Douglas Smith League Cup: Road To The Final

Caledonian League chiefs are hoping to reschedule the long awaited 2019-2020 Douglas Smith League Cup Final – alongside commencing last season’s (2020-2021) William Turner Challenge Cup as soon as possible, writes Tom Scott.

I have been looking at the League Cup Competition which will see First Division Finnart and Premier Division St Mungo go head-to-head in what should be cracker.

ROAD TO THE FINAL:

Finnart:
First Round- Finnart 5, Glasgow Harp 2.
Second Round – Finnart 5, Weir AFC 2.
Quarter-Final – Glasgow University 3, Finnart 4.
Semi-Final – Milton 0, Finnart 4.

St Mungo:
First Round – Bye.
Second Round – Strathclyde University 0, St Mungo 4.
Quarter-Final – St Mungo 9, FC Dal Riata 6.
Semi-Final – EKYM 0, St Mungo 0 ( 5-6 on pens).

Finnart and Easthall Star Rivalry: Turn Up The Volume

There is nothing quite like a Glasgow East End Amateur Football derby and Easthall Star FC Manager Danny Cameron can recall plenty of memories going up against Finnart AFC, writes Tom Scott.

Star celebrated their 30th anniversary exactly a week ago, and the club encountered red-hot Sunday games against a variety of different teams from the Carluke and District set-up, plus the competitive Burnside League, which one year produced all four Scottish Sunday Trophy Semi-Finalists – including Easthall, who were defeated 1-0 by Barrhead.

However, nothing stood up against the derby meetings with Bridgeton – based Finnart, according to Danny.

He told me: “They were our derby rivals. We always had ding-dong games against them. You know, we were lucky if we lost overall 7 games against them in a period of five years – yet we still could not win a League Championship!”

Easthall all-time record goal scorer, Craig Smith, recalls a great memory from one of those epic meetings.

He revealed “Probably one of the best games and one of the best goals I ever scored was against Finnart. A few weeks prior they put us out the Scottish Cup.”

“I can’t remember the score – Danny can help with that- but we were right up for it because of that, and the history between both teams over the years. We won the game 3-1 I think, but it was the way we won.”

“I scored a penalty after getting brought down by our old captain, Gizzy. Finnart pulled it back to 1- 1, then we scored in a break away (2-1). After that, Finnart were knocking at the door wave after wave of attacks – they were throwing everything at us.”

“Finnart had a corner in the last few minutes. I could see their ‘keeper was playing higher up the pitch, so I decided to stay high up the pitch and wide in the hope the ball would break to me, and that is exactly what happened. I touched the ball just inside their half and smashed it in just under the bar.”

“That’s probably one of the best goals I’ve scored for Easthall, and we won.”

Headline Makers Revisited – Burnside AFL Championship (June 2000)

Mark Mosson scored the first half goal which helped Centaur AFC defeat great East End rivals and Scottish Sunday Trophy holders Finnart AFC – thereby clinching the Burnside Amateur Football League Championship after a drama-packed play-off.

The same player also missed a second half penalty kick awarded for handball. Centaur, Scottish Cup Runners-Up,. defeated Cathkin 1-0 in another domestic Cup Final.

Other Winners:

League Cup – Finnart. Runners-Up – Cathkin.
Knock-Out Cup – Cathkin. Runners-Up – Finnart. Bronze Cup – Wellhouse. Runners-Up – Coach and Horses.

Greig Black won the Centaur AFC Player of the Year award.

Davie Cooper took the Players’ Player of the Year nomination.

Headline Makers Revisited – Sunday Trophy (March 2009)

Harvester and Centaur AFC were presented with sponsored Fosters Match Footballs by Tournament Secretary Mr Robert McGechie prior to their Centenary Scottish Amateur Sunday Trophy game, writes Tom Scott.

After an exciting 2-2 draw, Harvester won 5-4 on penalty-kicks. The game took place at Lochend, Easterhouse.

