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National Competitions (422)

Scotland went into their last group stage game of the Toulon Tournament knowing that a win against a solid Indonesia side would all but secure entry into the semi-finals of the tournament for the first time since 1994. Despite the underdogs taking the lead through Hanis Saghara Putra, Archie Gemmill’s side found two goals courtesy of Rangers striker Ryan Hardie to set up a semi-final clash against arch rivals England.

Scotland controlled the early proceedings of the game, as expected, and were inches way from a dream start in the 8th minute. After a lovely through ball, Aiden Nesbitt found himself through on goal with just Muahammad Riyandi in the Indonesian goal to beat, but his effort struck the post and was cleared.

Craig Wighton was next to come close for the favourites midway through the first half after he was able to round Riyandi and find an angle to shoot, unfortunately for him though, the angle was too tight and he could only find the side netting.

The first goal only looked like a matter of Scotland, but in the 24th minute, it didn’t come the way they were expecting.

After some questionable defending where Scotland failed to clear their lines, Putra Saghara was onto the loose ball in a flash and managed to steer a low shot beyond the grasp of Jack Ruddy to put Scotland’s chances of group qualification in peril. A real shock was on the cards.

Hardie came close to levelling the scores instantly as he got past Riyandi, but his strike was placed wide of the post.

In the 33rd minute Hardie – who had a loan spell at Raith Rovers lasts season – went one better. On the edge of the box, it seemed as if a shooting chance was unlikely, but Hardie thought otherwise, as he curled an effort right into the top corner well beyond the reach of Riyandi to level the scoring. Despite being slightly shocked by the goal, Scotland were able to hit back with the perfect response.

The score could have swung in the Scots favour barely a minute before half-time as Wighton did his best to imitate his striker partner and curled a decent effort from just outside the box, but Riyandi – not for the first time – was alert to produce an acrobatic save, before parrying away a solid shot from Adam Frizzell.

Moorlands were crowned champions yet again on Sunday after beating Hamilton BC 4-0 to secure their third cup in three weeks. 

You could tell from an early stage that Moorlands were raring for the final and it didn’t take them long to register their first chance as on the second minute tricky winger Aaron McNeil cut in on the inside to beat one defender and curled in a sizzling shot which was saved by Accies goalkeeper Kevin Craw. 

Shortly after that, Moorlands had a header bounce of the post after a cross in was knocked back into the six-yard box by Logan Jackson. 

Ten minutes later, Moorlands right back Aiden McElhinney raced away from deep in his own half, shrugging of a challenge from an oncoming Hamilton defender and provided a fantastic cross into the box, giving Michael Clarke one of the easiest goals he’ll ever score. And with that Moorlands took a deserved 1-0 lead in the CKDYL Knockout Cup Final.

Despite being a goal down, Accies made some threatening attacks. One of these coming from Sean McGuiness after he made a great run down the left wing ,but was consequently brought down by Adam Berry. The resulting free kick was fired straight into the keeper. 

On the 32nd minute it was time for McNeil to create another chance and that’s what he did when he passed the ball to Jack Caldwell who fired a righted footed shot from around 25 yards out on target. However yet again, Craw was on hand to keep Hamilton in the game by making a diving save to his right.

Although Hamilton could not restrain their opposition any longer as from the resulting corner, Moorlands doubled their advantage. An in-swinging corner from McNeil was met with a diving header from McElhinney who turned provider to goal-scorer and gave his side a two goal cushion with just over ten minutes of the half to play.

Hamilton did have a couple of chances before the end of the first half to get one back. The first came when McNeil’s pass back to keeper Graeme Milne was far too short, giving Stuart McIntyre the chance to shoot towards an open, however he was foiled by Berry.

Following this, some good link up play between John Rowan, Dean Burton and McIntyre looked promising for Hamilton, unfortunately this good play went unaccounted for as the linesman ruled Rowan to be offside and with that the referee blew for half time. 

 

St Peter the Apostle High School scored a last-minute winner to break St Mungo’s High School hearts in the U18 Scottish Schools’ Football Association Shield Final at Ochilview on Tuesday night.

The earlier rain cleared up just in time to produce perfect conditions for the highly-anticipated final at Stenhousemuir, in a thrilling encounter which ended 4-3 to St Peter the Apostle.

It was, however, St Mungo’s who started brightest, with early pressure forcing a corner, although the resulting delivery was well dealt with by Bethany Kerr in the St Peter goal.

Both number 9’s - Rosie Mcquillan for St Peter and Chelsea Mceachron for St Mungo’s – showed their ability early on with fantastic quick feet, and it was Mcquillan who found Niamh Gallacher, whose well struck shot was the first of the game.

St Mungo’s soon replied with their first attempt on goal on the five-minute mark, with Megan Gallagher creating space to fire at Kerr, who parried well as Emma Kennedy’s follow-up shot went close.

