Boss Blair Building New Finnart Amateurs Culture

Scottish Amateur Football News Exclusive

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 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. Eight 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-Finals, 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!”

Finnart AFC
Finnart AFC

“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 any time soon!”

Headline Makers Revisited – Cranhill United AFC (Sunday Trophy Final – 3rd May 2015)

Scottish Amateur Football News Writer Tom Scott goes into a new level of football in his special Series with a look at the Fosters Scottish Amateur Sunday Trophy Final from season 2014-2015.

Harvester AFC and Cranhill United had met the previous year, with the Glasgow East End club losing 1-0.

Following their second visit to Livingston’s ground, the media Headline was “DEADLY McKAY DOUBLE DUMPS CUP HOLDERS”

If any neutrals thought Cranhill would fluff being in the spotlight again, they were sadly mistaken. United looked more confident, composed and stronger.

Cranhill could proudly take the cup back to Glasgow’s East End, where they would join a list of winners which included record holders Finnart, Centaur AFC and the Gantry.

Stenhousemuir’s ground staged both Semi-Finals a month earlier. Cranhill sponsored by David Millen Quality Butcher (Carntyne), beat Dalkeith AFC 3-0, while Harvester, who lost the 2013 final to Rutherglen Vogue, came through 4-3 on penalties against Fairfield Sport and Leisure after the game finished 2-2.

As expected,. holders Harvester were prominent early on via dangerman David Swan but Cranhill responded well with their short-passing game through midfield, and when Chris Campbell whipped over an inviting cross, David McKay timed his jump perfectly to steer a 20th minute header past goalkeeper Reid.

Swan twice went close for Harvester, and combined with Burnett to set-up an early second half opening for Harley, who failed to test ‘keeper Don Scott.

A second goal of genuine quality seven minutes from time settled the silverware destination. McGeough and Boyce were involved in the clever build-up play. David McKay sized up the situation brilliantly with his run and first touch to avoid the on-rushing Reid. He had time to take another touch before dispatching the ball into the net and spark off wild celebrations among the travelling Cranhill United support.

Despite an additional five minutes of injury time, Cranhill’s composure effectively dealt with a final Harvester surge. Man of the Match – Paul Ross (Cranhill United). I must add that team sponsor, Mr David Millen, provided an embroidered kit/ jersey fully commemorating Cranhill’s appearance in the 2015 final.

Winning Squad:. Scott, Campbell, Halliday, O’Connor, McGregor, McDevitt, McGeough, Ross, McKay, Boyce and Dorrans.

Subs: McNally, Rae, K Martin, P Martin, and Kennedy.