A FIVE-A-SIDE team from Tranent will carry Scotland’s hopes at a home nations international tournament in Wales this weekend.
The crack line-up of stars of mini-football will face England and Wales as they bid to win the Coalfields Home International Trophy in Cardiff.
Tranent Juniors trio Lewis Slight, Lewis Thomson and Chris Summerville are among the seven-strong squad from East Lothian that will contest the competition in the shadow of the Cardiff City Stadium.
Haddington Athletic under-17 duo Murray Strachan and Adam Young, as well as Ryan McKinnon and Hutchison Vale’s Myles Doig, will also travel south to play in Saturday’s series. The team successfully qualified for the tournament after impressing at the Scottish FA’s Midnight Leagues programme. The national body’s development officer, Walter Borthwick, doubles as the Tranent side’s coach.
“The boys are really excited to be playing for Scotland,” said Borthwick. “They are determined to play their hearts out and bring the Coalfields Home International Trophy back to Scotland for the first time.”
Tranent will make up one of two Scottish teams in the Tri-nation tournament, their fellow Scots hailing from Kelloholm in Dumfries and Galloway.
Keith Slight, father of player Lewis and coach to his son at Tranent Juniors, expressed pride at the Wales-bound team’s achievements.
“I’m very proud because it’s not normal that you get the opportunity to play in something like this,” said Slight, 52, formerly of Lothian Rose and Preston Athletic. “I think they’ve done fantastically well, and have the chance to pull on a Scotland shirt.”
Gary McFarlane, coach of the Haddington under-17 side that boasts Strachan and Young, was similarly glowing about the success of his players.
He said: “They’ve done really well – the team is riding high at the top of Division 1 in the under-17 league. Adam and Murray have played a big part in that success – both have been very good players.”
Davie Sands, who is in charge of football at Ross High School in Tranent, was keen to extol the achievement of Myles Doig, whom he described as “a tenacious striker, quite small, but fast and nippy”.
Nicky Wilson, the Scottish Trustee of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, said: “Representing your country at any level is a great honour, and I am sure these lads will thoroughly enjoy the experience.
“We believe that sponsoring midnight leagues in former mining areas is a really positive way to engage with young people in healthy and positive sporting activity and improve the quality of life in these areas.”
Scotland teams are sponsored by Thompsons Solicitors. Partner Bruce Shields said: “Thompsons Solicitors is delighted once more to sponsor the Scottish teams in the Home Internationals. We have enjoyed a very close relationship and history with Scotland’s mining communities.
“We will always stand shoulder to shoulder with the coal mining communities, and will provide any legal support they need.”