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Aberdeen gearing up for Scottish Cup semi-finals

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A big weekend awaits Aberdeen FC Ladies with the 13s and 15s participating in Scottish Cup semi-finals in Forfar. YFS North Region reporter and Aberdeen FCL Press Officer David Reid caught up with both camps ahead of the game. We start off with the 13s who reached the Scottish Cup final last season. Here is what Scott McDougall had to say. This game is an 11am kick off at Market Muir.
 
Aberdeen under 13s girls reached the Scottish Cup final last season however were defeated in the final. Scott McDougall's side are back again in the latter stages of the competition and Bayside Girls stand in their way at Market Muir, Forfar on Sunday morning.
 
DR: First of all, how is the team looking forward to the game?
 
SM: Our girls have not had much chance to think about the Semi Final until Thursday night when we got them together for a terrific team bonding session on the pitch at Pittodrie for the Betfred Cup quarter-final between Aberdeen and St Johnstone.  Following that the girls are buzzing. We will have a light session with them on Saturday morning then it’s the game on Sunday.
 
DR: You reached the Scottish Cup final last season however you won’t be taking anything for granted I take it?
 
SM: Last year was a terrific experience for our girls and we have been fortunate that the majority have still been young enough to participate in this year’s competition, indeed 4 of the girls can still compete in next year’s U13 competition too which really says a lot about the pathway we have at our club.
 
DR: Every game in the Scottish Cup this season excluding the first round victory over Central has all been away with trips to Clark Drive, Celtic and Hearts so the team has done a fair bit of travelling this season?
 
SM: Yes and I've been the driver for a number of those trips!! It’s definitely challenging to play in the Scottish Cup knowing because of where we stay there is a high probability we will have to make long trips in the Scottish Cup. The girls have clocked up almost 1000 miles playing in this years tournament but these trips have been a lot of fun and we have made lots of new friends at the clubs we have visited. Our parents deserve huge credit for the support they provide no matter where our girls play. We really are so grateful for their help.
 
DR:  Bayside are currently top of the East 13s Fife League with a 100% record so a difficult task lies in wait for you?
 
SM: Bayside have had a terrific season. Like ourselves they have nurtured a very young squad over the past few years and they have already shown how good they are by progressing against other teams from our region, including our other Aberdeen team. I think it’s wonderful for the development of football throughout Scotland that Bayside have made it through to their first Scottish Cup Semi Final and hopefully this will encourage even more girls in their region to consider developing their talents at the club.
 
DR: What would it mean as a team if you were to reach the Scottish Cup final?
 
SM: Team is very much the appropriate word. From our Lets Co-ordinator to our Chairperson, from our Head Coach to our primary coaches it’s a massive team effort across many years. It’s been an amazing achievement to get 2 teams through to the semi-finals of our national competition at 13s and 15s and no matter the result in both I really do hope that it shows other clubs throughout the country that clubs from our region are producing individual players and teams that can compete with the best that Scotland has to offer. As a club we need to use these type of higher profile tournaments to showcase our player pathway, encourage more girls to play football which can only help to drive up standards so that in years to come more teams can share in these types of achievements.
 
DR: Thanks Scott and good luck on Sunday
 
SM: No problem David, here’s hoping it’s a successful weekend for Aberdeen Ladies.
 
Aberdeen Ladies are hosting Forfar Farmington at Sunnybank on Sunday afternoon however 52 miles down the road at Forfar the under 15s will be looking to get themselves into the SWF Under 15s Youth Scottish Cup final when they take on Farmington. David Reid caught up with John Dickie to preview this encounter. This is a 1:30pm kick off at Station Park.
 
DR: First of all, how is the team looking forward to the game?
 
JD: The 15s girls are excited to be playing in the Semi Final however we are taking it as just another game.
 
DR: You have had three away trips in the Scottish Cup already away this season to Glasgow City 14s and Celtic 14s and also a much shorter trip to play Westdyke. It’s these type of trips that help with team bonding and will this be vital ahead of this game in Forfar?
 
JD: The players are used to travelling as we have taken them away to a number of tournaments to allow them to play against a number of Central teams. The game was originally going to played in Kilwinning however the fact that we have managed to get the venue changed to Forfar is a great help and saves an overnight stay but the girls are disappointed as they always enjoy their time together on the road.
 