The deadlock was broken on the ten minute mark when a stray ball fell at the feet of Mcquillan, who beat the offside trap and opened up her body at the edge of the area, before releasing a left-footed strike that sailed over Rose Ferguson and into the back of the net; 1-0 St Peter the Apostle.

Brave defending from St Peter centre back Nicole Cameron kept the lead intact as St Mungo’s searched for an equaliser, yet it was the side in front who came close to a second as Yasmin Boyce lined up a 30-yard free-kick.

Ferguson would not be beaten this time however as she tipped the thunderous strike onto the crossbar, before pouncing on the stray ball to keep her side in the game.

Cameron was once again on hand to stop a flowing St Mungo’s counter attack headed by Mceachron, and the centre back then turned provider for Mcquillan, but the forward’s hopeful cross from the left was dealt confidently by Kerr.

The game was levelled on the brink of half-time as Orla King whipped in a dangerous ball from deep in her own half, with the stray ball bouncing awkwardly and hitting a St Peter hand on the way through, and so the referee had no option but to award a penalty.

Megan Gallagher stepped up confidently and dispatched the consequent penalty into the top corner, with Kerr helpless in the St Peter goal; 1-1. 

St Peters lifted the Scottish Youth FA Cup despite being three goals down with just 15 minutes of normal time left to play. The remarkable comeback saw the Saints defeat a bitterly-disappointed Syngenta Juveniles, who cannot help but wonder at what could have been.

Syngenta kicked off but it was St Peters who would dominate the opening 15 minutes. The first chance of the match fell to Saints’ Darren Rafferty following a short corner. Rafferty turned his defender and fired a shot straight at opposition keeper Ryan Dick.

Rafferty then came close from another corner, this time taken long. Lewis McGregor floated the ball into the box where Rafferty headed narrowly over from eight yards.

Immediately after Rafferty then showcased his impressive athleticism with a powerful run from the left-back position, driving through the Syngenta midfield before firing a tame effort from 30 yards.

The next chance fell once again to Rafferty after he sprinted down the left wing, cut inside at the edge of the box before fizzing a right-footed shot wide of the far post.

Syngenta’s first chance manifested when centre-forward Finlay Malcolm charged from midfield into the St Peters box, sliding in Jamie Stewart who tamely prodded the ball towards Jacob Pazikas.

Syngenta then took the lead when Malcolm sprinted through for a one-on-one with Pazikas who parried Malcolm’s effort wide, when Stewart tapped the ball into an empty net from a tight angle. Until this point, St Peters had conceded a solitary goal in their entire cup run.

Jamie Lapsley came close to doubling Syngenta’s lead after a high corner from William Seagust fell at his feet but the ball struck his standing leg and rolled out harmlessly for a goal kick.

The Saints then came close to equalising shortly before half-time. McGregor got on the end of a long ball down the left wing and passed infield to central midfielder Robbie Scullion, who then slipped an inviting ball across the face of the Syngenta goal but the defence managed to clear the ball to safety.

Spartans FC have been crowned Under 15 Scottish Youth FA Cup champions after narrowly beating Glenvale AFC.

With no goals separating the teams at full time, Lee Ewing’s men came out on top with a 4-2 victory in the penalty shootout.

From the first whistle, you could tell the Excelsior stadium was going to play host to a very tight final and that is how it turned out to be. Glenvale enjoyed some early chances with the first of these coming in the 17th minute as Harry Pittaway narrowly headed wide.

Spartans also created several chances of their own as Joseph Evenden’s shot went just over the bar following good passing movement with Lorca Gray on the left side of goal.

Not long after that Spartans striker Nicholas Reid did well to get a shot on target after manging to get into the box, however Vale keeper Aiden McMahon was there to keep the scores level.

Sean Borland was the Vale’s star player in the first half dominating the midfield and creating his team a host of chances. One of these came just before the half hour mark as Borland played a clever one two with Brian Connor just outside the box, then Borland fizzed a first time shot only to be denied by Spartans goalkeeper Niall McFadden.

Borland was proving to be a handful as moments later his free kick from the left-hand side forced McFadden to punch the ball away from his area. A minute later, the Glenvale midfielder put in another good ball from the same area forcing another punching save from McFadden.

Jack Crombie was the main playmaker for Spartans as he retained the ball well in midfield and pulled off some great passes for his fellow teammates.

With keepers in both ends pulling off some great saves, there was nothing to separate the sides going into half time. 

Barrhead YFC 2003s produced a terrific second-half display to overcome Banks O' Dee Albion 2003s 4-1 in their Inspiresport Scottish Cup final on Sunday.

Both sides had been in terrific goal-scoring form in their run to the final, but after a cagey first half in which both sides cancelled each other out, Barrhead showed a clinical edge in the final third - scoring some terrific goals in the process.

