spoke of how amazing it was to learn first-hand of all the amazing work being done to improve and promote grassroots football in this country.
She said: “I was really humbled actually when I went up and received the award because to listen to what actually is getting done in football at grassroots level, all the different projects that are on the go and all these people who are volunteers, what they do. It’s fantastic.
“I think football sometimes gets a bad press but it’s great to see people getting recognised for all the good things that happen in the sport because there is an awful lot of good happening out there – especially at grassroots level.”
Without volunteers, Milton – and clubs all across the country – wouldn’t exist. So what motivates someone to invest so much of their time and effort in youth football? There are few people more qualified than Josephine to answer that question:
“I think some parents do it because they have ambitions for their kid and want to see them progress,” she said. “But when I look at the size of Milton Football Club now, we’ve got 400 kids on our books.
“It’s just outstanding how it’s all run by volunteers – there’s no paid people at Milton at all. We’ve got to keep that going because if anything happened and our club collapsed, where would these kids end up?
“We’ve got some areas around about us that are deprived, and these kids may well end up hanging around on street corners or whatever. Sometimes I feel like the politicians and the council should stand up and take notice because if it wasn’t for these teams, and the volunteers, then these kids would potentially be out vandalising and costing them money.”
Josephine is not the first person from Milton to be recognised for their services; club co-founder Pat Griffin is a past Grassroots winner who has also been recognised at national level and by UEFA, and she hopes that in years to come more Milton volunteers are awarded for their efforts.
She said: “There’s hundreds of volunteers out there belonging to Milton and I would love to see them continually getting awards because they definitely deserve it, in my eyes.”
“At the very start of the season I sat down with the team and I said to them that I’d consider it a successful season if I could say at the end of it that they’d all improved as footballers. It didn’t matter whether we won all our games or lost all our games.”
So says Graeme McFarlane, coach of Milngavie U16s. At the beginning of last season he, along with fellow coach and club secretary Mark Ewing, set about building a squad from scratch; Milngavie were a new team entering the league for the first time.
Unsurprisingly, expectations going into the season were modest, but remarkably at the end of the 18 game season Milngavie were four points clear at the top and crowned Central Scotland FA Division C Champions.
It was an incredible achievement considering, as Mark Ewing remembers, at the start of the campaign they were barely able to field a team, let alone compete for silverware.
“There had been a Milngavie 2002 but it had folded early the season before, so we hadn’t been competing but the club wanted to get a team going at that age group again,” he said. “A couple of the boys who had been with us previously came back, but at the start of the season we were really struggling to get a viable squad together in terms of numbers. Right at the start of the season we had probably five boys who had never played for a club before, so they were coming in to structured football at U16 which is a huge ask.
“We didn’t have time for any pre-season matches, so we went straight into the League Cup right at the start of the season, sometimes introducing some boys to each other in the changing room before we went out to play, and we were well beaten in every game. It was a real learning curve for us.”
It was a difficult start to life for the new Milngavie squad, but as the league campaign got underway and the players became familiar with each other and what was expected of them on the pitch, their fortunes slowly began to turn.
McFarlane recalls: “We lost the first [league match] and we drew the second one but things seemed to gather momentum and the belief grew.
“We got them a bit more organised on the pitch so they knew what they were doing – at least three or four of them had never played on an 11-a-side pitch before; they’d never actually been in an organised team playing an organised game, so we had to try and get them sorted with some shaping and knowledge of where they were meant to be depending on where the ball was.
“They just cottoned onto it and it snowballed. They won a game, and then they won another and then the next one and they just kept on winning games and the confidence within them grew at an amazing rate.”
Whilst the coaching certainly played a big part in the transformation of a team that got thrashed every week (“There were a lot of 6-2s and 5-1s in those early League Cup games,” remembers McFarlane) to league champions, both coaches were quick to play down their role in the success, citing the players’ attitude and character as the main reason for Milngavie’s accomplishments.
Ewing said: “It was quite clear that the boys we did have – although some of them were inexperienced – really wanted to be there. They worked incredibly hard at training and bit by bit they really got it together.”
McFarlane added: “There’s been a real team spirit and it’s very much come from the players I think.
“I’ve been coaching for a while and this was a brilliant experience. Young boys who were keen to learn and listened to what you were saying and then you’d watch them go out on the pitch and they would do these things.”
And whilst they didn’t become all-conquering overnight, Ewing recalls how he slowly realised that his side were more than just making up the numbers in the league.
“Given the start that we had, I thought we’d be going into the league struggling at the bottom to be perfectly honest,” he said. “The aim was to try and not be last in the league. Then all of a sudden we found we were winning games. Confidence was growing, guys were working hard and it was the turn of the year and all of a sudden we were in the mix in the league. I didn’t think we would win it but I thought we were actually going to end up in the right half of the table at the end.”  
McFarlane also discussed the moment he realised the boys could achieve something special.
“Our home game with Stirling Albion was the game where I thought we might be in with a real chance of doing something,” he said. “They were top of the league at the time. The very first game of the season we played them and they beat us 4-3. At the time I thought there wasn’t actually very much between us, and when we played our home game against them about two-thirds of the way through the season and we beat them 2-1 I thought we might have a chance.
“The players all knew too. They knew that beating the team who – at that time – were comfortably top of the league laid down a marker that we could compete with these guys.”
And so it proved. Momentum and results were going in their favour, and before long Milngavie were in poll position in the league and on the verge of the unlikeliest of title wins.
“It became quite a job to keep [the players’] feet on the ground and to concentrate on the fact that we were here just to play our football and that anything else that happens was a bonus,” remembers McFarlane.
Perhaps no game epitomises Milngavie’s season than the match the league title was finally confirmed.
Trailing North Kelvin Utd 2-0 at half time, there was a danger the wheels could come off the Milngavie fairy-tale: “I think at half time they were starting to think that maybe this wasn’t for us at all,” recalls McFarlane. “Maybe we’re not going to win the league.”
But, as befitting a team that had overcome the odds time and time again across the season, they turned it around in the second half to win the game 4-2 and accomplish something that had seemed impossible when they were struggling to field a team only a few months earlier.
“When the final whistle went against North Kelvin, the players went mad. Really mad,” said McFarlane.
But already, attentions are focussed on the future.
Promotion means that next season will be a different test altogether, and now that they’re no longer an unknown quantity, what can Milngavie hope to achieve as they make the step up to Division B? Both coaches are keeping their feet firmly on the ground.
“Our number one ambition is to try and keep the boys together,” said Ewing. “From there, we’ll just try to improve if we can and see what happens.” McFarlane added:
“Next season we want to be competitive and we’ll see how things go.
“We certainly won’t set out with the opinion that we’ll win the league – I think that would be ridiculous to even consider that – but I want it so that other teams, when they see they’re coming up against us, know they’re going to have to play well if they want to beat us.”
But that’s similar to what they said at the start of this season. Lightning couldn’t strike twice, could it?
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