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South West Region (177)

Some say the Barclay’s premier league is the best league in the world, with the most competitive, the most enthralling, and the most upsets. Does it have five teams separated by only four points and all vying to claim top spot come the end of the season? No, didn’t think so. However, the Central Ayrshire Youth FA U14’s division has exactly that.
With around eight games into the league season nobody would have expected such a closely fought battle from so many sides that we currently have on our hands. AC Irvine sit top of the pile with 20 points while KSC Barca are the back runners in fifth on sixteen points. Largs Colts, Valspar FC, and Coylton FC are the remaining teams which make up this five way title race.
As a result of the fine margins which currently separate the teams, there are undoubtedly going to be exhilaration, deflation and a plethora of changes in league positions before the season is out. If being crowned Champions at the end of the season is the goal, with this division being so tightly balanced, then you must aim to be taking the three points against your fellow challengers on as many occasions as possible.
AC Irvine head coach Chris echoed this view “It’s been a cracking start for us and we’ve been involved in some really competitive games that could’ve gone either way.
I really don’t think there’s any room for complacency in the league as it’s already proving to be a division where just about anyone can take points off of each other. As a club, our aim is consistency! If we can build up good form and carry that from game to game, week to week, we’ll be up there challenging.”
Largs Colts only sit two points behind top of the table AC Irvine and head coach secretary and Campbell Coupar is thrilled with the freshness the division is providing. “As expected the league is highly competitive this season with teams from the west and CAYFA coming together. The variety of teams to play is great and keeps it fresh. It’s been good meeting like-minded coaches and we are pleased with the start the Colts have made, in particular the style of pass and move football being played.”
Having such a tightly fought league can only be a positive and to see so many teams in the running to win the title is refreshing as the coaches from the various teams have stated.
Valspar FC coach Richard McNulty is delighted that the league has so many teams vying for top spot “The league has been really competitive this year with some really close games. There is a long way to go this year with another 26 league games still to play so we are not getting carried away.
We have started well and had that bit of luck you need at times, but I genuinely believe there could be as many six teams all fighting for top spot at the end of the season.”
With a full card of fixtures on Sunday there will be a whole host of changes to league standings come the end of the 70 minutes and undoubtedly for the rest of the season. This is the league to keep an eye on. Barclay’s Premier league, eat your heart out and make way for the CAYFA U14’s division.

Fixture: Bonnyton Thistle v Largs Colts U14
Competition: Scottish Cup 
Venue: Grange Academy
Date: 27/09/2015

Colts bowed out of the Scottish Cup on penalties after an exciting game away at Bonnyton. In all honesty Colts had enough chances in the first half alone to win the game comfortably, but that’s football.

Colts lined up with Irwin in goal and a back four of Loudon, Weir, Robson and Leishman. In midfield Largs had R.Coupar, Bainbridge, Cormack and McTaggart with Smith and Brown up front. Colts took five subs down to Kilmarnock to cover for any injuries with J.Coupar, Dalglish, Blair, Florence and Wilson covering.

The early stages were open before Colts started to see more of the ball and create a few chances. On five minutes, McTaggart found Smith who struck wide of the target. Colts' first real effort on goal in the game. On eight minutes, R.Coupar was next to strike with his left foot, though the keeper saved comfortably.

 Bonnyton did have a chance just a minute later though thankfully for Colts, the ball went wide of the post. On 11 minutes Colts broke well through Bainbridge who fed in Brown though the keeper was alert to gather well. Colts were now in control and on thirteen minutes Smith struck with power though the ball shaved the bar and over. The chances for Colts were there, and it seemed to be a case of when not if the ball would hit the back of the net.

 On sixteen minutes Smith was through one on one with the keeper who saved well. The ball came back to Smith but the big striker couldn’t get the ball on target as it went wide for a goal kick. Colts will reflect on the missed chances at this point which could have killed the game. On eighteen minutes Bainbridge played a perfectly weighted pass through to Cormack to be one on one with the keeper who again saved well. The ball came back to Smith to strike but again just over the target. On 22 minutes Bonnyton had a rare break through it was well saved by Irwin.