DR: In the quarter-final away to Celtic, Emily Mutch stole the headlines with some of the saves she made in the game however overall
and it was a good team performance coming down from 2-0 to force extra time then winning the game during that period?
 
JD: Emily Mutch had an excellent game with some outstanding saves which kept us in the game, especially in overtime when the legs were heavy. The squad was short due to injuries and other commitments so I was especially pleased to see the girls dig deep and show character to win the tie in extra time. After regular performances like the Celtic game I can’t understand why Emily was not picked for the Scotland under 15s national squad, the 3 goal keepers that made the squad must be something special.
 
DR: Forfar Farmington are currently 4th in the East Region 15s league, does playing in an Under 16s league give yourselves any advantages?
 
JD: I don’t pay any attention to league positions as in cup competitions it is how you play on the day. A lot of the teams we face get confused between ourselves and our youth team who also play in the under 16s league. The 16s league has its pros and cons but I feel that our squad has coped well against the older teams in the league and grown more confident because of it.
 
DR: What would it mean for everyone at AFCL if you were to reach the Scottish Cup final?
 
JD: It would mean the world to myself and fellow coaches Doug Knowles and Kim McRobbie, especially for the years of battling against the norm with us putting player development before winning.
 
DR: Thanks John and good luck on Sunday.
 
JD: No problem David, here’s hoping we can reach Toryglen!
 
David also caught up with 15s players Eilidh Shore and Emma Rogers ahead of their fixture against Forfar. Here's what they had to say starting with Eilidh.
 
DR: How are you and the team looking forward to the game?
 
ES: I think it will be another tough game for us, but we’re looking forward to it. We have proved that we are capable of winning games, so we hope to get into the final.
 
DR: Talk us through the season so far, it’s been a good season to date with the team undefeated in the league?
 
ES: It’s been a very good season so far, and we hope to remain undefeated for the whole season. We still have a few tough games left, so we’ll need to work hard and keep up the same standard.
 
DR: It’s been a good road in the Scottish Cup going down to Celtic and Glasgow City 14sand picking up wins?
 
ES: We’re used to being on the road as we normally get drawn away from home in the Scottish Cup, so all the travelling is no problem for our team. Both our ties against Celtic and Glasgow City 14s were exciting games, where we managed to find a way through.
 
DR: Forfar are 4th in the East Region 15s league, does playing in an Under 16s league give yourselves any advantages?
 
ES: I don’t feel we have any advantage as Forfar play in a different league, so it is hard to compare. A lot of the teams in our league have younger players anyway.
 
DR: What would it mean as a team if you were to reach the Scottish Cup final?
 
ES: It would be a great achievement, as it’s our first time in the 15’s Scottish Cup as a team. We have had some difficult opponents, but we’ve worked hard together to get this far.
 
DR: Thanks Eilidh and good luck on Sunday.
 
ES: No problem David.
 
Emma Rogers looked ahead to the fixture by saying:
 
DR: How are you and the team looking forward to the game?
 
ER: We are really excited to be playing the game and to be in the cup semi-final.  There will be a few nerves on the day but we will be treating it as a normal weekly game.
 
DR: Talk us through the season so far, it’s been a good season to date with the team undefeated in the league?
 
ER: The team has put in some great performances in the games on a weekly basis so far.  The effort in training has paid off in the games and the will power to win is beginning to show itself.  We have had some away games and stepped up to the challenges.  Therefore I believe the unbeaten run is well deserved.
 
DR: It’s been a good road in the Scottish Cup going down to Celtic and Glasgow City 14s and picking up wins?
 
ER: In these particular games, we have put in good shifts from each individual with some outstanding performances.  Also our team spirit helped us through in extra time against Celtic despite initially being 2-0 down before taking Celtic to extra time before winning the game.
 
DR: Forfar are 4th in the East Region 15s league, does playing in an under 16s league give yourselves any advantages?
 
ER: It does not necessarily give us any advantage.  However, having the extra experience will help us out, although league and cup games are very different and depend on the way we play on the day.  As a result neither team is at an advantage or disadvantage.
 
DR: What would it mean as a team if you were to reach the Scottish Cup final?
 
ER: It would be brilliant to reach the cup final. It would mean the world to each and every one of us including the coaches.  The coaches have worked so hard and supported us in this cup campaign.
 
DR: Thanks Emma and good luck on Sunday.
 
ER: Thanks David

David Reid | YFS North Region Journalist
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