A “resilient” Musselburgh Windsor side can’t wait to test themselves against Donside Girls in the SWF U13s Youth Scottish Cup Final.
Musselburgh edged past Kilmarnock Blues on penalties in the semi-final back in September to set up the meeting with the Aberdeenshire side at Oriam this Saturday.
And coach Michael Windram knows it will be a fantastic occasion:
“It’s great for two smaller, community clubs to have reached this stage,” he said. “There’s a huge mutual respect between us and our girls are thoroughly looking forward to playing them.”
It’s been an exciting road to the final for a Musselburgh side that reached the last 16 in 2017 and were keen to improve on that in this year’s tournament; impressive early round victories against Queen of the South Whites, Dryburgh Girls, Inverkeithing Hillfield Strollers, Celtic and Boroughmuir Thistle Purples saw them notch up over 40 goals.
But it was a far nervier affair when they met Kilmarnock Blues at Toryglen in the semi-final, with the team displaying a steel and ability to dig in that’s crucial for any successful team:
“To be honest I think in the first half Kilmarnock were the much better side, but we kept ourselves in the game,” Windram admitted. “At half time I think the girls relaxed and started playing better football.
“When it came to the shoot-out, I don’t think the girl that took the last penalty realised that if she scored we were through, which helped because it took the pressure off.
“But it was a nerve-wracking experience – probably even more so for the parents.”
Getting over the line against Kilmarnock is indicative of the strength of character Musselburgh have throughout the squad and is a huge factor in their success this season:
“There’s a strong core to these girls,” Windram said. “The word for us all season has been resilience, and they’ve shown that time and time again.
“Regardless of whether we’re winning, drawing or getting beat, the willingness to step up and be counted is something each and every one of them has.”
They’ll need that character to be on full display this Saturday; in Donside they’re up against a team that has looked equally as impressive en route to the final, and Windram knows his side will need to be at their best if they’re going to head home with the trophy:
“Obviously, if we play to our potential then we have every chance,” he said. “We’ve watched bits and pieces of Donside highlights and they’re an excellent team, so it should make for an exciting final.
“Our girls need to relax and enjoy it first and foremost, and from there the result will come for us.”
Whilst the result isn’t guaranteed, what we do know for sure is that Musselburgh will be backed by a large support; Windram explains how his sides cup run has captured the imagination of the town.
He said: “I suspect there will be between 100 and 200 Musselburgh Windsor fans there on the day.
“It’s massive for the club, but the town and local media like the Musselburgh Courier have picked up on the story as well.
“It’s just such a big thing for our club to be involved in something like this.”