Links to photos are at bottom of this article
On Saturday 13th or October I was invited along to the Ravenscraig Sports Centre to photograph the Henson Projects Scottish Youth Cup event for the younger generation of girls, who are coming through the ranks and will one day, grace the parks around the country for our women’s teams.
The event commenced at 10:30 with two Under 13s semi-finals, the first between Hearts and Hamilton Caledonian and the other featuring Glasgow City and Falkirk.
I wasn’t writing match reports for these games as the YFS were present and more than capable of providing the girls with excellent coverage on their web page, along with live radio and filming much of the event, including interviews with coaches and players.
The match of the day for me was the Under 13s match between Falkirk and Glasgow City, which had the lot. Entertaining from start to finish, tremendous football on display from the youngsters of both sides in a highly competitive match.
In the other match in this age group, Hearts ran out comfortable winners beating their opponents by six goals to nil.
It was great to see that both matches were keenly supported from the seated areas and given some vocal support, which was complimentary and not intimidating to the youngsters, something we see so much of around the youth leagues at the weekends. So well done to the family and friends in attendance.
In the under 15s section we switched from the smaller seven-a-side pitches to full size as the older girls stepped up to play the more customary eleven-a-side game. This meant one match went outdoors and one remained inside Ravenscraig under the roof and free from the persistent rain.
The indoor match featured a closely contested match between Hibernian and Celtic. As I did the team photographs, I couldn’t help but notice the Celtic squad were much smaller in stature than their east coast opponents. I fancied a Hibs win as I watched the side’s line up but the Celtic girls proved me wrong with a stunning 1 – 0 victory over a very impressive Hibernian side.
The Edinburgh club pushed them all the way but couldn’t find a route to goal as Celtic playing in their all black strip, used their pace to get behind the Hibs rearguard, scoring the only goal of the match.
It was heartbreaking watching the Hibees lassies leave the field of play, many whose eyes were filled with tears but they can take great pride in their performance, knowing they never let themselves of the club down.
Whilst Celtic were proceeding to the final and enjoying the warmth of the indoors, a few yards away, Rangers and Lethan did battle, dealing with the cold and rain as well as the opposition.
It was Rangers who won this one, setting up an “Old Firm” final, which I think could be a cracker.
I didn’t see this match as I was enjoying the indoor football but but my assistant Emma McMurray was more than a little taken aback by the quality of football on display.
Hibernian were fortunate to have their club represented in two semi-finals as their Under 17s faced a tough match against Glasgow Girls. Again looking at the sides warm up, I fancied a Hibs victory but they were dealt a bitter blow as they lost 3 – 2 to a determined Glasgow Girls side.
Hibs took the lead early on and looked to be cruising when they were stunned by a Glasgow equaliser. From then on it was end to end action, which saw the Edinburgh side take the lead again. Glasgow Girls however displayed a “never say die” attitude and bounced back to lead 3 -2 going into the last few minutes or so.
It was a nervous time for the girls in purple and black as the green and white of Hibs charged forward, throwing everything at their adversaries but a combination of good defending and tenacity, ensured it would be a double blow for Hibernian Girls.
As Glasgow Girls celebrated, their opponents fate was already decided in the other match between Murieston and Rangers.
Again it was another close affair with just a single goal separating the pair, which was scored by Murieston.
Rangers fought hard as they attempted to get that vital goal on the scoreboard but try as they might, it was Murieston who would hang on and will face the Glasgow Girls.
So no double for the Gers or Hibs but we do have three exciting finals to look forward to.
The SWF have released details for the finals below:
The finals will be held at Toryglen Regional Sports Centre, Glasgow on Saturday 10th November and the line-up is as follows:-
13’s 10.30 K.O. Falkirk v Hearts
15’s 12.30 K.O. Celtic v Rangers
17’s 14.30 K.O. Glasgow Girls v Murieston United
This years final will see the SWF working in partnership with Positive Coaching Scotland and we hope all clubs and supporters will embrace this concept and ensure that the game is played in the best spirit of fair-play.
Tickets prices are £5.00 adults £2.00 children/concessions
Family two adults + two children £10.00
SWFitba hope to be there helping to promote the women’s and girls of Scottish football.
Many thanks to Maureen McGonigle from the SWF for inviting us to this event and supporting SWFitba this season, without her help, we would not exist. Appreciation to the governing body for being so forward thinking and inviting SWFitba to work in partnership with them.
It is not often that SWFitba has the opportunity to report or photograph from youth events, although we have covered major events in Dundee to help Sam Milne of the SFA and I personally have photographed a multitude of boys’ matches and tournaments over the last five years or so.
These events are my favourites by far as I can concentrate on the photography and leave the reporting to others.
Although they are copyrighted to Stephen Kennedy, some were taken by my assistant Emma McMurray, who is fast becoming a dab hand with a camera.
Please note – you must seek my explicit permission before using any images that belong to The Juniors, SWFitba or named photographers.