National Competitions (446)
Kevin O’Hara (Falkirk)
Hat-trick hero for the Bairns in a 3-0 win v Dundee. Nice to see Kevin’s hard work for club and country pay off at this level. A player with a real eye for goal and blistering pace.
Oli Shaw (Hibernian)
Keeps his place in TOTW again this week for a superb solo effort in a 2-1 win v Celtic on Tuesday. A win that sees his side leapfrog Hamilton into 2nd, well and truly back in the race for the title with 3 games left.
Calvin Miller (Celtic)
Davie Turnball (Motherwell)
Mark Lamont (Partick Thistle)
Fraser Murray (Hibernian)
Alistair McCann (St. Johnstone)
Michael McMullin (Partick Thistle)
Mark Finlayson (Falkirk)
Tony Gallacher (Falkirk)
Ben McKenzie (St. Johnstone)
Updated league table:
Next weeks key fixture: Ross County v Hibernian:
Top plays second in what is, undoubtedly, the biggest game of the season so far. With the home side taking a 4-point lead into the game over Hibs, you sense a County win would leave them with one hand firmly on the trophy.
Banks O’Dee Albion Under 17s made it into the Scottish Cup final for the 2nd year running after a 3-1 win over Giffnock Thistle at Crombie Park, Culter. Connor Wood and a Greg Pirie brace was enough for the Aberdeen outfit to make it into the showpiece event on the 14th May at the Excelsior Stadium where they will take on Syngenta Juveniles.
Albion 2000s has won every local domestic trophy since their inauguration into the competitive leagues and are already into the final of the Raymond Kelly Association Trophy and in the semi-finals of the Noskab Trophy.
Banks O’Dee Albion coach Patrick Ritchie shared his thoughts on the game when he said: “As Bruce McGregor mentioned, nobody ever remembers the quality of a semi-final you just remember the result and I think that was very much the case. It was a typical semi-final and wasn’t a great game but the result was the most important thing.
“I think it was a deserved victory, I don’t think Giffnock would have any complaints about the result as we were in control of the game however to be fair they came back into the game as they brought the game back to 2-1 before having a player sent off.
“The great thing is that we won’t be distracted by the game on May 14th as there is so much to play for in the ADJFA. Obviously we have the league and in a cup final already and then a semi-final this Saturday against Hermes. The boys are very much focused and want to finish this 5 year run being undefeated in Aberdeen and that’s the sole focus just now.
“To win the Scottish Cup in May would be the icing on the cake. There has been a lot of boys who have been on this journey for such a long time and to finish it off at 17s with a Scottish Cup win particularly after the experience we had last year being beat in the final by Rossvale then I think it’s very much unfinished business.
“We need to go down there and do ourselves justice this year. If you can’t describe us as the best ever Albion team then you can describe us as the most consistent. To get to a Scottish Cup semi-final at 15s, the final at 16s and the final again at 17s then the boys deserve a huge amount of credit for that level of consistency because it’s hard.
“There has been a few boys came in over the years and also boys who have moved on but the core of that team will be playing. The core of the team will be playing their second Scottish Cup final and the core of the team from Sunday was playing their third semi-final and you can’t buy that experience.”
Preparations for this year’s edition of the Centenary Shield are well underway for the Scotland Schoolboys Under 18s ahead of the tournament kicking off next month.
The yearly competition, which takes place between 3rd March and 6th April, is currently held by last year’s winners England. They have had the final say in much of the recent tournaments, winning four of the last six Centenary Shields, with the exceptions being Ireland in 2015 and Northern Ireland in 2013.
Set up in 1973 by the Scottish FA to commemorate their centenary year, the competition was last won outright by the Scots in 2000, whilst they also become joint winners with Northern Ireland in 2011. Scotland have also won the competition on three previous occasions prior to 2000.
Scotland have so far played a series of friendlies in the last few months to get up to speed and gel as a side, the first of them coming against Alloa back in December at Toryglen, in a tight affair which finished 1-1.
Soon after, early February rolled around and Scotland faced Australia in their first international friendly, at New Western Park. This friendly was considerably more exciting than the last, as the two sides played out a 3-3 thriller in Renfrew. Scotland’s goals that day came courtesy of Luc Bollan and Ciaran Dunne, who scored the second of his double with a penalty, deep into injury-time.
Later in the month Scotland played their penultimate friendly before kicking the tournament off against England on the 5th March, as they ran out convincing winners in a 5-0 demolition of Sporting Futures USA. In their first win since playing together, Scotland had four different goalscorers on the day, with Dunne, Sweeney, Ballantyne and Brown contributing to the healthy and much-needed win.
With a final friendly to follow on 21st February against Stirling University, Scotland will be full of confidence heading into their opening game of the tournament at Cappielowe, as they seek to beat ‘The Auld Enemy’ for the first time since 2011; on that occasion, they ran out 1-0 winners in Inverness.
After the opening contest against England, Scotland then travel to Bala on 17th March to face a Welsh side who they have toppled in two of their last three meetings, winning 5-1 and 2-1 respectively. However, the Welsh won the last meeting of the two, last year in Inverurie, running out victors by the solitary goal.
Scotland wrap up the tournament with ties against Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, travelling to Belfast on the 31st of March, before hosting the latter in Stirling a week later, the final match of the tournament.
The vast majority of Scotland’s side all hail from different schools from across Scotland, varying from Dundee to Glasgow and Stranraer to Dunblane. Stewart Melville’s College in Edinburgh is the one of the only places to boast two players, those being Cieran Dunne and Nathan Brown, both goalscorers in recent friendlies. The other school which contains more than one player is Graeme High School in Falkirk, where Ross Connelly and Kyle Banner both attend.
Kieran Sweeney is undoubtedly one of the main goal threats for the Scots. The striker, who attends St.Kentigern's Academy in Blackburn, has found the back of the net on three occasions thus far for his side in friendlies, with a brace against Sporting Futures USA to add to his equaliser against Alloa at the back end of last year.
Cieran Dunne is also tied with Sweeney for most goals in friendlies up until now. The Stewart Melville’s College student bagged a double against Australia at the start of the month, as well as opening the scoring in the rout against Sports Futures a few weeks later.
Scotland may head into the competition as underdogs, but if they display some of the quality already shown in recently friendlies then they may stand a chance of breaking their drought.
The Scotland squad for the 2017 Centenary Shield is as follows: