Kilmarnock U20 v Ross County U20

Kilmarnock U20 v Ross County U20

KILMARNOCK: Miller, Queen, McLevy, Taylor, Clark, Wilson, McLean, Graham, Sibbald, Johnston, Whittaker

Subs: Lyle, Paterson, Cameron

ROSS COUNTY: Foden, Miller, McLaughlin, Morris, Ross, Beeston, Moffat, Russell Dingwell, Morrison, Tony Dingwell, Malcolm

Subs: Tait, MacLennan, MacIver, Wallace, Paterson

The skies of Kilmarnock saw plenty of weather related action during this u20’s match against Ross County, but it was the action on the pitch from one individual that really caught my eye as Tony Dingwell’s hat-trick stole the show at Rugby Park. This was a game full of incident.

Like many of the Scottish stadiums I’ve walked into of late, I was welcomed by a friendly face. Kilmarnock was different, there was two! Mark and Alan in the reception/trophy cabinet area were a pleasure to share various football ramblings with. Mainly surrounding the plastic pitch influx and how it benefits clubs on numerous levels. But it was also really evident, like it was at St Mirren how central to the community the club is. The car park was swamped with parents picking up their kids from sessions on the main pitch.

Ross County started the brighter as overage player Tony Dingwell looked an immediate threat. But Killie experienced some early openings too. But it was Greg Morrison of Ross County who had the first real chance to break the deadlock. After good work down the right flank and a neat cutback from fullback Miller, Morrison’s well struck shot was charged down well by the committed Killie defence. From this block Killie countered well and the energetic McLean cut in from the right and unleashed a belter from 25 yards, it struck the upright and left the frame rattling.

Continued pressure from Ross County led to the opening goal in the 29th minute. Sam Morris rose highest from McLaughlin’s out-swinging corner which rattled the crossbar with a powerful header. Tony Dingwell was first to react and nodded in the rebound from close range. 1-0 Ross County.

After a couple of early wobbles, young Killie GK Ross Miller went onto impress. The first real example of his shot stopping ability came on 31 minutes as a drilled effort by leftback McLaughlin from 25yards stayed low and was brilliantly tipped round the post. Tony Dingwell continued to cause problems for the Killie back four and on 37 minutes he mazed his way through the back line, but was met by the onrushing Miller, another great save. The one-way traffic continued as Morrison broke free a minute later. Miller again showed his 1-1 on one ability and saved well from Morrison’s effort.

Just before halftime Ross County had a goal disallowed when McLaughlin’s corner swung out of play before being met by the head of Tony Dingwell. It remained 1-0 to Ross County until the break.

Halftime: Kilmarnock 0-1 Ross County

The referees HT whistle was the signal for the skies of Killie open and begin its half-time show. An absolute downpour of hail left the pitch completely white. After the discussion pre-match regarding plastics pitches, this left me interested to see how this was going to impact on the 2nd half. But both sides delivered an even more impressive 2nd half display.

Killie started the brighter, but no clear cut chances were being created. Their biggest threat, McClean, had to come off injured on 62 mins. This was a blow. He was replaced by Innes Cameron. Soon after, on 67 mins, Killie equalised through Jack Whittaker with a cleverly looping header, well out of reach of Foden between the sticks. 1-1.

Ross County were back in front in no time. On 71 minutes it was another set piece combination of McLaughlin and Tony Dingwell that restored a deserved lead for Ross county. Simple this one, another out-swinging corner nodded in from close range by Dingwell. 2-1.

Ross continued to press for another. They earned themselves a penalty in the 80th minute which gave Tony Dingwell the opportunity to deservedly take home the match ball. That he did after cooly slotting home. However, there was still some action to come. Whitaker got himself on the score sheet again after reacting well to a deflected shot, slotting home close range. 3-2 Ross county.

Ross County deservedly took all 3 points here at Rugby Park. But this was comfortably the most best experience in terms of clubs making a lot of effort for these u20 games. Printed out team sheet/write up about the game, playing in the home stadium, announcements of goal scorers and subs…. well played Killy!

Full-time: Kilmarnock 2-3 Ross County

Kilmarnocks “ONE OF OUR OWN” most impressive player –Miller

Ross Countys “ONE OF OUR OWN” most impressive player – Tony Dingwell

See you pitchside next time,



Dundee U20 V Aberdeen U20

Dundee u20 vs Aberdeen u20

DUNDEE: Mitchell, Dryden, Meggatt, Priest, Waddell, Colquhoun, A. Black, Curran, Arturo Perez-Reverie, J. Black, Gemmell

Subs: Gourlay, Warwick, Gibb, Clark

ABERDEEN: Lennox, S Ross, Harvie, Thomas, McKenna, Rose, Anderson, Flood, Trialist, Smith, Norris

Subs: Craddock, Robertson, McLennan, Orsi, Dangana, Youngson, Campbell

With both sides in similar form going into this game at a chilly Links Park, I felt this was an opportunity for Dundee to show their league position of 13th was a little underwhelming. In spells, throughout another entertaining u20 league match, they certainly did.

