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The first of three cup finals from the Central Scotland Football Association on Saturday 13th January sees an interesting match between Jerviston FC and Maddiston Mini’s. Just three points separate the two team in the under 14’s B league but league records mean next to nothing in a cup final. Let’s have a look at both side routes to their showpiece event at Ochilview Park.
 
Jerviston FC
 
Jerviston were drawn into group section A alongside their final opponents Maddiston Minis. Knowing that only a top two finish would ensure their place in the last four of the competition Jerviston started strongly.
 
First up was Syngenta Grange away from home and Jerviston set out a standard they were set to maintain for the rest of the competition when they left with an impressive 8-2 victory and followed it up with a 7-1 win over North Glasgow Celtic.
 
Next up was Maddiston Minis and it will certainly be one that the Jerviston players will be looking back on as they secured a 5-0 win over their final opponents. A loss to Milan FC, who narrowly missed out on a semi-final place, was not enough to derail Jerviston who secured their spot with a 2-2 draw to Lenzie YC.
 
That set up a semi-final tie with Steins Thistle and the two produced an extremely entertaining match that had to be settled in extra time. Jerviston proved to have more energy in the tank and walked away with a 4-2 victory and a place in the final.
 
 
Maddiston Mini’s
 
Being drawn in a group with Jerviston FC and league B leaders Milan FC meant that it was always going to be a tough group for the Mini’s to get out of but showed their metal early on when they opened with an impressive 1-1 draw at home to Milan and followed it up with a close 6-5 win against Syngenta Grange.
 
The loss to Jerviston threatened to derail their cup run but strong performances in their final two games against Lenzie YC and North Glasgow Celtic were enough to send them through as group runners-up.
 
Next up for Maddiston and standing between them and a cup final spot at Ochilview was EDFC, who currently sit in second place in the B league. It would therefore appear that the odds were on EDFC’s side, but it appears as though the Mini’s don’t pay attention to the odds.
 
They dispatched  their division rivals in a 7-1 win that cemented their place in the final and a chance at glory.
 
 
These two sides have met twice already this season. One was the aforementioned 5-0 win for Jerviston; and the other a tightly contested game in which Jerviston again emerged victorious by a score of 4-3.
 
This would probably put the odds in the favour of Jerviston, but what is evident from Maddiston’s cup run is that the odds mean absolutely nothing. One thing is for certain though and that is that we can expect a scintillating match from these two on Saturday. 
This weekend sees a whole host of cup finals played at Ochilview Park in Stenhousemuir. One of which is the 2005’s League Cup which takes place at 7:00 on Friday 12th January. It has been a long journey for the finalists but now it comes down to one game between Falkirk FCF and Gairdoch United to see who will be crowned champions. Let’s have a look at each side’s route to the final.
 
Falkirk FCF
 
Falkirk were drawn into group section A for the tournament and they began their cup run in stunning fashion, securing a dominant victory over EDFC Barca before following it up with an impressive 7-1 win over Campsie FC.
 
After that came a stunning 8-0 loss away to their cup final opponents Gairdoch United but they recovered well with a 4-0 win away to Rosebank United. This was followed up by wins against Stenhousemuir BC, Condorrat BC and Cumbernauld Pumas.
 
Six wins from seven group game saw Falkirk finish second behind Gairdoch and qualify for the quarter-finals, where they would come up against Motherwell FC CT, a difficult opponent and one currently flying high in second spot in the SCFA Under 13’s (a) League, but one Falkirk were able to overcome in an impressive 4-1 win.
 
This set up a thrilling semi-final tie against Scotland BC Purple which Falkirk eventually came through after a nervy penalty shoot-out after the match finished 1-1 after extra time. They were to advance to the final with a 5-4 spot kick win.
 
Gairdoch United
 
Gairdoch come into this match in fine form, having lost just one match all season. Seven wins from seven in their section A group, including the previously mentioned 8-0 victory over Falkirk FCF, saw them advance comfortably to the quarter-finals.
 