Barrhead started the brighter, keeping the ball well and playing some terrific combinations down the left-hand side through Dylan Noone and the exceptional Paul O'Hare.

O'Hare would become a real focal point for everything good about Barrhead, with his pace and trickery down the left causing Albion countless problems.

An early counter-attack from Barrhead saw O'Hare whip in a terrific cross to the back-post for the unmarked Vincent Scott, but on the stretch he just couldn't get a clean connection and saw his effort fly high and wide.

However, despite not having the best of the opening exchanges, Albion stunned Barrhead when they took the lead after 15 minutes. A hopeful cross into the box saw Noah Campbell fail to punch clear, and Lyle Innes pounced opportunistically to give Albion the lead.

The goal sparked both teams into life in the midfield, but emerging standouts for Albion were Innes and Jordan Lynch, as both drove their team forward with surging runs from the midfield. Lynch at one stage bulldozed his way through the Barrhead defence, but fluffed his shot as the recovering defenders cleared.

Being 1-0 down never deflated Barrhead however, with O'Hare continuing to get the ball down the left and create with his clever movement and direct running towards Albion's defence. Several decent moments came from him, but it looked as though Albion were relatively comfortable in defence.

They'll be disappointed at how they conceded their equaliser. A corner from Noone was curled into the area, and with several Albion defenders leaping to clear it, it came off one of the unfortunate defenders and into their own net.

The equaliser brought a scrappy end to the first half in which both sides cancelled each other out. O'Hare's influence had waned towards the end of the opening period as the game was turned into a battle in the midfield and full of loose balls.

However, quality was on show for the majority of the half, and they went in at the break deservedly level.

It was Albion with the strong start of the two teams, but Syngenta with the first real effort on goal in the 4th minute as a powerful drive from Flynn Gray was blocked by Cameron Imrie, that certainly wasn't the last time the skipper would put his body on the line.
 
A minute later, Syngenta were in again as Flynn Gray was played through and looked certain to open the scoring, but an absolutely wonderful save from Vitali Sahhalivtis in the Albion goal ensured the match remained goalless.
 
The opening ten minutes seen Banks O'Dee have a lot more of the ball but Syngenta with the more clear cut of the chances, but their number 1 controlling his box very well with some confident catches.
 
The breakthrough came after just thirteen minutes, with Ali Shrive playing a lovely one-two on the edge of the Syngenta box with Greg Pirie, and the former showed a very cool and composed head the slot the ball in to the bottom corner to give Albion a deserved lead. 
 
Syngenta tried to level things up two minutes later with a very long ranged free kick from Josh Brown, which was spilled by the keeper but was gathered at the second attempt with little danger.
 
However, two minutes later, Syngenta Juveniles did level things up. Fantastic play down the right hand side seen George MacDonald play a nice one-two with Flynn Gray, with MacDonald running right down to the byline, drawing in a couple of defenders and the keeper, he then cut it back to Callan Stone who had the simple task of slotting it in to the empty net.
 
After their goal, Syngenta really started to cause some problems, mainly through George MacDonald who was causing a lot of issues down the right wing, with good link up play with Flynn Gray and Sean Fagan as they looked to capitalise on their good spell. 
 
But it was Banks O'Dee who nearly took the lead for the second time on the half hour mark, with Ali Shrive looking for his second with a strike from twenty-five yards out, a very powerful, looping effort, but the keeper showed great agility the get a strong right hand to it and put it over the bar.
 
The thirty-third minute saw the first substitution of the game, as Connor Wood made way for Mark Reid, with this turning out the be a very good move from the Albion boss as Reid would be pivotal to them getting the result they were after.
 
Syngenta had a big chance to go in front as MacDonald played the ball across the box to Callan Stone who took a touch, and just has he went to get his shot away from 10 yards out, Jason Ritchie comes flying in with a fantastic challenge to ensure the his number one wasn't tested.
 
The last chance of the half seen MacDonald heavily involved again, as he once again combined with Flynn Gray, with MacDonald showing a lovely bit of skill to see off Calum Beattie, losing a boot in the process, but the winger went on regardless to get a decent shot away but was comfortably turned around for a corner.l effort on goal in the 4th minute as a powerful drive from Flynn Gray was blocked by Cameron Imrie, that certainly wasn't the last time the skipper would put his body on the line.

After their heroic win at Dingwall on Monday night, Accies had given themselves one final chance to leapfrog Ross County and clinch the Development League crown at new Douglas Park. Try as they might though, Accies just couldn’t find the magic to overcome Celtic on the night. Ross County could finally celebrate.

Fittingly, Stuart Kettlewell’s players will receive their trophy to the acclaim of Staggies fans at their home SPL fixture with Accies next Tuesday. It marks the culmination of Kettlewell and his back room staff’s hard work in developing the best footballing talent in the Highlands, with the likes of Dylan Dykes, Ben Malcolm and Greg Morrison now pushing for a first team start in Jim McIntyre’s XI.

