A first half winner from Lyall Booth was enough to settle a close contest between Aberdeen and Hearts, as the young Dons lifted the first trophy of the new youth academy competition.
Cove Rangers’ Balmoral Stadium played host to the showpiece event, in front of a healthy crowd of expectant supporters for both teams.
Aberdeen made the best of the early running. Midfielder Kevin Hanratty, who was influential throughout, had a couple of long-range shots at goal, looking to test the Jambo’s nerve. Both were easily smothered. At the other end, neat link up play through Hearts’ Jai Charleston-King almost put Ryan Schiavone in the clear, but goalkeeper Tom Ritchie was alert to the danger.
On eight minutes, the first real chance. An Aberdeen freekick from the left by Ramsay was driven low, evading the gloves of Harris Spratt. The outstretched leg of Chris Aikamenze was not enough to force the ball home though, as the striker saw his effort cleared by the Hearts defence.
The Edinburgh side were having chances of their own, and were particularly threatening down the wings. On 21, right-back Sean Docherty won a freekick on the edge of the box. Charleston-King delivered a good curling ball, but skipper Arron Darge could not make a clean connection on his header. On the half-hour, some clever interchange on the left would put Leon Watson free. His shot blocked.
Then on 32, the breakthrough. Aberdeen’s Simone Zanda got the ball on their right. His first cross was deflected away to Hanratty on the edge, who fed him again. On the second attempt, the bouncing ball reached a gambling Lyall Booth, who pounced between defenders to turn the ball in for 1-0.
Late in the half, Hearts had a penalty claim waved away when Schiavone went down, whilst the Don’s Aikamenze flashed a header wide off a Calvin Ramsay cross. The players sought half-time warmth: the game simmering nicely at the interval.