Next up for United was their quarter-final tie against Maryhill BC. It was business as usual as they claimed their place in the semi-final beating their opponents 7-1.
 
One more game to navigate for Gairdoch and it was Lenzie YC who was standing in their way. With the pressure of being favourites it would have been easy to get complacent, however it was to be no problem for the league leaders as they came through as 5-1 winners and secured their place at Ochilview on Friday.
 
 
It certainly looks set to be an interesting cup final. Falkirk have already lost once to Gairdoch in the cup and came up short when they clashed in league competition. Gairdoch will go into the match full of confidence and as clear favourites for the trophy, but cup finals can be funny in that they never quite go the way you expect.
 
Falkirk will go into this game knowing that if they put in a performance then they have a good chance of leaving Stenhousemuir with a trophy, and that will be the only motivation they need to give their opponents a really tough match. 
Wednesday, 20 December 2017 14:21

Magnificent seven For Palace Park Respect

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Palace Park Respect continued their impressive attacking play, putting 7 past Rangers SABC in a formidable showing of attacking force.

Palace had been in fine goal scoring form, putting a whopping 34 goals past their opponents in their past six games as they looked to continue their push up the table. Rangers however would have been looking to secure their first win in the league, picking up a solitary point from their opening ten games.

Palace took the lead on the 22nd minute mark, Craig Taylor the one to open the scoring. Five minutes later they doubled their advantage, this time it was Scott Ramsay who put the ball in the back of the net. This gave Rangers a mountain to climb come the second half.

 
Falkirk Football Club have officially announced that they will no longer be funding the North Valley Football Academy, instead focusing their resources on their first team squad.
 
The club released a statement on their website explaining that their current business model was "unsustainable" as they had made losses ever since their appearance in the Scottish Cup Final in 2015.
 
The statement reads, "If we carry on doing what we have always done, we will remain as we are presently. We recognise an absolute need to change the way we do things.

"We want to be a Premiership football club, and to achieve this, our First Team needs to be our absolute focus.

"As a result of this, the decision has been taken to prioritise the use of available resources in our first team. From 31st December onwards, Falkirk Football Club will therefore cease its funding of the Forth Valley Football Academy.

"This was not an easy decision and means that our focus on youth development will, for the time being at least, significantly reduce."

Forth Valley also released a statement in response to the news saying, "This has implications for the future of this academy."

"The board of the FVFA consists of representatives of East Stirlingshire FC, Falkirk FC and Stenhousemuir FC. We will meet shortly to discuss what this means for us and what the next steps should be.

"We will be in contact with all parents of all children involved in the academy in due course."

 
Musselburgh Windsor U13s Girls started the 2017 season with a very young squad and coaches Rab Taylor and Michael Windram’s expectations for this season were to consolidate a top five spot in a very strong First Division. What transpired was an unbelievable season, which saw the girls perform well above what anyone expected - both parents and coaches alike.
 
With youth on their side they started their league campaign, League Cup and Scottish Cup journey -hoping for a good run in the cups along with a top five placing in the League. This, however, was to be a quite incredible season for the Windsor U13s Girls.
 
As the summer break loomed they sat 2nd in the league, 3 points behind Hearts with just one defeat in their first 7 games. They had made it to the last 16 of the Scottish Cup beating Celtic and Motherwell along the way before being knocked out by Bayside U13s in a fantastic game, eventually losing out 2-1.
 
The League Cup journey took them to the final against Hearts FC, where after being 3-1 down 5 minutes before half time, they pulled it back to 3-3. Ultimately, with just seconds left in the game and heading for extra time, Windsor Girls lost a goal to become runners up in what was a great advert for the Girls game.
 
It had been a fantastic Cup journey, in which they had come so close. However, the girls were not disappointed and showed a fantastic resilience to come back and push a very strong Hearts side all the way. They may not have won the League Cup, but they certainly were not disgraced, rather proud to have made it so far.
 
Onto the second half of the League campaign, and after some shuffling by the League Committees and teams moving leagues they went on a 6-game unbeaten run to sit top of the League - 5 points clear.
 
