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National Competitions (402)

Friday, 17 February 2017 23:55

Celtic progress past Hibees in tight cup clash

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Celtic secured their passage into the SFA Youth Cup semi-finals on Friday afternoon, as a solitary strike from Josh Kerr midway through the first-half was enough to give The Hoops victory at the Oriam Centre in Edinburgh.

The match started in a manner which carried on for the rest of the 90 minutes; cagey, and Fraser Murray created the only opportunity in the opening 20 minutes for Hibs. Although his first-time strike from Oli Shaw’s neat knockdown went well over.

Shaw was then at the centre of attention again ten minutes later, as he was brought down by Conor Hazard when racing in on goal. Despite protests, the referee adjudged the incident to be nothing more than a booking for the Celtic goalkeeper.

As the first half progressed it was Celtic who began to seize control and dominate possession, and they nearly took the lead on 20 minutes when a sliced clearance from Mark Hill’s corner almost resulted in an own-goal, but the ball looped up over the bar and saved the Hibees from any blushes.

Archibald then came close for Celtic five minutes later, as his powerful effort from distance skidded off the surface, but ultimately drifted off target.

The Hoops, despite creating little, looked the more likely to open the scoring in a tight first-half, and they did just that on the half-hour mark. When a long throw-in went into Jack Aitchison, the tightly-marked striker did well to lay the ball off into Josh Kerr’s path, who was never going to turn down the opportunity from close range.

Calvin Miller, who had been a lively figure for much of the first-half on the left-wing, manged to get a half-decent shot away before half-time, but the angle was narrow and he failed to hit the target from just inside the box.

Thursday, 16 February 2017 16:31

West Lothian edge out Dundee in National Trophy

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West Lothian Schools' secured their place in the semi-final of the SSFA National Trophy courtesy of penalty shootout against Dundee Schools'. The visitors lead 2-0 early in the second half courtesy of goals from Taylor Shelvin and Nathan Donnelly-Kay, but the hosts fought back with goals from Adam Brown and Nathan Scott levelling the tie. Donnelly-Kay’s second of the match put the visitors back in front late on but there was still enough time remaining for Harry Dow to find the net and take the game to a penalty shootout, that West Lothian went on to win.

After a back and forth opening, the visitors went ahead after 10 minutes. West Lothian’s quick corner caught the Dundee defence, who could only stand and watch as Taylor Shelvin turned the ball in from close range.

Dundee responded well, as Finlay Baird set up Adam Brown, but the striker’s effort was wide of the mark. Nathan Donnelly-Kay forced Dundee keeper Fraser Burnett into a save after 18 minutes, before Dundee’s Blair Whyte volleyed wide from the top of the box.

The windy conditions were influencing the game, and nearly brought Dundee an equaliser as Lewis Finnie’s cross landed just wide of the West Lothian goal midway through the first half. The hosts felt they should have had a penalty after 36 minutes as Rory Faulkner went down inside the area, but the referee was unmoved despite the appeals.

West Lothian nearly doubled their lead five minutes before the break. A mistake from Finnie allowed Shelvin in one-on-one with Burnett, but the Dundee keeper came out on top as he pushed the shot away from danger.

Monday, 13 February 2017 17:42

Dundee see off Dunfermline in Development League

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A Nick Ross brace secured all three points for Dundee in their Development League fixture with Dunfermline. The former Inverness man struck twice in a matter of minutes just before half to ensure the victory for the Dark Blues.

Dundee were moving the ball well in the opening stages, but failed to test Cammy Gill in the Dunfermline goal. Evan Horne headed just wide for the visitors before Dundee’s Marc Klok fierce volley after 20 minutes was Gill’s first test. James Vincent headed Ian Smith’s cross wide not long after.

With just over half an hour gone, Dundee took the lead. Danny Williams won the ball high up the pitch and laid the ball back for Vincent, who found Ross, and the midfielder drilled the ball past Gill from the top of the box.

It took Dundee just four minutes to add a second. Sam Dryden’s cross was met by Ian Smith, who volleyed the ball across the face of goal to Ross, who steered the ball home from close range.

The Dees were threatening to run riot, as Williams saw his shot blocked by a Dunfermline defender before Gill made a fingertip save to push Ian Smith’s shot round the post. Vincent was next to have a go, but was also denied by Gill.

