East football amateurs impress Scotland boss

The East LEAFA outfit. Pic: Scott Thomson
The East LEAFA outfit. Pic: Scott Thomson
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Several players from the Lothians and Edinburgh Amateur Football Association are in contention for a Scotland call-up after impressing national team manager Bruce McNaught in an inter-association fixture.

Ten LEAFA-based players took part in an ‘East v West’ challenge match at Airdrie’s Excelsior Stadium on Tuesday night, and despite all but one playing just 45 minutes, McNaught was happy with what he saw.

“I was very impressed with the way the Edinburgh side was set up in the first-half, they made it very difficult for the West boys,” said McNaught.

“John Nisbet (Tollcross Thistle’s goalkeeper) had a very good game. He made two or three really good saves.

“Jordyn Sheerin (Heriot Vale) has been with us before and done well. I was surprised to see him playing in front of the back four, but I thought he did well. He is a handy guy to have, he is a versatile player. I was also impressed with Sean Lothian in midfield, who had a really good game, as well as the two guys up front (Alan Sheriff and Pieyam Khosrowpour) – they know how to play with each other.”

West had led 1-0 at half-time, after Hurlford Thistle striker Michael Mullen gave them an early lead after three minutes. With the majority of West’s side being part of the Scotland set-up already, and having played regularly together for some time, it was expected to be a difficult test for the East outfit.

However, they were unlucky not to get a goal in the opening half, as they caused the West side plenty of trouble.

Tollcross’ Kyle Hay was pulling the strings in midfield along with Lochend’s Lothian, and both came close to a leveller with shots from distance.

Nisbet produced a wonder-save to prevent West’s Keiron Burns from doubling their lead midway through the first-half. Burns had nipped in after a 
defensive slip and looked certain to score as he ran into the box, but Nisbet got a strong right-hand on his shot to tip onto the post and out for a corner.

West goalkeeper Jordan Longmuir was lucky not to be given a straight red card after coming out of goal to take out Heriot Vale’s Sheriff from around 25 yards out after teammate Khosrowpour had put him through shortly before half-time.

It was all change at half-time as a Dundee select plus Fernieside’s Ally Anderson took on their West opponents. West, with a first-half already behind them, were too good for Dundee and added to their first-half goal. They and ended up 6-0 winners.

With matches coming thick and fast for the Scotland select side, boss McNaught will require a solid group of players to choose from as the national team gear up for the UEFA Regions Cup tournament in Slovenia this June.

Scotland select face an East Lothian select at the beginning of March, before taking on Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland in April.

“We are hoping to get some of the Edinburgh boys along to training and then hopefully see how they do against the East Lothian select,” said McNaught.

“It’s good to get round the country and see other players. You’ve got to be fair and not have a West bias. I think it’s been a worthwhile exercise and there are certainly one or two guys who have put themselves right in the picture.”

Players from LEAFA in ‘East’ squad: John Nisbet (Tollcross Th), Ally Anderson (Fernieside), Steven Milne (Musselburgh), Nicky Murray (Lochend), Kyle Hay (Tollcross), Sean Lothian (Lochend), Martin Cairney (Inverleith), Alan Sheriff (Heriot Vale), Jordyn Sheerin (Heriot Vale), Pieyam Khosrowpour (Heriot Vale).