In only a few weeks, on Thursday 3rd March at New Western Park, Renfrew at 7.00pm, the 2022 Scottish Schoolboy team will begin their Centenary Shield campaign against tough opponents, Northern Ireland.
Preparations for this first international match continue and on Monday 14th February the players gave up their Valentine’s Day celebrations to play against a strong Partick Thistle side at Petershill Juniors, Springburn.
It took a good second half performance from the schoolboys to turn over a 2 – 1 half time deficit and secure a narrow 3 – 2 win.
After a bright start, Scotland seemed to lose their way and the well -coached and well organised Thistle team began to take control. Thistle took the lead following a corner when no defender seemed to attack the ball and the inrushing forward volleyed home from 15 yards out.
Three minutes later and the home team doubled their lead. Thistle outnumbered Scotland at the edge of the box and an 18 yard shot beat keeper Fergus Robertson ( St John’s HS). The young Dundee keeper, making his return from injury, then had a significant tumble from height and had to leave the field as a precaution.
Just on half time John Binnie ( Braes HS) shot home a well placed free kick from the edge of the box to narrow the Jags’ lead.
Half time: Partick Thistle 2 SSFA 1
Showing the fighting spirit that will be necessary in the next few months, the Scotland team rallied in the second half. Lewis Gibson ( Dumfries HS) had influenced the Scotland team since being introduced as a substitute and he scored with an excellent finish from just inside the box. From a good through ball Gibson shot home on the angle to draw the scores level.
Lucas Stenhouse ( James Young HS) was now causing the Thistle defence some problems and he scored a very good solo effort goal, dribbling in, outstripping his opponent and scoring from a tight angle.
Partick Thistle gave the SSFA side exactly the type of game they required at this stage of their preparation. Thanks go to them, their players and coaches and to the match officials who handled the game well.
Scotland certainly did well to come back in this game.
The boys’ squad now have one final ‘ warm-up’ match before their first international. On Wednesday 23rd February they will play a New College Lanarkshire side. The students who are studying a football course will provide the opposition at Broadwood Stadium, Cumbernauld at 2.00 pm kick off.