Colts broke quickly and finally got the goal when a neat ball by Smith found Brown who finished calmly for a well-deserved goal for Colts. 1-0 up, but in reality, it should be more. Largs Colts were passing the ball well and continued to create and play through the Bonnyton back line. On 31 minutes Colts doubled the lead when excellent play by Bainbridge found Brown who played in Smith for the finish and 2-0 Colts. Bonnyton pressed in the last few minutes but Weir and Robson held firm in the heart of the Colts defence as the half time whistle sounded.

Half Time: Bonnyton Thistle 0-2 Largs Colts

The second half started as expected with Bonnyton straight out the blocks.  Bonnyton were right back into the game just 2 minutes into the second period. Irwin made a great double save but the defence did not react quickly enough and the Bonnyton striker had the empty net to roll the ball into to half the deficit.

Although Colts had chances to restore their 2 goal lead, on 44 minutes Bonnyton equalised. Keeper Irwin saved well from a Bonnyton shot, but as he appeared to have both hands on the ball the Bonnyton player managed to get the ball into the back of the net, and the referee awarded the goal to the hosts and a body blow for Colts who had been dominant.

On 50 minutes,  Smith found Bainbridge who struck with his left foot though well saved by the Bonnyton keeper. On 53 minutes R.Coupar used his skill and strength to see off three defenders down the left before crossing into Cormack but he couldn’t quite reach the ball as it went across the face of goal. Blair then did well to win a corner down the right which Robson almost reached before the keeper gathered well.  Brown then won another Colts corner which Bainbridge got a hold of though he managed to scoop the ball just over the bar.

On 57 minutes R.Coupar was fouled 35 yards out with McTaggart stepping up to strike which the keeper gathered at the second attempt. Colts were again on top and R.Coupar took the ball down well before finding Bainbridge on the right for another shot which went just over the bar. Irwin was called into action occasionally though to keep the scores level, but was very much a spectator in the second half. Cormack was then fouled with just six minutes left. McTaggart struck a good ball into the box but yet again it came to nothing. Inside the last minute and Bonnyton almost scored when the big striker ran through but put the ball just wide.

Full Time: Bonnyton Thistle 2-2 Largs Colts

The game went into extra time, and Bonnyton started the brighter. Weir was defending superbly, taking care of the powerful Bonnyton striker, and Loudon was sweeping up the scraps. In the second period of extra time McTaggart was through on goal though the ball somehow trickled away from the skilful midfielder and the keeper collected with ease. Both sides failed to create any further clear cut chances as the game went to penalties.  

Full Time AET: Bonnyton Thistle 2-2 Largs Colts

As happens in the beautiful game if you don’t take your chances it can come back to bite you and Colts were unfortunate to lose the game on penalties with some sound saves from the Bonnyton keeper. Colts best players on the day were Weir, Bainbridge, Smith and R.Coupar. The Man of the Match vote went to Bainbridge for some excellent link up play as well as great strength and skill. The midfielder has added a great deal to the Colts side this season with more to come from the developing team.

The Largs side have come on such a long way and to lose in such fashion, although painful, does have some positives. Bonnyton were the CAYFA league champions last season and Colts were more than a match for the Kilmarnock side. Colts had the target of top 5 finish in the league this season and based on the start made and improvement in the squad, that target might need to be revised higher!  The coaches could not be more proud of this group of lads and the style of football they play. Well played lads – your day will come.

Largs:  Irwin (GK), Robson, Loudon, Weir, Leishman, R.Coupar(C), Bainbridge, Cormack, McTaggart, Smith,  Brown  Subs:. J.Coupar, Dalglish, Wilson, Blair, Florence

