Son wins youth Scottish Cup 30 years after dad

Davide de Gaetano and son Leno celebrate the success on Portobello beach. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor
Davide de Gaetano and son Leno celebrate the success on Portobello beach. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor
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A FATHER and son have pulled off a remarkable cup double, lifting a football trophy in a league final exactly 30 years apart.

History repeated itself when talented youngster Leno de Gaetano took to the pitch for an under-13s football final 30 years to the day after his dad played in the same competition.

Leno, 12, was playing for Edina Hibs when they won the Trans World Soccer Scottish Cup by beating Rangers SABC 3-0 at Airdrie’s Excelsior Stadium on Sunday – just as dad Davide had played for winning side Hutchison Vale under-13s in the final on the same date in 1984.

“It was just called the Scottish Juvenile Cup in my day,” he said. “But I was so proud when Leno and his team-mates won. There can’t be many fathers and sons with that kind of double.”

Davide, 42, was a striker while Leno is an attacking midfielder.

And their route to the final 30 years apart offers another neat piece of symmetry.

Davide said: “We played Edina Hibs in the semis and knocked them out. This time he played Hutchison Vale in the semis and knocked them out.

“I just had a feeling they were going to win.”

Leno is a pupil at Portobello High School – just like his dad was – and started playing with Edina Hibs at the beginning of this season after two years with Raith.

Leno’s victory brought back happy memories for Davide of his own night of glory, scoring the only goal in his team’s 1-0 win over a team called Carse Thistle at Saughton Enclosure.

He recalled: “I scored the winner with 30 seconds to go after extra time. It was almost the last kick of the ball.

“It was a very special night for me and one that I won’t ever forget – a dream come true.

“I remember my mum saying to me ‘You will never forget this’ – and 30 years later my mates are getting bored with me still talking about it.

“That’s why I knew it was going to be such a big thing for Leno.”

Davide, who runs the Victoria Park Hotel in Ferry Road, began playing football when he was about seven and went on to play for East of Scotland sides Pencaitland and Edinburgh Athletic, as well as junior side Preston Athletic before winning a football scholarship to the United States, where he spent a year at a university near Pittsburgh.

He later became the youngest manager in the East of Scotland League, taking control of Edinburgh Athletic at just 29.

He said Leno had been initiated into the beautiful game when he was about three. “I was making him kick a ball before he could walk,” he said. “My dad had a walking stick and he loved to knock that down with his kick.”

Davide was impressed with Leno’s performance under pressure on the big day.

“He played well,” he said. “The whole day was very special for him – the build-up and playing at a professional ground. He is delighted and glad he has managed to win at his first attempt, as I did.

“I told him there are a lot of players better than me who don’t have one of these medals. It is a very hard trophy to win.”

Davide said he thought Leno might try to follow in his footsteps across to the United States on a scholarship.

“It was quite unusual when I went, but a lot of people go now. Leno loves playing football and I have told him if he is enjoying it and playing it to the highest level he can, there is no pressure on him to make it a career.

“The people you meet and the social skills you learn are more important than money.”