The league looked to be a 3-horse race between Musselburgh Windsor, Boroughmuir Thistle and Hearts. Next up for Musselburgh Windsor was an away game against Hearts with the opportunity to put some distance between the two.
 
The game had a very cagey start with both teams maybe feeling the pressure and nervous not to make a mistake. Hearts took the lead in the first half, but Windsor fought back and took the lead just before half time. After half time they took the game to Hearts and scored 2 early second half goals to make it 4-1.
 
Hearts then scored in the last 10 mins of the game to close the gap, but as they pushed forward to get a goal back in the last 5 minutes, Windsor broke away to score a 5th and held out to win the game 5-2.
 
Coach Michael Windram said:
 
‘I think this was the moment that the Windsor Girls realised that they could do something special this season’
 
With just 2 games to go and 6 points clear of Boroughmuir Thistle, the league was theirs to lose. The final two games were both tough games and they had to come back from a goal down in both but once again they pulled together and got the wins they needed, finishing the second half of the season undefeated with 9 straight wins to secure the Kim Little South-East Performance 1st Division Title.
 
With 2 league titles in 3 years and a League Cup Final this season the girls can be very proud of what they have achieved, as are coaches Rab Taylor and Michael Windram, their Parents and Musselburgh Windsor FC.
 
Perhaps the most impressive part of their title win is that Musselburgh Windsor are the first team other than Hibs or Hearts to win the Kim Little trophy since the leagues inception 6 years ago.
 
The girls were presented with the league trophy and medals at their presentation evening in front of the entire section at Musselburgh Windsor Girls - a fitting way to celebrate their success.
 
 
The 2017 U13s squad pictured above
 
Back Row Left to Right :Orla Thomas, Freyja Bjarnason, Megan Wood, Caitlin Armstrong, Eilidh Smith, Rachel Fleming, Sarah Knox, Shakira Law
 
Front Left to Right :Seren McCulloch, Skye Feeley, Mia Brotherson, Rosie Livingstone, Lola Dryborough and Morven Taylor ..Missing from the picture were Abi McNeil and Zuzia Olesiejuk.
Wednesday, 06 December 2017 12:17

Celtic finish UEFA Youth League campaign in style

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Celtic ran out 3-1 winners over Belgian club Anderlecht in the UEFA Youth League on Tuesday afternoon, leapfrogging them in the group to finish in third place.

Anderlecht got the game underway in Dumbarton but it was Celtic who enjoyed the better start, often finding joy down the left wing. Jack Aitchison had the first chance of the game for the Hoops around seven minutes into the first half but hit his side-footed effort wide of the post.

The Bhoys began to look more confident on the ball, enjoying lots of possession in the Anderlecht half and took the lead after 22 minutes following a set piece.

Michael Johnston won a corner for Celtic but when the ball arrived at the feet of Euan Henderson, the midfielder’s shot was blocked. Jack Aitchison was the fastest to react and fired the ball in to give the Hoops the lead.

Then, just minutes later, Celtic grabbed their second that put them in control of the match. Aitchison did well to hold up the ball before feeding Kerr McInroy, who calmly placed the ball beyond Oliver Vliegen in the Anderlecht goal.

Celtic began to control the game but still had to be wary of their Belgian opponents. Nelson Azevedo went close when he headed over for the visitors and Milan Corryn’s well-struck volley went wide, reminding Celtic of the dangers they still faced.

The home side kept pushing for a third goal that would kill the game, looking particularly threatening whenever Johnston was on the ball. The right-winger tormented the Anderlecht defence time and again and began to impose his authority on the game towards the end of the first half.

Celtic started the second half he way the finished the first, charging up the pitch in search of a killer third goal. Johnston came close after beating two defenders but was blocked before he could get his shot away.

Anderlecht then went down to ten men when Alexis Saelemaekers was shown a straight red for is challenge on Miller. Five minutes later it got even worse for the Belgians when Johnston got on the scoresheet.