Tuesday, 07 February 2017 18:34

Dons beat Caley on rainy day

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It was a wet spectacle at Spain Park where 9th place Aberdeen welcomed 12th place Inverness Caledonian Thistle. 

Inverness had a bright start to the game and threatened the Aberdeen rearguard on a number of occasions however weren’t clear cut enough to test Robbie Mutch in the Aberdeen goal.

Dons boss Paul Sheerin handed starts to Miles Storey, Peter Pawlett and Jayden Stockley. Caley manager Duncan Shearer fielded a youthful side with only Alex Fisher over the age of 20.

The hosts took a while to get into the game and took the lead against the run of play after Storey played in Pawlett who went on a mazy run before firing home after 14 minutes.

Caley tried to get back into the game and Blair McLennan played in Fisher whose effort on target went straight to Robbie Mutch.

The visitors were made to pay for that chance when Aberdeen went 2-0 up after 28 minutes. Pawlett played in Storey and the former Caley forward tucked the ball home.

Aberdeen had a great opportunity to be in an even more comfortable position going into half time after a dangerous ball came in by Frank Ross which was met by the head of Harlain Mbayo whose goal bound attempt was blocked off the line by Chris Brown.

Tuesday, 07 February 2017 16:44

Dees beat Saints in basement battle

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Dundee moved off the foot of the Development League table with a 3-1 win over St Johnstone. A brace from Craig Wighton and a superb strike from Josh Skelly were enough for the Dees to take the points against Saints, who scored through Joseph Johnson.
The hosts were first to threaten inside the opening minute. Goalkeeper Ben Mackenzie’s long ball caught out the Dundee defence and allowed Michael Coulson in on goal, but his effort was straight at Kyle Gourlay.
Wighton’s first of the game came after just eight minutes. Daniel Higgins clipped the ball into the box and Wighton fired past Mackenzie from close range.
Saints took just two minutes to equalise, as Craig Thomson’s low drive was saved by Gourlay, into the path of Johnson, who back heeled the ball in from close range.
Johnson managed to get in behind the Dundee defence after 19 minutes, but was denied by Gourlay. Wighton brought a save out of Mackenzie on the half hour mark, before Faissal El Bakhtaoui volleyed Sam Dryden’s cross over from close range.
With half time approaching, Dundee went back in front. Ian Smith’s free kick was headed down by Kerr Waddell, into Wighton who poked the ball home from close range, after some poor Saints defending.
Monday, 06 February 2017 20:56