Aberdeen started the stronger of the two and, early on, actually looked like they could runaway with it. That wasn’t to be, but on 7 mins the deadlock was broken. Impressive work from Harvie down the left earned himself the opportunity to pick out a teammate in the box. It was a great cross that found the Aberdeen trialist at the near post and his half volley beat the keeper. It was a neat build up that was well finished by the trialist. Aberdeen continued to dominate after the goal as Perez-Reverie was beginning to look isolated up top for Dundee.

Harvie continued to impress from LB and Smith was regularly finding pockets of space in between Dundee’s defensive and midfield lines. The experienced Willie Flood sitting in front of the back four certainly contributed to this. Both Flood and Smith were dominant throughout the first 45. A calm and confident Harvie created another chance for Aberdeen as the trialist headed towards the top corner. Mitchell tipped onto the bar, great save.

However, against the run of play, Perez-Reverie should have had the teams level just before HT. A nodded ball across from Waddell found Perez-Reverie 6 yards out, but headed down into the keepers arms. 1-0 Aberdeen at halftime.

Halftime – Dundee 0-1 Aberdeen

links 1a edit

It was a busy start to the 2nd half, both teams come out chomping at the bit but it was at the point that Flood and Smith came off for Aberdeen (no doubt with the weekend fixture in mind) that the game swung. Dundee’s J.Black and Curren began to find more space in midfield with Flood off, and that allowed more numbers get forward and support Perez-Reverie’s good hold up play as Dundee pushed.

Aberdeen generally dealt with Dundee’s offering well and keep the efforts to long range length. But the rewards for Dundee came late on in the 89th minute as a long throw in from the left wasn’t cleared at the 1st attempt. Kyle Clark found himself unmarked at the back post and he tucked away well with a right foot half volley. 1-1 full time. Despite Aberdeen’s dominance in the 1st half, probably a fair result.

Fulltime – Dundee 1-1 Aberdeen 

Links team photo_Fotor

In terms of Montrose’s Links Park ground, it was probably the best plastic surface I’d seen to date. The groundsman Fred was a passionate and friendly guy who was also kind enough to invite me to the Montrose league game at the weekend. The Montrose tunnel was a lovely little corridor of football history too, when hair was big and shorts were small. They say what goes around comes around, I genuinely hope that big hair and stupid little shorts make a “come around” in my lifetime. The advertising behind the team in the photo from 1982 above couldn’t be more aptly postioned… “latest fashions for the young”. I feel sorry for my former self as I was indeed “the young” at that time.

Dundees “ONE OF OUR OWN” most impressive player – Perez-Reverie

Aberdeens “ONE OF OUR OWN” most impressive player – Daniel Harvie & Cammy Smith

See you pitchside next time,


St. Mirren U20 V Falkirk U20

St Mirren 0-2 Falkirk

ST MIRREN: Wilson, Morrison, Beattie, McDonald, Naismith, Goodwin, McAllister, Carswell, Flanagan, Gow, Howieson

Subs: Wilson, Pooler, Harrison, Cameron, O’Keefe

FALKIRK: Deniz, Finlayson, Gallacher, Blues, Eadie, Johnson, Smith, Peggie, McHugh, Langton, Shepherd.

Subs: McMinn, Taylor, Evans, Dunne, Stowe, Mitchell, Hussain.

It was a bitterly cold evening in Paisley where an in form St Mirren met a predictably unpredictable Falkirk side on a grass pitch, yes… a grass pitch. I’m all for the 3G pitches, don’t get me wrong, but its easy to forget the smell of a real pitch. Nice bit of nostalgia to start the evening as the officials and players sprinted out onto the pitch at St Mirran park, thats another ground to added to the list. A decent crowd welcomed out the teams from the opposite west stand side, whilst a healthy laptop contingency were gathered above the tunnel in the main stand. Nice to see.

It was a bright start from Falkirk as St Mirren struggled to keep pace with David Smith and Bob McHugh early on. The early highlight was a low McHugh left footed shot that was well saved by Willison at the near post, just a half chance. St Mirren finally got themselves into the game on 16mins when Flanagan dragged wide after impressive link up play from the experienced Gow and Goodwin.

St Mirren’s Jim Goodwin was unsurprisingly involved in some early competitive exchanges with McHugh and Shepherd, that was a sign of things to come. You couldn’t criticise his passion though, constantly guiding the youngsters around him was good to see. In fact, its something I’ve seen a few times now, the likes of Willie Flood at Aberdeen and with Queens Park last week, experienced central midfielders/defenders being brought into to these development games to, not only get their fitness up to speed, but to also have a guiding presence in the dressing room and out on pitch. Hopefully thats pays off in future for the younger players.

Midway through the 1st half St Mirren began to play and apply some serious pressure. A well struck freekick from Gow was well saved by Deniz. But Falkirk’s McHugh was a constant threat and when he found a pocket of space 25yards out he didn’t hesitate. A right-footed bullet into the top corner would have left any keeper struggling. 1-0 Falkirk after 39mins.

