Goalden boy Ryan racks up a century

Ryan Somerville has averaged a goal a game playing for Newbattle High
Ryan Somerville has averaged a goal a game playing for Newbattle High
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IF Scotland manager Craig Levein had a striker like him, no-one would question his policy of playing only one up front.

Midlothian teenage football sensation Ryan Somerville has notched up a century of goals for his school, averaging one a game.

Ryan Somerville reached the landmark figure by scoring four times in his most recent match for Newbattle High.

His PE teacher Mark Baxter pointed out he did not even have a striking partner to help him out, a system similarly favoured – but with a far less prolific outcome – by Levein.

The 17-year-old has now been recognised by his school for the achievement.

Mr Baxter, who coaches the school’s senior team, said: “In school football, to achieve 100 goals is brilliant.

“There’s nobody even near half the amount of goals that Ryan has scored.

“He plays up front on his own, which makes it even more of an achievement.

“If he was playing with someone else beside him up front, it would be a bit easier.

“He has averaged one goal per game. In my experience, players go every two or three games and then might score, and then not score for a few games after that, but Ryan is guaranteed to score.

“He is one of the most prolific goal scorers that we have had and one of the hardest-working players.”

He added: “We don’t have a lot of pupils who have gone through the school playing in so many games. Pupils get a special trophy for that.

“The way he approaches every game is impressive.

“He has a great attitude and work rate, which have contributed to his achievement.”

Ryan currently plays for Berwick Rangers’ under-19s team and hopes to make it professionally one day.

He reached the 100 mark during a game against Firrhill High School.

However, he is quite modest about his goal achievements.

He said: “I have not really thought about it much.

“I have been congratulated quite a lot and it is quite weird.

“I’m not really the kind of guy that likes to get a lot of attention. It’s hard to score every game so it is quite an achievement.

“If I didn’t score in a game, I would be quite unhappy with myself.

“I would like to see how far I can actually go in football.

“I would like to see if I can go professional and get paid for doing what I love doing.”

Newbattle High has a proud history of producing professional players, such as Alex Notman, who was a youth player at Manchester United before being forced to retire through injury, and Grant Murray, who has played for Hearts and Partick Thistle, and currently captains Raith Rovers.

Mr Baxter said: “Football is the main sport in our school. We have not had a player from the school go professional for a long time, but a lot go on to play junior level from school.

“Ryan is coming up to 18 years old, so he will have the opportunity to move into the first team at Berwick Rangers.”

gfraser@edinburghnews.com