Thursday, 01 October 2015 00:00

Ayrshire leagues round up - 26/27th September

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It was another packed programme of league and cup matches in the weekend’s CAYFA and West of Scotland YFL, with the season well and truly underway.
In the CAYFA under 17s section most thoughts turned to SYFA Youth Cup action, with in form Valspar scoring five in extra time to overcome Girdle Toll. Irvine Meadow enjoyed a 4-0 home victory over Glenburn while Bonnyton Thistle won on the road 3-0 at Greystone Athletic. KSC Phoenix were among the goals again in a thumping home victory over Argyle Villa AFC.
In the league meanwhile KSC Royals and Whitletts took the opportunity to move up to second and third place with home victories over Bellfield Youth and Cumnock 99s respectively.
It was SYFA Youth Cup business in the CAYFA under 15 section, with big wins on the road for Crosshouse Boys Club, 5-0 at West Kilbride, and Bonnyton Thistle with a 6-0 victory at Prestwick. KSC Rovers were convincing 6-2 home winners over Glenburn, whilst Auchinleck lost 3-0 at Hurlford Boys Club. In the weekend’s tightest match Winlinton Wolves had just enough to win 2-1 at Tass Thistle Colts.
The CAYFA under 15 league two continued with Bellfield staying three clear at the top with a 5-2 home victory over Caledonian Colts. Carrick Colts are meanwhile up up to second after a 7-2 win at Irvine Victoria. Galston and Largs Spartans stayed in the chase with big wins over Crosshouse Boys Club 2001 and Hurlford Utd respectively.
In the SYFA Youth Cup U14's, Bonnyton won a dramatic penalty shoot out over Largs Colts. AC Irvine took advantage to leapfrog Largs to the top of the CAYFA age 14 league, after a narrow 2-1 victory at Ayr Boswell Colts. Prestwick enjoyed a 6-0 home victory over Cumnock whilst Kilmarnock Portland had an 8-0 romp at Stewarton Annick. Bottom of the table Tass Thistle meanwhile had a morale boosting 4-2 win over Glenburn.
Turning to the West of Scotland YFL, Kilwinning Rangers stay top despite losing their 100 per cent record with a 2-2 home draw with Glenburn MW. In the SYFA Youth Cup U19s, there were home triumphs for Whitletts Victoria, as they defeated Bellfield 6-0, and Girvan Youth with a 4-0 rout of Hurlford. Troon are meanwhile safely through to the next round after a 7-2 win at Glenafton Athletic.
In the WOSYFL Age 16 Division One, Ayr Boswell defeated Valspar 6-2 in the weekend’s top of the table clash, to maintain their 100 per cent record. Dreghorn are meanwhile up to third with a 3-1 win at Coylton. In the Age 16 Division Two league, KSC Garnock won the local bragging rights with a 3-1 over KCFC Garnock Valley to move up to fifth in the table.
Finally in the West of Scotland YFL Age 13 Division bottom of the table Galston pushed Ayr Boswell all the way to lose narrowly 3-2, as the leaders just kept their flawless record intact. Elsewhere there were big wins on the road for Glenburn at Auchinleck Talbot, Hurlford at Crosshill Thistle and Crosshouse Boys Club at Rowallan. Valspar rounded things off with a 6 goal home victory over Girvan Juniors.
Tuesday, 22 September 2015 15:47

Largs cruise to victory over Coylton

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Fixture: Largs Colts v Coylton U14
Competition: CAYFA U14 League
Venue: Barrfields
Date: 19/09/2015
Colts hosted the league leaders Coylton on a lovely Saturday morning for football at Barrfields. The visitors had lost just one goal all season and were obviously full of confidence given the league position they held following five wins and a draw as well as a clean sheet and success in the first round of the Scottish Cup. Colts were just about at full strength with Irwin in goal and a back four of Loudon, Dalglish, Weir and Robson. In the middle were R.Coupar, Bainbridge, Cormack and McTaggart. Up front were the familiar pairing of Smith and Brown. 
Colts started well and on three minutes a run from half-way by R.Coupar was not closed down and the midfield dynamo carried the ball through to 25 yards out before unleashing an unstoppable effort into the back of the net for a stunning opener. Colts continued with the high tempo and were passing the ball through the Coylton defence. On six minutes Smith played in Bainbridge though it was well defended and cleared. Colts had much of the ball and territory for this period with some short simple passing. When Coylton did get the ball the defence were handling well.