After going 1-0 up Falkirk’s back line dropped deeper and deeper, this obviously welcomed St Mirren on, but Blues, Eadie and Johnson handled the pressure extremely well and saw the Bairns through to half time with a 1-0 lead.

Halftime – St Mirren 0-1 Falkirk.


The 2nd half started in a similar fashion to the 1st. Falkirk were first out of the blocks and settled well. It was around the 50 minute mark when Shepard broke free in the box after a well weighted through ball from Bob McHugh. Shepherd struck the ball first time with his right foot and beat the keep at the near post. Great finish. 2-0 Falkirk.

Following the goal, Falkirk’s defensive line dropped again and this welcomed on St Mirren. The best chance fell to Flanagan on 58 mins. From 10 yards out he found himself free with the ball at his feet and looked destined to find the net, but his scuffed shot instead found the arms of Deniz, should have been 2-1.

Falkirk should have extended the lead when the impressive Gallacher crossed from the left to find Shepard free 6 yards out, but he nodded wide. The first substitution came on 77 mins for St Mirren. Kyle McAllister made way for Conor O’Keefe. A Falkirk change instantly followed with the impressive Bob McHugh coming off for Cieran Dunne.

The remainder of the game played out fairly predictably with St Mirren pushing for a goal and Falkirk parking the bus to protect the lead. Gow shot wide on 81 mins from 18 yards out and a number of good crosses from Howieson and Goodwin came to no avail. Again, the Falkirk back line didn’t appear too troubled and dealt with pressure very well.

Fulltime – St Mirren 0-2 Falkirk


Another good result for Falkirk here which ended a decent run of form for St Mirren, still, I don’t think St Mirren will be too disappointed with the performance after dominating possession. They have a nice set up at the ground which also boosts an indoor football dome/bouncy castle behind the North Stand. Undoubtedly a postive thing for the community, as well as a good source of income for the club. There were floods of parents picking up kids as I left the ground. Lots to be positive about at St Mirren, but this was a night for The Bairns.  It was ultimately  the cutting edge of McHugh and Shepherd that gave them the edge here. Although, the togetherness of the Falkirk defensive unit should not be underestimated in this league.

St Mirrens “ONE OF OUR OWN” most impressive player – Cameron Howieson

Falkirks “ONE OF OUR OWN” most impressive player – Bob McHugh & Tony Gallacher

See you pitchside next time,




Hamilton u20 v Rangers u20

Hamilton 3-0 Rangers


HAMILTON: Marshall, Reilly, Quitongo, GarciaTena, Want, Hughes, Cunningham, Docherty (C Scullion, 59), Tierney, Boyd (C Granger, 71) Redmond (Kelly, 65).

Unused Subs: R Connelly, O’Halloran, Ferguson, Henry.

RANGERS: McCrorie, Sinnamon, Mills, Ashmore (Barjonas, 45), Krones, Brownlie, McLeod (Currie, 64), Roberts (Brandon, 70), Gibson, Lyon, Burt.

Unused Subs: Wright, Jeffries, Dykes, White.


It was a damp and skiddy surface that welcomed the players at New Douglas Park, as well as a healthy crowd.  Mark Warburton witnessed his u20’s academy side lose 3-0 in an eventful match up with 2nd in the table Accies. This was my first visit to New Douglas Park, and it was up there with Falkirk. Good infrastructure, friendly staff, and a cracking surface. Team sheets were handed out upon entry, thats a must at all these games in my opinion.

Warburton would have been pleased with the way Rangers started, confident, creative and energetic. There were some spicy exchanges in midfield early on too, but ive come to expect it in this league. Hamilton looked very dangerous on the break and they continued to throughout the 90mins, but on 16 minutes Hamilton were awarded a penalty after a late Jamies Mills challenge on Docherty. GarciaTena confidently tucked into the bottom right hand corner. 1-0 Accies.

Following the goal, Ross Lyon began to dictate the game from midfield for Rangers and a string of corners were a small part of a huge chunk of pressure that really should have resulted with the young gers being level. But it was a counter attack from one of these corners from which hamilton took a 2 goal lead. Good work from Reilly and Boyd left the Rangers defence all ends up and Gibson unfortunatly passed into his own net. 2-0 Hamilton.

Again, more Rangers pressure what followed the goal. Chances from Lyon and Burt really should have taken Rangers into the hutch at halftime with at least one goal back.

hamilton 2

The 2nd half started frantically, Burt (Rangers) and Redmond (Hamilton) both impressed with numorous chances. It was Redmond who neatly tucked away from 10 yards out to make it 3-0, perhaps a flattering scoreline.

The main talking poiunt of the half came on 72 mins when Brownlie decided to go on a mazy run from the CB position for Rangers, after weaving through a few challenges Garcia-Tena came in with a firm tackle that the referee deemed to be a straight red. That was harsh for me, he wasn’t the last man and he appeared to win the ball. Nevertheless, Hamilton defended well with 10 men and limited Rangers long distance efforts for the remainder of the game. FT 3-0 Hamilton.

What impressed me most about this game was the passing ability of Rangers and the speed in which Hamilton counter attack.

See you pitchside next week,