The Gantry AFC and East End rivals, Finnart, also received footballs for being nominated “Tie of The Round” – a brilliant 7th Round meeting at Greenfield Pitches, Carntyne.

Finnart had won the Cup in successive years, but The Gantry went through 3-1.

Headline Makers Revisited – Burnside Sunday Amateur League (June 2000)

Three Clubs dominated the silverware handed out by the Burnside Sunday Amateur League from season 1999-2000, writes Tom Scott.

Centaur had won the Famous Grouse Scottish Sunday Trophy, and they landed the double by defeating Finnart (Bridgeton) 2-1 in the Gold Cup Final.

Finnart were crowned Division 1 champions. Seven Ways won Division 2. The Braes, runners-up to Finnart, secured the Knock-Out Cup at the expense of Idols, who lost 3-1 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

Braes also won the League Cup in an exciting final against Easthall.

Idols defeated Wellhouse United in the Bronze Cup final.

Keeper Paton Inspirers Young Emerging Finnart Talent

In times of crisis role models are worth their weight in gold and although he won’t thank me for again highlighting his massive contribution within Amateur football, and coaching youngsters at grassroots level, Finnart Star AFC Goalkeeper Brian Paton fits the bill perfectly.

I first came across Brian seven years ago after he signed with Wellhouse Amateurs – sadly no longer with us despite winning the Scottish Cup – when I was asked by the club to organise some Tuesday evening coaching sessions. There was no mistaking his dedication and work ethic – essential qualities that have stood the test of time through his 15-year career.

Finnart AFC

BRIAN PATON (middle row) A Role Model for young players at Finnart.

Said Brian “In 2005 I started with the Finnart Sunday Amateurs. We lost the Scottish Cup final in 2006. However, that only spurred me to try again and I was a winner in 2007, 2008, 2010, and two years later at Rutherglen Vogue as Finnart attacked the Saturday Leagues!”

“In 2013, I made the dreaded call to try a new Saturday challenge as training numbers never went well in Pre-Season at Finnart. Wellhouse were the Scottish Saturday Amateur Cup champions. We reached the Quarter-Finals of the national trophy and got through to three Cup finals – all of which were played in one week while I was in Salou with my family!”

“After one season, it was time to return to Finnart, and here I am still trying to win trophies having turned 37 in November.”

Finnart manager Brian Blair brought in the experienced John Crooks as his Assistant. John previously managed Glasgow Harp – winning the Caley League Premier Division title and reaching the Scottish Amateur Cup Semi-Final.

He also played at a high level in junior football. Brian revealed “We have a very good squad this season. Training games have been the best training games I’ve been involved in, and we still a few players to be added into the mix.”

In addition to chasing more success between the posts, Brian Paton also has a clear passion for coaching kids and many of the current Finnart 2008 squad have enjoyed going through the transition of football development (for the past five years) from Fun 4’s to 11-a-side.

He added: “I also helped Brian Blair and Billy “Woody” Woodburn with the Finnart Under-19s in season 2017 – 2018. Billy was a great coach, with great ideas and great training sessions. We also enjoyed his work at the Amateurs before he had to step back for work reasons”

Headline Makers Revisited (March 2009)

Harvester and Centaur AFC were presented with sponsored Fosters Matchballs by Tournament Secretary Mr Robert McGechie prior to their Centenary Scottish Amateur Sunday Trophy game, writes Tom Scott.

After an exciting 2-2 draw, Harvester won 5-4 on penalty-kicks.

The game took place at Lochend, Easterhouse.

The Gantry AFC and East End rivals Finnart also received footballs for being nominated “Tie of The Round” – a brilliant 7th Round meeting at Greenfield, near Shettleston.

Finnart had won the Cup in successive years, but The Gantry went through 3-1.