On twelve minutes Colts should have made it two when Smith unselfishly played in Dalglish on the left though it went just wide of the post. R.Coupar was called into action defensively when blocking a dangerous run from Coylton, something which the central midfielder did well all through the game. Coylton then had their best spell of the game for 10 to 15 minutes winning a couple of corners at which Colts looked slightly shaky. On 26 minutes Colts failed to clear and Coylton maybe should have got the equaliser only for the post to come to Colts' rescue. Coylton then had an effort from distance which keeper Irwin had covered as it cleared the bar. Just before the break Colts had a corner and worked a set piece play for Weir to strike on target. R.Coupar got the ball and Colts won another corner which Coylton managed to clear as the first half ended.
Half Time: Largs Colts 1-0 Coylton
Largs brought on debutant Leishman in place of Dalglish as the second half started. Coylton went at Largs from the whistle with a long ball which Weir managed well out for a corner. On four minutes Smith managed to get an outstretched leg to a through ball though it dribbled agonisingly wide of the post with the keeper beaten. On 41 minutes a ball played into Smith was controlled into the air by the head of the big striker before he struck on the half volley into the bottom left corner for a great finish and the second goal of the game to the hosts.

Colts were pushing again at this point and when R.Coupar played in Brown the striker finished superbly into the net for the third and ultimately decisive goal for Largs. Cormack then made way for MacNeil in a straight swap. On 49 minutes Colts made it four when a free kick from Weir found Smith who slotted the ball home. Brown was then played in by R.Coupar 12 yards out though the keeper saved this time. Leishman was creating sp ace and receiving the ball well at left back making some good runs and passes. On 53 minutes Leishman played a ball through for Brown which was just cleared by the defence. In the act Brown was injured and just before this Bainbridge was also injured. Both players left the field to be replaced by Wilson and J.Coupar.

With six minutes left Colts failed to clear a deep free kick, leaving it to each other and Coylton accepted the invitation to score a consolation goal. Brown returned to the action and after a through ball from Leishman the keeper saved well for a Colts corner. J.Coupar put in a good ball from the corner though it was half cleared to R.Coupar to put the ball back into the area before the referee called a halt to the game.
Full Time: Largs Colts 4-1 Coylton
A huge thank-you to Cumbrae Builders for being the match sponsors on the day.
Thursday, 24 September 2015 00:00

Ayrshire leagues round up - 19th/20th September

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It was back to league business at the weekend in the West of Scotland YFL and Central Ayrshire YFA, with a number of sides maintaining their 100 per cent records.
In the West of Scotland under 17 section Kilwinning Rangers were 3-0 victors in the weekend’s crunch match at Bellfield Youth, making it four wins from four. Girvan Youth also took full advantage to move up to second place with an 8-1 home victory over Hurlford United. In the match of the weekend Troon won a seven goal thriller at home to Glanafton to stay in touch with the pack in fourth place.
In the WOSYFL under 16 division Ayr Boswell’s flawless start continued with an excellent 9-1 win at Glenburn MW. There were tighter affairs elsewhere with Galston winning 2-1 at Troon Thistle, and local honours were even as Dreghorn drew 1-1 at Irvine Thistle.
It remains finely balanced at the top of the WOSYFL under 16s second division, with both Bonnyton Thistle and Dean Thistle maintaining perfect records. Dean turned on the style to win 7-0 at Prestwick, whilst Bonnyton ground out a 3-2 home victory over Carrick Colts. Elsewhere KSC Garnock are off the bottom after a fine 3-2 home victory over Largs Colts. In the league’s other tie Nithsdale Wanderers were emphatic 6-0 winners at home to Ayr Craigie to stay in fifth place.
Bonnyton’s 6-0 victory at Cunninghame YFC keeps Thistle top of the WOSYFL under 13 league alongside Bellfield Royals. Dalyrmple Thistle and Glenburn MW meanwhile stayed in forurth and fifth place with wins over Prestwick CFC and Knockroon Thistle. Hurflord were convincing home winners over Caledonian Thistle and Tass Thistle Titans had an impressive 4-1 win at KSC Barca.
Valspar stretched their lead in the CAFYA under 17 league with their 7-1 home victory over Glenburn MW, with Girdle Toll repeating this scoreline to win at Bellfield Youth and go third. KSC Royals and Irvine Meadow shared the points in a 4-4 thriller at Kilwinning Sports Club, while KSC Phoenix’s goalscoring form continued with an excellent 8-3 victory at Bonnyton Thistle. In the league’s remaining match Whitlett’s Victoria were emphatic 9-0 winners over Argyle Villa.
In the two weekend fixtures in the CAYFA under 15 division one, Tass Thistle Colts shared the points in a 2-2 home draw with Hurlford, whilst Glenburn MW won 4-2 away to leapfrog Valspar into fifth in the table. In the Under 15s second division Cumnock’s convincing victory over Crosshouse Boys Club was their third win from three to keep them in the hunt at the top.
It was a full card of fixtures in the CAYFA under 14 section, and Largs Colts impressive start continued to with a 4-1 home victory over league rivals Coylton. Colts now top the table while Valspar remain in the chase with a 4-1 victory at home to Galston. Irvine BC remain close behind after a 4-0 home victory over Tass Thistle. Meanwhile both Ayr Boswell and KSC Barca had 3-0 wins over Cumnock Juniors and Caledonian United to each stay within reach of the top. Elsewhere Prestwick won a 9 goal thriller 5-4 at home to Kilmarnock Portland whilst Rosebank and KSC Kilwinning Thistle shared the points in a goal less draw to stay in the lower half of the table.
Wednesday, 16 September 2015 00:00

