Barrhead ‘Lie Handed Two Centenary Derbies

Newcomers Arthurlie Amateurs could debut in the SAFL Centenary Cup next month with local derbies if current Scottish Government restrictions are not increased.

Top-table chiefs have wisely opted to cut down on excessive match travel for clubs in membership of the Scottish Amateur Football League and a look at the opening two weeks’ fixture list shows great potential.

November 7th

Arthurlie v Carlton YMCA
Baljaffray v Easthall Star
Busby v Motherwell Thistle
Campbeltown Pupils v Lochgilphead Red Star
Cardross v Dunoon
Duncanrig v Strathaven
Glyhill Moorcroft v St Convals
Inverclyde v Parkhall
Kings Park Rangers v Hillington
Neilston v Glenburn
Port Glasgow v Port Glasgow OBU
Rutherglen v Claremont

November 17th

Arthurlie v St Convals
Baljaffray v Kings Park Rangers
Busby v Rutherglen
Duncanrig v Claremont
Glenburn v Carlton YMCA
Glyhill Moorcroft v Neilston
Goldenhill v Easthall Star
Hillingdon v Castlemilk
Inverclyde v Port Glasgow
Lochgilphead Red Star v Campbeltown Pupils
Motherwell Thistle v Strathaven
Parkhall v Cardross
Port Glasgow OBU v Dunoon

Former Sunday Cup Kings Suffer Final Warm-Up Defeats

Castlemilk Dynamo and Finnart wrote themselves into the Scottish Sunday Trophy record books with some outstanding achievements before switching to Saturday afternoons, but they both endured defeats prior to completing pre-season games.

New Dynamo boss Gary Hamilton will turn his attentions onto an away game at Gartcosh United in a domestic fixture which is actually past of last season’s programme cut short by Covid-19.

He was upbeat despite a 4-2 defeat at the hands of East Kilbride Under 21s. Gary said: “It was a great game and some great football played. We scored through Semple and McGinty. Pre-season is over, and this was another chance for 18 players to get a run-out, which is the most important thing.”

Finnart have been in superb form recently. Including the 3-1 midweek scalp of Ashfield FC, but they came a cropper against fired-up Kings Park Rangers at Glasgow Green.

Within 35 minutes Kings Park had romped into a 3-0 lead. A change of team shape and work ethic saw Finnart  hit back through Liam Cusack, Brandon McCauley and Kieron  Malloy  A “goal” from Ben Mills was disallowed, but the fightback went for nothing when Rangers scored again for a deserved 4-3. win.

Elsewhere, Firwood would have been boosted by a 2-1 victory against Eaglesham (GGPAFL). Scorers Danny Moy and Stephen Wallace.

Condorrat Amateurs  defeated MLS Leeds United ( Stirling and District League) 3-0 and all the goals came from Gregor Baikie.

Weirs hammered eight goals past Eastwood Park Mount. Jordan Barrett (4), Christos Balas (3) and Jonny Greig inflicted the damage. Connor Dowell (2) and a screamer from Grant Summers gave Bengal Lancers their 3-0 victory against Semsa FC.

Daniel McGroarty fired home four goals in the 11-3  thumping of Blackhall. Daryl McMillan hit a double as Drumchapel United Saturday Morning) beat Royal Union 4-0. Arthurlie Amateurs lost 3-2 against St Cadocs Jnder-20s, whose goals came from Andrew Gallagher,. Adam Barrett and Fraser Cowan.

SAFL Chiefs Will Operate New Travel Measures For Centenary Cup

Scottish Amateur Football League chiefs are helping member clubs cut down on unwanted travel problems when the Centenary Cup kicks-off their new season on October 10.

Hopefully current Scottish Government restrictions will not have changed again and allow Team Managers to prepare their squads in five areas instead of clubs travelling all over Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

I understand the plan involves teams playing each other home and away in the opening round and, even allowing for bad weather, the fixture list would run into December.

Looking ahead into January and depending on the updated Covid-19 situation the three-divisional domestic structure would commence, and hopefully the hugely popular Jimmy Marshall Trophy can also take place. Arthurlie and Baljaffray Amateurs  are newcomers to the SAFL, and as luck would have it, the pair have home games in the First Round fixture list on October 10.

