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From the bottom to the top: Cambuslang Rangers claim Central A Division title

The Cambuslang Rangers FC Youth Academy has expanded tremendously over the last few years. With six teams (including U21s) and over 100 players. With the great bulk of academy players residing in Cambuslang, continuing to emphasise the club’s great work and relationship within the community. The club is particularly enthusiastic about many of the talents emerging, with the hope that more will make it into the first team in the future years. 

In November 2021, Cambuslang Rangers revamped their development programme to become a “professional youth football setup within the club”. Joining the management team was Callum Coghill, who was given the task of coaching the U16 squad. Fast forward two months and Callum Coghill would begin his journey of leading the U18s squad to league victory within just two seasons.

He said: “I think what makes this league title special for our group is where the team came from. When I came in Cambuslang we were bottom of the LFDA B Division halfway through the season.

“We finished third in that year before moving on to the Central B division where we finished in third place again whilst adding a Divisional Cup to the club, winning 5-0 in the final against Cleland.

“To then get promoted to the Central A Division and be talking about winning a league title is something we could’ve only dreamed of at Cambuslang.”

This year has provided many memorable moments of the year for this talented group.

“This season has been pretty remarkable for all involved at Cambuslang 18s,” he added. “We have had many ups and a fair few downs also which our group has always responded well and bounced back.

“I think only being promoted into this competitive division this season, to start off beating Benburb 5-1 was something pretty special. We have had a lot of great results including a 4-1 win over Camelon and a 3-0 win over Gairdoch.

“These are real top teams and to match them across the season was something we didn’t expect coming up, but we knew with the attitude of our boys and the efforts of the coaches we could challenge.

“We were really strong in our games against the teams around us in the division. There have been a lot of valuable draws we have taken away from home which I believe had a real influence on our title.

The lads also reached the quarter-final of the Scottish Cup, only losing out on penalties. I think the last-16 game against Irvine Meadow deserves a mention as we had a very depleted squad playing against a team who completed a treble this season. To win 3-1 away from home was also a memorable result.”

However, some results just weren’t meant to be for Cambuslang and the squad had to maintain a good mindset and focus on the upcoming games, absorbing what they had learnt from the Cup game.

Coghill goes on to say: “As I said previously, we have had many challenging moments and as a group, and I’m delighted we pulled through it. We lost in the quarter-final of the Scottish Cup on penalties in a game where realistically we put ourselves into a position where we should be winning.

“This really hurt the group and the challenge of lifting them when we play in a division as hard as ours was tricky, but I can’t fault the lads for the way they bounced back from this moment. The mentality that the group has is up there with the best I’ve seen.”

Cambuslang Rangers U18s, being the ‘new’ team in the league and arguably the underdogs, were not initially expected to win the league, but a turning point occurred when they defeated rivals Benburb 1-0 away from home.

Manager Coghill explained: “This season no one expected us to be anywhere near the top having only come up, but I started to feel we had a real chance after beating Benburb 1-0 away from home. Benburb are a real top team and to come away with this result made me feel it was possible to get our hands on the trophy.

“The game after we played Gairdoch who won a double this season so were also a good side. We won the game 3-0 and from there, it was a waiting game with other results. But we did everything we could in the remaining games to put ourselves in the position we were in. I’ve also got to credit Benburb as this title was shared.”

Coghill was full of praise for a number of members of his playing squad his season. He said: “This season it is extremely difficult for me to pinpoint an individual player as I could genuinely praise every lad in our squad for what they’ve given us.

“Our top goalscorer Godson Nechi was excellent for us and after scoring 34 goals in the division has now got a first-team contract at the club. Oliver Anderson won player of the year and had a great season for us, a lad who’s developing every year with our team.

“Our captain Luke Currie was tremendous again for what he does on and off the park for us and someone who’s seen all the changes we’ve had at the club and been instrumental in making it happen. Declan Toye as his vice captain was a rock at the back for us partnered with Ryan John Black who has been solid for seasons.

“Cameron Kelly and Andrew Lennox came in mid-season and without these two additions, I don’t think this title is possible. Our most improved players Ryan Harkin and Adam Campbell also played a massive part and deserved their award at our presentation.”

The manager didn’t give all the praise to the players though and ensured also to give credit to his coaching team. He added: “Our coaching team is the backbone of what we do, and they deserve a lot of praise and credit for this season.

“Myles McLeish and Andrew Martin are both assistant coaches and in their second season seen their second trophy. Dylan Orr came in also this season as the goalkeeping coach and with his experience we were delighted with what he gave us this season.”

Congratulations to the following players for working so hard all season and for winning the title.

Dylan McLean 

Ryan Burns 

Ryan Harkin 

Ryan John Black 

Aaron Donohoe 

Declan Toye 

Blair Taylor 

Kieran Stoddard 

Adam Campbell 

Luke Currie 

Cameron Kelly 

Andrew Lennox 

Yves Edouard Kuntima 

Eddy Kitenge 

Kieran Connolly 

Oliver Anderson 

Jason Dunor 

Jamie Miller 

Ryan McLellan 

Lewis Wallace 

Godson Nechi

What is next for this title-winning group? The current coaching staff have been offered the position of U20s Development staff within the club. As a collective, they will be promoting a significant number of the U18s squad to join the current U20s squad, as they look forward to the continuation of their successes as they transition from junior football to the development division.

A final few words from head coach Coghill on a tremendous season: “To look back on where we’ve come from to where we are now there is enormous pride. We have put Cambuslang Rangers back on the map of youth football and it is something we want to build on and continue to have success at the club. Camby Champions.”

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