Headline Makers Revisted (June 2000)

Mark Mosson scored the first half goal which helped Centaur AFC defeat great rivals and Scottish Sunday Trophy holders Finnart AFC to clinch the Burnside Amateur Football League Championship after a play-off.

The same player also missed a second half penalty kick awarded for handball. Centaur, Scottish Cup Runners-Up, defeated Cathkin 1-0 in another domestic Cup Final.

Other Winners:

League Cup – Finnart.
Runners-Up – Cathkin.

Knock-Out Cup Cathkin.
Runners-Up – Finnart.

Bronze Cup – Wellhouse.
Runners-Up – Coach and Horses.

Greig Black won the Centaur AFC Player of the Year award.

Davie Cooper took the Players’ Player of the Year nomination.

The Big Interviews – End of Year Review -Brian Blair (Finnart AFC)

FINNART are a club I know very well from covering not only their various football teams, but also numerous Charity Projects over the years, writes Tom Scott. Co-incidentally, the Amateur are heavily involved with one right at this moment raising money for MENSELF+

Who better to interview during the pandemic than Manager Brian Blair. Viewing figures on this one were amazing. Another top-notcher! “Boss Blair Building New Finnart Amateurs Culture.”

Brian Blair had a trophy-filled playing career with Finnart Star AFC over 22 years – now he is determined to replicate the success as Team Manager.

Despite Covid-19 lockdowns and Tier 3-4 restrictions, the five-times Scottish Amateur Sunday Trophy winner – one of those came from playing at Rutherglen Vogue – could never have predicted an abrupt end to the 2019-2020 campaign ( his second in charge), or currently one league played against Holytown back on October 3.

When the original March lockdown started, the announcement put paid to Finnart and St Mungo’s contesting a Cup Final at Broadwood. Nine months on, there is no official word the game will ever take place.

Undaunted, Blair recruited one-time junior football player and Vale of Clyde Manager John Crooks, who also steered Glasgow Harp to a Caledonian League Premier Division title, and Scottish Amateur Cup Semi-Final, onto his backroom staff. Following a pre-season (training) like no other, Finnart went goal crazy with warm-up games, and carried the form onto defeating Holytown 11-0 in the Caledonian First Division opener at Glasgow Green.

However, the opportunity to put more points on the board at hosts Kilsyth AFC a week later (October 10) was quickly removed by the Scottish Government, and most of the amateur game has been idle ever since.

Brian revealed “This club has contested ten Scottish Cup finals (losing two) over a span of 40 years. Good times!”

“Phil Blair has been at the helm all that time, but no football just now is frustrating for all of us.”

“We have built a cracking young team. I personally am trying to get them back to where we should be with some trophies, but that will only come as soon as we can start back hopefully.”

“Some of our guys (players) have been out with West of Scotland League teams to get them games before we start back, which doesn’t look like anytime soon!”

Finnart AFC
Finnart AFC – Thanks to BRIAN PATON for supplying the photograph

Headline Makers Revisited – Finnart AFC (October 2014)

Former Dunfermline Athletic Manager Jim Leishman and Ex-Grade One referee Willie Young helped keep a packed audience fully entertained at the Finnart Speakers Night in 2014, writes Tom Scott. Marking 35 years in existence, the venue was the Shettleston Juniors Social Club, next door to Greenfield Park, on Old Shettleston Road.

A host of top-notch raffle prizes were donated by various people- including Wayne Rooney (then at Manchester United) and Scottish International midfielder James McArthur.

My good friend, Mr Jamie McGowan Snr, a much-respected coach at the Bridgeton-based club, said: “The Speakers were too class. Big Jim spoke a lot about his early days and was very funny. He carried out some audience participation, too, which was good.”

“Willie Young told stories about the game. Also, current affairs and lawyer’s tales. Very entertaining!”

Finnart conducted a 50-50 Fund-Raising Sheet, which raised £200 for the winner, who immediately donated half the sum of money back to the club’s Under-15 team -. a magnificent gesture.