The Barrhead club host Carlton YMCA, while Baljaffray, also from Premier Division Two, welcome high-flying and hugely experienced visitors Easthall Star.

In the Argyle area, two local derbies catch the eye. Campbeltown Pupils v Lochgilphead Red Star and Cardross v Dunoon.

Port Glasgow Amateurs and Port Glasgow OBU will be eager to claim Inverclyde bragging rights for at least 24 hours. while closer to Glasgow I reckon there will be a few goals when Kings Park Rangers entertain Hillington in a top-flight Premier clash.

Academy Foundation Key To Finnart Success Story

Finnart AFC Manager Brian Blair is convinced the club’s continued success will be helped by their thriving Academy structure. Bridgeton-based in Glasgow’s East End for the past 41 years, Finnart have racked up honours at domestic and national level spanning boys club, Under-21 and Amateur football.

More importantly, officials and coaches support the local community through countless charity initiatives, and encourage youngsters to participate in the beautiful game from a very early age via Mini Kickers and Fun Fours.

Brian Blair may be relatively new to the pressures of management, under three sessions. But he knows the club inside out through wearing the Finnart colours in a playing career spanning 22 years.

In another great @AmmyFitba News exclusive Brian revealed “Even when I was playing I was still making time to coach a lot of our young teams, so they knew what my ideas were and how I set-up sessions.”

“Through our Academy structure we have a clear pathway right through to the amateur team, which I have changed a bit in terms of going for a mixture of youth and experience. Covid-19 has changed everything. I have a young family, so tight away you have to approach things differently.”

“I miss the dressing room banter because it is part and parcel of football. We are unable to use facilities including showers and you have to bring in new ideas for training sessions. We have concentrated on game-related exercises.”

“Our Under-21 team train alongside us, which allows me to see potential talent coming through.”

The March lockdown came on a Friday evening when Finnart were due to play St Mungo in a Cup final at Broadwood, Cumbernauld, and Brian admitted “I don’t know if the League will be able to reschedule the match. I hope they can get it in.”

“We have only had one friendly due to SFA restrictions, but I think the squad will be better than last season. In addition to our retained players we have brought in some excellent signings.”

Meanwhile, Finnart’s 21-year-old internationalist striker Mark Taylor showed why he has attracted attention from clubs at the next level up with a hat-trick in Saturday’s 7-1 victory against Steadfast.

Coming up on the horizon if current rules remain in place are Tollcross AFC (September 19) and Kings Park Rangers the following Saturday. Glasgow Green will host both games.

Finnart Increase Social Media Awareness During Covid-19

Manager Brian Blair reckons if his club can take any positives from Covid-19 restrictions apart from remaining healthy increased Finnart Star awareness through Social Media ideas would win the contest by a street length.

Incredibly for a club started by his father in the East End of Glasgow (Bridgeton) 41 years ago, Finnart can boast hugely popular Facebook and Twitter accounts, regular Zoom Calls and Podcasts, which were introduced during the early stages of lockdown and have even attracted involvement from ex-players!

Brian can proudly boost of a Finnart playing career spanning 22 years and has been Manager for the past two years.

He told me “We also have a YouTube channel in place. John Toby Flannigan does a power of work with a lot of these ideas, while Brian Paton takes care of Facebook and Twitter. They deserve a great deal of praise fitting things around their work commitments.”

“Also, before our first pre-season friendly against Stedfast AFC at Scotstoun on Saturday, John conducted a 60-second questions format involving the squad, and when time permits you should see that on Facebook.”

Just for the record, Finnart defeated Steadfast 7-1. thanks to goals from Amateur Internationalist striker Mark Taylor (3), Jamie Taylor, Declan Healy, Ryan McLean and a Trialist.

Brian Blair also revealed he has rearranged the next two planned friendlies due to SFA restrictions and opposition will be provided by Tollcross AFC (September 19) and Kings Park Rangers the following Saturday. Glasgow Green will host both games.