Scotland gunning for glory at Oriam in Home Nations futsal
Scotland is hosting this year's Futsal Home Nations Championship at Oriam, with the first round of matches being played tomorrow.
Scotland take on Northern Ireland at 7.30pm, while England play Wales at 4pm.
On Saturday, Northern Ireland and England face off at 2.30pm and Scotland play Wales at 6pm.
The final round of matches on Sunday will pit Scotland against England at 4.30pm with Wales and Northern Ireland meeting at 1.30pm
Futsal is a form of five-a-side football played over two halves of 20 minutes with a heavier, smaller ball and unlimited substitutions.
Scotland’s new head coach Gerry McMonagle will be looking to better the country’s third-place finish last year, when they were defeated by England in the tournament’s curtain-raiser and lost out to Wales, who went on to win the competition, before defeating Northern Ireland in their final match.
Scotland’s national futsal team is still in its infancy, having been established in October 2014, many years after the first futsal teams began to crop up around the country.
Perth-based Fair City Santos, who have six players in the Scottish squad, were established in 2000 – although futsal had been played in the city prior to the team’s creation.
The Scots were knocked out of the European Championships preliminary rounds earlier this year after losses to Georgia, Switzerland and Israel.
There are two SPFL players in the squad – midfield duo Craig McLeish, who plays for Albion Rovers, and Scott Smith of Elgin City.
McLeish scored Scotland’s first ever hat-trick in the victory over Northern Ireland and has turned out for Falkirk, Dumbarton, Stirling Albion, Montrose, Clyde and Queen’s Park as well as Albion Rovers.
Smith was a highly-rated youngster at Dundee United, playing five matches for the Tannadice club, and has also had spells at Forfar and Airdrieonians.
Entry to the matches at Oriam is free, with all games taking place on the indoor court.
A number of footballers, including former Hibs midfielder Abdellah Zoubir, Dundee forward Faissal El Bakhtaoui and PSG superstar Neymar, all played futsal before focusing on football.