The SSFA Senior National Trophy fixtures between local association representative teams have been taking place over the last two weeks. These games also give International Teams Secretary, Les Donaldson and his team of selectors an opportunity to identify players of a suitably high standard to be considered for the international team trials which come to a crucial stage on Wednesday 27th November at Toryglen Indoor Football Centre.
On Wednesday 30th October, Glasgow Schools ‘ FA, having won their first game against Ayrshire SFA, travelled to play Dumfries and Galloway who also had an early victory against Paisley and District to their credit. The game was played at Palmerston Park but the home team were unfortunately hampered by injuries. Glasgow proved too strong and won out comfortably by a 7 – 1 scoreline.
D & G now meet Ayrshire in their final group game with a ‘must win’ scenario clear to them. This game is scheduled for Thursday 14th November at Dumfries.
On the same day, 14th November, there is scheduled a crucial game between Glasgow SFA and Paisley and District to be played at Toryglen at 2.00pm. P & D won in their second group match in some style when they beat Ayrshire SFA on Wednesday 6th November. In the heart of Burn’s country the ‘Honest Men’ scored four times but their opponents netted on an incredible nine occasions. Striker Simon Miller ( Barrhead HS) notched five goals himself as P& D came back from losing their first game to secure the points. Glasgow have 6 points and D&G and P& D both have three points so there is much to play for in this evenly contested group.
Aberdeen City played host to Aberdeenshire at Cove Rangers on Tuesday 5th November. There was little in the way of fireworks in the game that saw City win by 2-1. The next game in this section will see North of Scotland travel to ‘Shire for their first game of the competition. The game is on Wednesday 13th November at Ellon. With only three teams in this section a qualification spot is still available to all three teams.
The scheduled game between Lanarkshire SFA and the Independent Schools’ Select (SISFA) has still to take place. A second late cancellation of the fixture on 6th November frustrated both teams and the game will need to be re – scheduled before the end of November.
Lanarkshire will meet Forth Valley SFA at Hamilton Palace at 2.00pm on Tuesday 19th November. Forth Valley SFA has six points from their two opening games but there is still much to play for in Group 2. The game between SISFA and West Lothian SFA has also still to be arranged.
Lothians SFA travelled to Dundee on Wednesday 5th November, both teams having won their first section match. The game was switched venue due to flooding on the day of the game and the sides fought out a 2 – 2 draw. As required by the competition rules a penalty kick shoot -out occurred which Lothians won by 5-4.
Both associations have big games left to complete their fixtures and Fife SFA will be looking to get into the qualification fight when they play Angus SFA on Thursday 14th November. There seems, at this stage, some way to go to decide which teams will qualify from this section with Fife v Dundee shaping up as a crucial game.
International Secretary, Les Donaldson is keen that all players will be seen twice if not three times before the Regional trial stage on 27th November and 4th December, both indoors at Toryglen. It looks like a busy time ahead for Local Association sides as they strive to reach the knock out quarter final stage and give their players the opportunity to reach an SSFA international trial.
The final trial, which will see the international team selected, is scheduled for Wednesday 11th December at Toryglen. The indoor venue ensures that the trials will take place no matter the weather and considering the travel arrangements for triallist players from all over the country.
Good luck to all the teams involved in contesting a last eight place and to the individual players trying to catch the eye for international selection.