Partick Thistle 2 Scotland 1

Despite going in front thanks to a Lewis Downie opener, a brace by Partick Thistle's Rico Diack denied Scottish Schools' Boys Under 18s squad a win in their first game of 2023.

The SSFA International Boys’ squad was selected after the Final Trial on 15th December. The squad had a training camp on 20/21 December at Renfrew and played the first of the planned preparation games on Thursday 12th January at Petershill Park against a Partick Thistle Weir Academy side.

In the worst possible weather conditions of heavy rain and gale force winds the young Jags side provided excellent opposition in a competitive game that saw them secure a comeback 2 -1 win.

After a bright start from Thistle it was the SSFA team that gradually took control. Kai Stevenson for Thistle looked a real threat but the Scottish defence handled the danger well and started to take control in the midfield with a confident start from Ricky Waugh, Daniel Mason-Bone and Lucas Stenhouse.

The visitors scored the first goal after 31 minutes when forward Lewis Downie cut infield and fired in a powerful shot from just inside the box. This was a good goal that reflected the slight upper hand that the SSFA team had established, against the wind, in the first period.

At half time Scotland made five planned substitutions and moved position for a few others as the coaching team of Craig Johnstone, Gerry O’Hare and Stevie Harvey looked to learn more about their new squad.

Partick Thistle  took control of play and forward Rico Diack scored a stunning long range shot into the strong wind after 61 minutes. The striker’s shot swerved away from keeper Ethan Mitchell giving him no chance.

In the 75th minute, as Scotland struggled to find any second half rhythm, the same player scored a second goal. This time Diack had the wind to thank in some way for his goal. Keeper Mitchell came off his line to intercept a through ball which held up in the strong wind. This left him stranded off his line and Rico netted with a calm finish.

There was an unfortunate injury to Partick’s Jake Henderson when an SSFA players slipped on the wet surface and collided with his opponent.

Full time arrived with Scotland unable to make any impact to the scoreline in what was a very good first fixture for the new team Thanks go to Partick Thistle for their cooperation.

Airdrie FC provide the next opposition for the SSFA squad when the teams meet at Forthbank astro, Stirling on Sunday 15th January with a 2.15 pm kick off.

Scotland’s first international match will take place at New Western Park, Renfrew on Wednesday 25th January when they take on a travelling Australia Schools’ team with an 11.00 am kick off.

Scotland: –Ethan Mitchell, James Carnihan, Harris Clubb, Ruaridh Cant, Callum Hannah, Daniel Mason Bone, Ricky Waugh, Lucas Stenhouse, Calum Gemmell, Nathan Cannon, Lewis Downie.

Subs all used in second half: Jayden McGivern, Andrew Miller, Nathan Smith, Martin Campbell, Joe Prior.

Unavailable: Corey Armour and Aaron Nicholson.