Airdrie battle past Moorlands to reach last four

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Airdrie survived a late onslaught from Moorlands Boys Club to reach the semi-finals of the SYFA Cup.
A goal early in the second half from Ross Dunbar was enough to see the Diamonds edge a closely fought encounter.
The game was played at a frantic pace and almost saw a goal in the opening two minutes. A ball played over the top found Moorlands’ Aaron McNeil wide on the left who hit a spectacular dipping volley, only for Airdrie keeper Tony Sharkey to tip it onto the crossbar.
Moorlands struck the bar again just minutes later, when Sean Monaghan shifted the ball onto his left foot and fired a shot from 20 yards against the woodwork.
Both teams struggled to keep hold of the ball and find a rhythm to their game, with some tasty challenges flying in. But Moorlands continued to create the better chances. This time striker Cameron Ralston dragged a shot just wide on 16 minutes after a good run by full-back Aiden McElhinney.
Airdrie managed to stem the tide thanks to some brilliant defending and combative midfield play, limiting the Uddingston side to fewer chances as the half wore on and creating a few of their own.
After 38 minutes striker Declan Wood showed good skill to beat two defenders and get sight of goal, only to have his shot blocked at the last second by the Moorlands’ defence.
Despite the driving rain, Dyce BC met Leith Athletic FC in the Scottish Cup quarter-final at Dyce Astro. In a competitive fixture, it was the Edinburgh-based side who secured their place in the semi-final with a 3-0 win. Thomas Ramage scored two of his team’s goals, with Rhys McMurdo also adding his name to the score sheet.
Leith could not have got off to a better start, pressing from the start through Strathy Mackay who drove the ball into the box. While Dyce tried to clear the danger, Thomas Ramage ran into the box and tapped the ball in from close range to open the scoring in the first minute.
The visitors continued to press, and Ramage drove forward and sent the ball inside to Rhys McMurdo who fired the ball just wide from the edge of the box.
Josh Byres made the first attack for the home side, breaking down the wing and sending the ball into the box from wide to the right but Lewis Owens headed it clear before Robbie Urquhart could run on to it.
Leith were soon on the attack again, and John Ward ran on to a promising ball in the box but it was smothered by Dyce goalkeeper, Harry Cowie.
Kacper Lewecki and Kyle Murphy linked well for Dyce to drive forward but Murphy’s shot from the edge of the box was caught by Leith goalkeeper, Jamie Smith.
The visitors were awarded a free kick twenty-five yards out. Owens sent the ball over the defensive wall but it was pushed over the crossbar by Cowie.
Reis Webster put the ball through to Byres who shot from twenty-eight yards but his shot went just wide.
End-to-end play continued, as Leith threatened again. Ramage shot from twenty yards and wide to the right but Cowie juggled to keep the ball out.
Dyce were looking dangerous again and earned a corner. Lewecki sent the ball into the box where it was headed clear by Ramage. However Byres followed up but his shot from thirty yards struck the crossbar and went over.
Ramage linked well with Ben Murray as they drove forward with some interchanging play. Ramage then put the ball out wide to Cameron Kerr who shot from twenty yards and wide to the right but it was cleared by Dyce’s defence, who were holding well after conceding the early goal.
It was the home side who were to have the last say of the half, with Lewecki running onto the ball and firing it into the box where it was headed clear by Ward. Dyce were awarded the corner and Ethan Walker sent the ball into the box where Webster challenged but it was headed clear by Mark Gibson.
Sunday, 05 February 2017 23:14

Blantyre battle into semi finals at EK's expense

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Blantyre SA Black booked a spot in the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup with a 2-0 victory over East Kilbride FC Blue, with two goals in eight minutes from Bradley Craig and Aaron Henderson sending the home side into the last four of the competition.
In a high tempo start to the game, Lewis Milligan went through on goal straight from kick-off and forced a very good save from David Malarky in the Blantyre goal. East Kilbride began the game the brighter of the two sides, and a good tackle from Justin Muir prevented Christopher Dukes streaking towards goal. Blantyre should have taken the lead through Logan Buick, who hit straight at Jacques Heraghty from point-blank range after a stunning cross from Shay Livingstone.
Bradley Craig had two chances in quick succession for the home side, first seeing his firm header blocked and then failing to spring the offside trap after a good ball from Aidan Kelly. Ruairidh Macgregor nearly capitalised on a mix up in the Blantyre defence and bet Malarky to the ball before seeing his lunging shot roll agonisingly wide; however, he was found to be offside anyway. Blantyre had a stone-wall penalty appeal turned down when Aaron Henderson was clearly tripped, but the referee had already blown for a foul on team-mate Shay Livingstone.
A stunning Cruyff-turn from Buick between two East Kilbride defenders led to him cleverly setting up Livingstone, but the latter could only drag his final shot wide of the post before Aaron McDougall collected the ball from a weak goal kick and saw his own shot saved. Mason Kelman and Blair Rossiter were struggling to impose themselves on the game as they had at the beginning of the half, especially with some strong defending from Kelly and Jay Swan for the opposition. Craig and Lyle Crothers went close for either side but neither could convert, and both teams went into half-time goalless.
Sunday, 05 February 2017 17:33

