South East youths have their eyes on big prize

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Youth football’s prestigious national tournament, The Scottish Youth Football Association Challenge Cup, resumes this weekend with 27 teams from the Lothians at under-13, under-14, and under-15 level gunning for glory in their third round ties.

As well as being the first opportunity in the season for clubs to face opponents from different regions, three all-South East ties will take place as Edina Hibs BC host Spartans FC Blues and Musselburgh Windsor Colts face Edinburgh United in the youngest age group, while AC Oxgangs will travel to Edinburgh United in the under-15 competition.

Colts’ sister team, Musselburgh Windsor, is yet to find its feet in under-13 South East Region Division 1 this season but have pulled off three good wins in the Scottish Cup so far, against Syngenta Grange, Linlithgow Rose Thistle and Armadale SC, scoring 23 goals over the three matches. They host Tayside outfit Dundee West at Pinkie School on Sunday and will hope to progress to the fourth round.

Windsor manager, Hamish Stewart, said: “We really just want to go as far as we can in the Scottish Cup. We’re going through a transitional phase and we had a few boys leave us towards the end of last season. We’ve got some new players in and we’re in a very difficult league, but the team’s played really well in our cup matches.

“The boys have really gelled on the day of the cup matches. The Scottish Cup is the competition which every club wants to win and the boys are always pulling together and fighting for each other and they’re doing really well.”

Last season’s SYFA under-13 Challenge Cup and West Lothian league winners Fauldhouse Foxes welcome Aberdeen club Cove BC to Eastfield Park in the under-14 tourney on Saturday, and will hope to progress following two convincing victories over Edina Hibs and Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts in the opening two rounds.

Fauldhouse club secretary Ina Meek said: “We performed exceptionally well last year given it was our first year at eleven-a-side football. We’ve lost a number of players to pro youth clubs this season but we’re still unbeaten in the league and we hope to replicate our success again this season.”

Tynecastle FC Under 15s were winners two years ago, and lost 1-0 to Antonine Blacks in the final last season. They beat Leith Athletic 1-0 in the first round this term and emerged 4-1 winners over rivals Edina Hibs BC in the second round.

They travel to Glasgow to take on Giffnock Soccer Centre Juventus on Saturday. Tynecastle manager Simon Kinghorn said: “Last season we were drawn away from home on a number of occasions. We were the team to beat in the Scottish Cup last year and had to play ten ties to reach the final. We beat Syngenta Juveniles in the semi-final and it was down to a few slight differences in the final as Antonine Blacks managed to score the only goal of the match.

“We want to win the cup again this season and I want to see the pleasure that it brings to all the players, and all those associated with the club.

“It’s a wonderful experience to play at the Excelsior Stadium and we can hopefully play there again.

“It’s also great to play against other teams throughout Scotland and to experience the joy of winning, particularly on the road. It will be tough but we can hopefully repeat our success in the competition.

“We’re going to Giffnock this weekend and GSC Juventus have done reasonably well in the past few years. They’ll be up for it on Saturday and will be looking to take a scalp in the cup. It would be great to see the teams from the east coast do well this season in all age groups.”