The winger showed nimble footwork to dribble past two Anderlecht defenders before coolly slotting it into the back of the net.

Celtic looked happy to see the game out at this point and retained possession, but Anderlecht still created the odd chance. Francis Amuzu tested Celtic keeper Ryan Mullin with a shot from 20 yards but the young stopper was equal to it.

Corryn pulled one back for the visitors with around 20 minutes left to play with a low shot from just inside the box, but any hopes of a dramatic revival were extinguished just a minute later when Reian Meddour picked up his second yellow card, reducing Anderlecht to nine men.

Celtic cruised to victory from that moment onwards and could have added to their tally, with Johnson coming particularly close for the Bhoys with just a few minutes remaining.

The referee then called time on an entertaining match that resulted in Celtic overtaking Anderlecht in UEFA Youth League Group B, finishing the campaign with six points.

#WhatsYourStory
 
Another team that will be heading out to Spain this Easter with Trans World Soccer are the Blairgowrie 2006’s. The Perthshire team will be taking part in the Barcelona Easter tournament with a host of other Scottish clubs, competing against teams from around the globe.
 
This is a special tournament for the Blairgowrie boys and they are ‘very excited’ as it is their first ever tournament outside of Scotland, so they will be looking to impress on their travels.
 
The boys are most looking forward to ‘playing against foreign opposition’, and will have their eyes set on a heroic return to Scotland after all is said and done.
 
The club currently holds an unwanted record, being that Rangers biggest ever victory came against Blairgowrie in a 14-2 win in 1934, but the Blairgowrie boys will be looking to create history of their own this Easter. 
 
 
1.    What tournament will you be going to?
 
We are going to the Barcelona Easter Tournament next year in March/April 2018. 
 
2.    What are you / the team most looking forward to for the trip?
 
They are most looking forward to playing against foreign opposition and attending a festival out with Scotland.
 
3.    What is something that people might not know about Blairgowrie? 
 
Something people might not know about Blairgowrie is that Rangers recorded what is still there biggest ever victory against Blairgowrie F.C on 20 January 1934 with a 14-2 win.  
 
#WHATSYOURSTORY is a campaign to learn more about the teams participating in tournaments with Trans World Soccer throughout 2018. If you, or anyone you know is participating in one of these events please get in touch with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and tell us your story. Alternatively, click here to learn more about the upcoming tournaments in 2018.
 
 
 
It was a cold and wet evening in Glasgow yesterday, but Airdrie United’s U11 and U19 squads braved the unforgiving weather just as so many others do every night. 
 
Taking part in the sponsored ‘help the homeless’ event, the boys were accompanied by Kelly Hughes and Kim Isaac of Second Chance Scotland as they volunteered to make the evening a little better for those who are living rough. 
 
The boys took to the streets to hand out warm drinks, food and clothing in an effort to help those who are in need, and also to raise awareness of the thousands who are homeless across Scotland. 
 
The boys enjoyed the night, and it is through acts like this that we can help improve the homeless situation across Scotland, and ensure that our children are capable of dealing with any societal problems they may face. 
 
Second Chance Scotland received a £120 donation from funds raised by the boys over the course of the evening.  

Falkirk Football Community Foundation Blue clinched a hotly contested Central Scotland Under 14 League 2 with a thrilling 5-4 win over second place Hamilton Accies Boys Club, who finished just 1 point behind. We got a chance to speak with head coach Alan Findlay, to find out about their excellent season.

Alan’s reaction was this: “At the end it was as much relief as it was celebration as we had a difficult run in with teams who always provide tough opposition.”

A great season by Falkirk FCF Blue had many highs, and Alan Findlay’s favourite moment was winning the league. He commented that “this was our first real competitive win and the result showed the boys they were capable of winning something. It also marked the first time a team within the Falkirk Community Football Foundation had won a trophy.” This is brilliant for the team and important to the club as a whole. Their league victory then inspired them to go on and win the Central League Cup as well.