Penalty king Kyle saves Tynie's cup dream

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Ten man Tynecastle FC booked their place in the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup, following a penalty shootout against East Craigie Swifts. The visitors lost striker Matthew Dillon after 37 minutes, and fell behind at the start of the second half courtesy of Ewan Faulkner’s goal. With time against them, Alassan Jones scored in injury time to take the game into extra time, but the game was decided by a penalty shootout that saw keeper Kyle Wilson save two of the four East Craigie penalties, while his teammates all found the net, taking Tynecastle into the last four.
The visitors started on the front foot, with defender Andrew Mackay twice heading over the bar from corners inside the opening minutes. East Craigie’s first effort came from striker Kier Gardiner after 10 minutes, but the striker’s header was easily saved by Kyle Wilson.
The Tynecastle keeper was called into action three minutes later. Max Flucker’s free kick was diverted towards the bottom corner, and the keeper did well at full stretch to keep the ball out of the net.
It was clear for all in attendance at Craigie Park that the pitch wasn’t doing either side any favours. Despite the less than ideal conditions, both sets of players battled on. East Craigie keeper Charlie Kennedy was called into action after 19 minutes keeping out Charlie Green’s effort.
Next up, the hosts created their best chance of the half. Reece Lornie was sent through one on one with Wilson, but the keeper managed to get a fingertip to the ball and push it wide of the post. Despite starting on the back foot, East Craigie were beginning to grow into the game, while Tynecastle were about to be dealt a big blow.
In the closing minutes of the half Tynecastle were reduced to ten men, courtesy of a second yellow card. Things nearly went from bad to worse for the visitors as Gardiner managed to create space in the penalty box, but his effort went straight into the arms of Wilson.

Rangers sealed their place in the Scottish FA Youth Cup semi-final with a dominant 5-1 victory over Falkirk at Ibrox.

Although the score line suggests a one-sided demolition, Falkirk gave the home side a scare when Kevin O’Hara opened the scoring from the penalty spot, knocking in the rebound when his original effort was saved.

It proved to be a false dawn for the Bairns however, and two Jamie Barjonas goals of supreme quality put Rangers in control at half-time. It was one-way traffic from there and second-half strikes from Zak Rudden, Billy Gilmour, and Jack Thomson sealed the win.

The game started slowly as Rangers struggled to breakdown a defensively minded Falkirk side. There was no question they had come to Ibrox to try and frustrate Rangers’ normal quick pass-and-move game, with a 5-4-1 formation that left little room for the Gers to manoeuvre.

By leaving O’Hara up front on his own they were relying on keeping Rangers at bay and hoping for a goal on the break, using wingbacks Mark Finlayson and Cieran Dunne as an attacking threat, but for most of the first half they were stuck in defensive roles.

For the first 20 minutes the plan worked. Denied by the offside trap on a couple of occasions, Rangers failed to trouble the Falkirk keeper Lewis McMinn, who was only called into action to clear a long ball over the top from Ross McCrorie as an impatient Rangers went route one.

Falkirk’s patience bore fruit as they then got the break they were looking for. Striving to get back to stop a Rangers counter attack through Josh Jeffries, Finlayson won the ball and started a counter-counter-attack of their own. O’Hara eventually forced his way into the Rangers box and striked the ball off Aidan Wilson’s arm.

The referee blew for a penalty, but it looked a harsh decision with the Gers defender’s arm by his side and no intent obvious. O’Hara’s first attempt was saved by Robby McCrorie diving to his left but he couldn’t prevent the Falkirk striker burying the rebound.

Rangers certainly didn’t let their heads drop after conceding however and they evened the game up within five minutes in spectacular fashion.

Having forced a corner, Liam Burt whipped in a cross at the second attempt and found Wilson looking to make up for giving away the penalty. His diving header struck the post, before being half cleared out to Gers midfielder Barjonas 30-yards from goal.

Without hesitation the Spaniard struck a sweet effort into the far top corner, leaving McMinn rooted.

It was something special for the watching crowd to savour, and he had them cheering again on the half hour mark.

Jeffries seemed to be chasing a lost cause on the right flank, somehow keeping the ball in play on the by-line and finding a low cross towards Rudden.He was being too tightly marked to make anything of it but the Falkirk defence’s clearance again fell to Barjonas.

Significantly closer to goal this time, he picked his spot and again placed it in the corner away from McMinn who once more could only watch it nestle in the net.

Falkirk were on the ropes now and when Gilmour’s delicious chipped through ball sent Rudden in it looked like being 3-1 but for a dramatic saving tackle from Jonny Mitchell. It was fantastic last ditch defending from the Bairn’s centre half.

The away side weren’t completely out of it yet and knowing they had to go for an equaliser gave some freedom to wingbacks Finlayson and Dunne to push forward. They combined to almost great effect just before half-time with Dunne’s cross finding Finlayson unmarked in the box but his header was straight at McCrorie.

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