Scottish Cup, CAYFA, WoSYFL Round Up - 12/13 September

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The weekend saw the opening round of Central Ayrshire YFA and West of Scotland YFL fixtures for the SYFA Scottish Cup, and there were plenty of goals to digest.

In the West of Scotland YFL, last year’s under-15 SYFA Cup winners Crosshouse Boys Club are off and running with a convincing 4-0 win away at league rivals Valspar. There were some thumping wins elsewhere with Ayr Boswell and Galston nine-goal victors at KSC Garnock and Glenafton. Troon Thistle won some local bragging rights putting seven past Irvine Thistle at home, whilst there were convincing victories for Dreghorn YFC, Carrick Colts, Stewarton Annick, Galston and Dean Thistle. Glenburn edged Ayr Craigie 2-1 in the weekend’s closest tie, and Greystone Rovers will be delighted with their 6-3 win away at Bonnyton Thistle.

There were two weekend Central Ayrshire YFA under-17 cup ties, each a high-scoring affair, with KSC Phoenix 6-4 the victors at home to Whitletts Victoria, and Glenburn winning 7-3 away at Bellfield.

In the CAYFA under-15 section Auchinleck Talbot were convincing winners at Crosshouse BC 2001, and there were also heavy victories for Crosshouse BC Athletic and Bonnyton Thistle. Winlinton Wolves and KSC Rovers recorded seven and five-goal away wins at Valspar and Galston respectively. Tass Thistle Colts enjoyed a fine 5-2 victory at Cumnock Juniors with West Kilbride 2001s also winning 3-1 on the road at Irvine Victoria. Meanwhile Hurlford were 1-0 victors in a close fought encounter at home to Greystone, whilst Glenburn MW had just enough at home to knock out Tass Thistle Utd by three goals to two.

The CAYFA under-14s also saw some tight cup matches, with league leaders Coylton 1-0 victors at Ayr Boswell Colts and KSC Barca’s 2-1 win at ASC Irvine. Cumnock also had a good 3-2 win at Crosshouse BC, with Valspar 7-3 winners at Stewarton Annick. Meanwhile Caledonian United and Largs Colts are also through to the next round, with Caley defeating KSC Kilwinning Thistle 3-1 and Colts earning a bye against Tass Thistle.

Elsewhere, CAYFA league business continued, and in the weekend’s top of the table clash Valspar continued their flying start to the under-17s league with an emphatic 5-1 victory over Bonnyton Thistle. Cumnock 99s moved up to second in the chase winning 5-3 at KSC Royals, and Girdle Toll are up to 6th with their 1-0 defeat of Irvine Meadow.

In the West of Scotland under-17 YFL, both Kilwinning Rangers and Bellfield maintained their 100 per cent records. Bellfield’s emphatic 7-1 win at Hurlford kept them top, whilst Kilwinning ran out 4-1 winners over table rivals Troon. Girvan move up to third with a 7-1 rout away to Glenafton.

And in the only WOSYFL under 13s league fixture this weekend , Bellfield remain undefeated after their 7-1 thrashing of Hurlford.