He says that the reason for their success was because they are “a good squad who all work hard and have good technical ability. They all get on with each other and are very driven when it comes to their football.” Alan also credited coaches Stewart Hoggan and Alistair MacDonald, who work with the boys on their technical skills and fitness respectively, who have been very important to the team’s behind-the-scenes work which has lead to their fine season.

Aside from winning the League, Falkirk FCF Blue also tasted success when they won The Central League Cup. After going 3-0 up in the final against Cumberland Colts – the winners of the Central Scotland League Division 1 - Alan’s team found themselves at 3-3, with the momentum swaying towards Cumberland. However Falkirk FCF Blue managed to steady the game and win on penalties, showing mental strength from this young team.

Alan complimented the boys for digging deep when they were plagued by injuries and had a fixture congestion in May. He also thought that “the biggest challenge was probably trying to keep the boys focused especially when we found ourselves in the position where winning the league was a possibility.”

Alan also commented that “The boys should be extremely proud of themselves for their achievement.” He also thanked the parents for “their support and being there week in week out supporting the team, and helping in making this a successful season.”

Congratulations to Falkirk FCF Blue on their successful year and good luck for future seasons.

 

 
Youth Football Scotland: Website Photos 16/17 &emdash;
 
Syngenta Juveniles U16s finished their season playing 44 matches, with 2 defeats, 2 draws and 40 wins, which paved the way to an unbeaten league campaign and the lifting of the trophy. They secured back to back trebles with a tournament win in Blackpool also at Easter, and their mantra has been to play football the right way throughout, which has been at the heart of their success.
 
However the season will also be remembered for a horror double leg break to influential defensive midfielder Craig Paton who endured 30 days in hospital, having seven operations and plastic surgery.
 
“Up until that moment Craig had been a real anchor for us and was leading our MoM awards competion. It was an innocuous challenge but the bravery and courage that young man has shown has been incredible. As a coach you don’t expect to have to deal with that situation and along with a couple of other family bereavements in our squad for our players, it was a difficult January and February. The support for Craig however from within youth football and indeed the professional game has been unreal and we sincerely hope we can get him back on a pitch in 2018 at some stage” added Buglass. Starting off the 2016/17 season and setting new targets was always going to be difficult for Syngenta Juveniles U16s after winning the treble in 2015/16, however with new faces added the team were determined to give it their best.
 
A decent run the Scottish Cup and Regional Cup were very much the focus however a fourth round meeting with eventual winners Tynecastle put paid to that with a 4-1 home defeat in December.
 
“We were determined to show up as well as we could against Tynecastle, a side we respected. We planned accordingly for it however on reflection we probably over prepared and sacrificed our own style of play and game at home and whilst we were in the game at 1-0 down at HT, we didn’t go on second half and push them harder. That was our one real disappointment over the season, something that I’ve discussed with their coach John Daly” reflected coach Dave Buglass.
 
However from that point on a solid run of performances and victories saw the Grangemouth side advance to the final of the Central Region Cup final with victories over Rangers SABC, Drumsagaard and Bellshill Athletic along the way culminating in a deserved 5-1 win in the final at Ochilview over Oban Saints. On top of that the Dyes progressed to their two domestic cup finals in the Forth Valley and made it a treble header with Armadale for the league championship also.
 
“We played Armadale twice early in the season after they moved to Forth Valley and they were a very well drilled, organised and fit side. They ran us close but we came out on top in both games with narrow victories, so we knew at the business end of the season we’d likely be battling with them again for the silverware. A draw at Armadale gave us the advantage we needed in the league and we completed the league championship in style at Stenhousemuir. We then went head to head in two cup finals at the Falkirk Stadium and all credit to them where they took the Donnie McColl Cup 2-1, but we got our revenge the week after with a comprehensive and much improved 4-1 victory in the League Cup” said Buglass.
 
Plans for 2017/18 are already underway and the team will take on a new challenge by joining the Cumbernauld and Kilsyth U17s league with a few new additions already lined up.
 
Youth Football Scotland: Website Photos 16/17 &emdash;
(Craig Paton, photo courtesy of Dave Buglass)
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