Guilleme Beuzelin’s young Accies side meanwhile will reflect on what might have been. On a day when a CIES Football Observatory report ranked the club the highest in the UK for the percentage of first team minutes played by home grown players, there is still plenty to be proud of. Four or five players from the youth system regularly feature in Martin Canning’s first team line ups, with players such as Steven Boyd and Ryan Tierney tipped next for the conveyer belt of talent.

Before a hopeful crowd of 1270, Accies also drew on the experience of former Rangers and Hearts striker David Templeton. He was at the heart of their best chances on the night, both sides carrying more threat in the opening 45 minutes.

And it could have been a very different night had Accies pounced on their best opening of the match, after just 4 minutes, with Boyd’s edge of box effort parried away by Conor Hazard from Jack Breslin’s cut back. It was to be another half hour before Accies could next seriously test the Celtic keeper, this time as Tierney and Templeton linked up twice for chances in quick succession.

Hazard was alert on both occasions, showing bravery to dive at Templeton’s feet on 34 minutes, before tipping over the striker’s header a minute later from Tierney’s cross to the far post.

Celtic came even closer though, striking the woodwork on 18 minutes after Regan Hendry released Calvin Miller in the box. From a tight angle he watched as his shot hit the inside of the post and clear.

Aberdeen saw off Dundee by two goals to nil in the final Development League game of the season. A brace from Scott Wright secured all three points for the Dons against a Dundee side that featured David Mitchell, Kosta Gadzhalov, Danny Williams and Henrik Ojamaa.

Aberdeen started the game on the front foot, Dean Campbell brought a save out of David Mitchell after 10 minutes. Chris Antoniazzi then glanced a header just wide.

Scott Wright’s surging run after 21 minutes resulted in another chance for Antoniazzi, but the Aberdeen man didn’t test Mitchell with his shot. Henrik Ojamaa had the Dees first real chance after 24 minutes, but his volley was saved by Aberdeen goalkeeper David Craddock. 60 seconds later, the Dons took the lead.

Reigan Thomson bundled Connor McLennan over inside the penalty area leaving the referee with little choice but to point to the spot.

Wright stepped up and sent Mitchell the wrong way as the ball nestled in the bottom right corner.

The Dons had a golden opportunity to double their lead three minutes later, but Antoniazzi was denied by Mitchell, before he sent his half volley off target.

With two minutes of the first half remaining, the Dons did get their second. The ball broke loose to Wright at the top of the box and the winger made no mistake as he rifled the ball past Mitchell from 15 yards.

 

It was the second comfortable Old Firm victory at Hampden for Celtic in four days as their u20s side dismantled Rangers with a masterful display in a 3-0 win. Captain Sam Wardrop opened the scoring in the 37th minute before Calvin Miller doubled their lead moments before the break. Flying fullback Aidan McIlduff made sure of Celtic’s 15th win in the competition with their third. They had plenty of chances to add to their lead while Rangers were left chasing shadows.

Celtic came close to opening the scoring three times in the opening ten minutes. Aidan Nesbitt’s cutback was inches away from Calvin Miller who would surely have scored had he made any contact on the slide, while Nesbitt himself was similarly close with a header that went just by.

Rangers were under siege and Robby McCrorie had to be smart to keep out an Anthony Ralston cross that almost snuck in at the near post. A yellow card for a reckless Aidan Wilson challenge was as close as Rangers could come to stamping any authority on the game.

While Rangers eventually settled and managed to halt Celtic’s procession of chances, they were struggling to get the ball forward to mount any attacks of their own. The midfield was being bypassed in favour of long balls which left creative talent like Billy Gilmour as virtual bystanders and they failed to get Zak Rudden or Serge Atakayi to cut in from the wings in support of Dallas. It took until almost half an hour for Rangers to register a shot at goal, a wild effort from Atakayi.

Atakayi did show just what he is capable of moments later, latching on to a Jamie Barjonas ball over the top and forcing a Celtic defender into a last ditch clearance as his cross swung through the danger zone.

But it was a false dawn for Rangers.

Just when it looked like the half was in danger of failing to live up to the opening ten minutes, Celtic took a deserved lead. After winning a corner at the back post and putting a dangerous ball back across goal which no one got on the end of, Celtic captain Sam Wardrop must have thought his chances of helping his side score had faded. But the ball came back in and this time Wardrop took it down in the box himself and drove a low effort into the back of the net through a crowd of players.

Then, in the last piece of action before the half time whistle, they made it two. Rangers captain Ross McCrorie badly misjudged a long ball, only serving to head it perfectly into the path of Calvin Miller who took it round the other McCrorie and made it 2-0.

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