Author: Niall Murray
For most players reaching a Scottish Cup final is the highlight of their career, but for one goalkeeper it seems to be an annual event.
Campsie Black Watch goalkeeper Martin Storey, 20, will play in his fourth consecutive under 21s Scottish Cup final when he walks out onto the pitch at Airdrie’s Excelsior Stadium in May.
This is the shot-stopper’s fourth season with the club and during that time he has tasted both cup success and defeat.
Campsie suffered final heartbreak in 2010/11 when they narrowly lost 2-1 to Celtic Boys Club (pictured, below left) and again in 2011/12 when they were beaten 3-2 by Harmony Row.
However, they defeated Knightswood 3-2 after extra time (pictured, right) in a dramatic match last season to finally clinch the cup.
Speaking to him at the club’s Station Road facilities in Lennoxtown, Martin feels last season’s Scottish Cup victory will stand his side in good stead for this year’s final.
“It was an unreal feeling losing that Scottish Cup, there is nothing worse, but getting over that hump of losing 2 Scottish finals in a row and getting over the hurdle last year with that team was brilliant. We couldn’t have done it in a better way, and we hadn’t won it in 10 years. After losing it twice winning is unreal; the best feeling ever.”
He added: “Knowing how to win is massive and the cup is something every under 21s player wants to win. As our manager Allan would say; it’s the Holy Grail to win the Scottish Cup.”
Black Watch will go into the match as favourites given they are the current holders and have also beaten their opponents Goldenhill during both their league meetings this season. The team also currently sit top of the West of Scotland 21s Youth Football League with two games in hand and Martin is certain they can retain their Scottish Cup.
“I’m 100 per cent confident of a victory in this match. Having beaten them [Goldenhill] twice, we know what we are up against. They are good team. The games we have played against them were tough games but we beat them 4-1 both times.”
However he is aware that the form book goes out of the window when it comes to a cup final and that nothing can be taken for granted in a one off game.
“We have taken points off a lot of teams this year but it doesn’t matter as a final is a final; obviously Celtic in the first year were below us and then beat us. You never know what to expect and it all depends how you play on the day,” said Martin.
The goalkeeper puts the club’s ongoing success down to the management team and in particular how the squad are trained.
Martin was quick to point out that the coaches at the club play a pivotal role:
“The coaches are brilliant; they put the effort in and train the boys hard. The boys also put the effort in and it definitely shows when it comes down to it on a Saturday and the attitude going into every game is always brilliant from the boys. It all starts from the training.”
There are a few players in the Campsie ranks who like Martin were part of last season’s cup winning side. That said the majority of the squad have never played in a final before, meaning players like Martin are vitally important.
“There are only a few of the boys who have played in two or three Scottish Cups, some of the boys haven’t played in a final yet so it is good having experience in the team. The training leading up to the final is also important; having all the boys ready and having them know what to expect on the day. It’s all about how you perform on the day,” said Martin.
Rebuilding a successful side year after year is made significantly more difficult as players who are no longer eligible in the under 21s age group move on at the end of each season. Nevertheless, Campsie have impressively managed to sustain their success for four consecutive seasons.
Martin said: “There are players leaving, it is always mixed every year. There will be a few boys moving on, some of my best mates in the team are moving on. But Allan is always brilliant at getting players in for the next season. After being in three finals in a row you would never think you would be out there for a fourth time, but here we are again.”
He added: “This season we have everything to play for because we have only been knocked out of one cup.”
However, a fourth final and a second potential Scottish Cup victory is still not enough for Martin as he eyes a fifth final and further success next year in what will be his last season for the team.
He said: “I’ve still got one more year left at under 21s so hopefully it will be five times lucky.”
It seems the only potential worry for Martin before the final is a foot injury, which he picked up during the teams semi-final extra time victory over Mill United.
He said: “It was during the semi-final and the ball was put over the top and I was one on one with the striker. When I went out to kick it the guy left his foot in. I have kicked him straight in the bottom of the foot. It’s just bruised up but I am back at training now.”
Campsie Black Watch play Goldenhill Boys Club on 11 May at the Excelsior Stadium in Airdrie.