Wednesday, 02 September 2015 00:45

Watch: Crosshill Thistle vs Crosshouse BC U13

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Video highlights from the West of Scotland YFL league opener at Crosshill Park.
Saturday, 29 August 2015 10:28

Watch: Coylton FC vs Maybole FC 2004s

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Video highlights from the match between Coylton and Maybole 2004s, courtesy of Ed Hanna.
Sunday, 09 August 2015 00:00

Galston YFC look to build on Cup success

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It is rare for cliches to hold true, but for Galston YFC 2002s victory in the CAYFL League Cup was the high point of a season defined by the issues that come with a small squad and a transition up into 11-a-side age group of under-13s. 

"Last season was very much a season of two halves," team manager Hugh McNeillie told Youth Football Scotland.

The clear highlight for the club was winning the CAYFA League Cup, beating eventual league winners and runners-up, Bonnyton Thistle and Tass Thistle respectively, along the way to victory.

Despite this, last season’s performance in the league was not what McNeillie would have liked, with the first half of the season dogged the transition to 11-a-side.

"[We] had two decent seven-a-side teams with very styles," McNeillie said. "We struggled initially to find the right balance/adjustment to the 11-a-side game both in terms of organisation and competitiveness on the bigger pitch."

With pre-season well under way for the club, McNeille is looking forward to the competitive fixtures within the Land of Burns tournament at the start of August with the manager "happy with the fitness levels from the boys".

That comes with the addition of two "excellent young coaches" who McNeille says have "a real passion for the game" which has made their pre-season preparation looking "to be better this season".

In addition to a positive pre-season, the Ayrshire club has signed two new players for the forthcoming season. Andrew Dickson, described as "a quick and trick left-sided attacking player", and Jai Ewing, "a commanding central midfielder", have both been signed.

That improvement in the squad is a necessity if Galston are going to live up to their manager’s hopes for the 2015/16 season.

"if we play to our strengths and continue our performance level of 2015 then a top 4 place in this improved league is a strong possibility. Where in the top four will come down to how much the boys put in and other factors such as staying injury free," McNeillie said.

With probable rivals for success in the form of AC Irvine, Largs Colts, Tass Thistle and Valspar, the league is looking increasingly competitive.

"Personally I feel we have a good balance and the boys are better equipped for 11-a-side in their second season," McNeillie said.

Good luck to Galston YFC 2002s for the 2015/16 season!

Wednesday, 05 August 2015 15:09

Terrific Troon eye up league title

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Troon FC 98s can consider themselves record breakers, having recently achieved their highest ever finish in the Central Ayrshire League.

That, however, was not the limit of their achievements last season, as Troon head coach, Derek Cowan told Youth Football Scotland. "We had a fantastic season last year finishing 2nd in the league, our best ever finish. We also reached the league cup final and semi-final of the McNaughton cup. The most pleasing part was the quality of football we played," Cowan said. 

Cowan, whose side remarkably only lost two league games throughout last season, enjoyed similar success in a pre-season tournament immediately following their league campaign: "We finished the season over at Barcelona for the Copa Catalunya Cup where we beat three Italian teams, including Roma under-17s," Cowan told us. They also finished the group stage in first place, as well as scoring the most goals in the competition.

Troon FC, formerly known as Troon Thistle, shall link up with their fellow age groups, starting this season, meaning that Cowan’s side will become a feeder club to Troon Juniors. The manager commented that "this will give the boys more experienced coaching, playing some games at Portland Park and a clear progression plan if they develop and work hard".

"Moving from under-17s to under-19s will be a big step up but the lads are looking forward to the challenge," Cowan said.

In terms of transfers, there has been plenty of movement on that front, but Troon are not finished bolstering their squad just yet. "We have re-signed the core of the team from last season and have added three players so far. Another two or three have trials shortly which will take our squad to a manageable 17 or 18 players," said the manager.

Troon players have recently began preparations for the season ahead in their bid to move up one position from last year and win the league title. Cowan commented that the coaching staff are “not particularly well liked at this stage”, largely down to their gruelling, yet beneficial, pre-season schedule.

Which teams do the man at the helm of the South Ayrshire club see as putting up the strongest challenge for the league title? "The teams who have already had a year at this level will undoubtedly be the most difficult," he said.

Good luck to Troon FC 98s in the 2015/16 Central Ayrshire League!