Tuesday 27th December
As the clock strikes midnight this Saturday night St. Johnstone U17s side will have gone a full calendar year undefeated. The Saints website spoke to Alistair Stevenson, Head of the Saints Youth Academy, on this fantastic achievement:
“Well, last season they won their league that they play in and went through last season with only one defeat in the whole campaign. From the start of this season they’re undefeated and it’s well over twelve months now that they’re undefeated.
“That twelve month period includes the game against Man United, where they won 2-1, and also includes the St Andrews tournament at the start of the year, which they won and were up against five other Scottish Premiership clubs. This season they’ve won all their games except for a couple of draws.
“The younger half of that group, the U16s in the dual age band, have done particularly well too. They’ve played a midweek U16s league where they’ve played Celtic home and away and beat them at home and drew with them away. So they’ve acquitted themselves very well too and in actual fact that younger group have only lost one game at the start of the season and that was to Rangers, 1-0, at Murray Park with a goal in injury time.
“So they’ve done really well to come in and mix in with the U17 group. The group are now attracting a lot of interest, there’s some English clubs as well as some of the other Scottish clubs noticing and charting the progress of some of the boys. One of the boys has already been invited down to one of the English clubs."
“Several of the boys were called up for the Scotland schoolboy trials and six got to the final trial. Among the final squad of 30, three have got to the final squad of 16. They started with a friendly last Friday and will be involved in the Victory Shield against England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and play a friendly against Australia in January, so it’s a big thing for them and quite a credit to the U17s group.”
“They’re all doing very well at the minute and several have made their debuts with the Saints U20s. There’s not been as many making debuts as we would like because we’ve been holding them back a bit but they’ve been on the bench fairly regularly and playing in bits and pieces of games but I think in the New Year they’ll start to figure more prominently with the U20s.
“It’s the first time we’ve had a group like this we’ve really brought all the way through. Last year was the first time we’d brought five on from the academy to play for the U20s and those five have done well but this group is an even bigger and healthier group where we’re spoiled for choice a wee bit!
“We’re now starting to produce a conveyor belt of talent and if you look down below that we’ve got boys at performance schools and who are good individuals in their age groups who are attracting attention. As a group they’re a very good group and a very good team so it all bodes well for the future.”
Pictured above, Back from left: Nathan Brown, Ben Quigley, Ciaran Bryan, Igor Spuryk, Gregor Donald, Ben Fraser, Ross Sinclair, Kyle Woolley, Shaun Struthers, Morgan Miller, Gavin Brown, David Brown and Jack Wilson. Front from left: Kian Williams, Oliver Hamilton, Kyle Green, Blaine Duncan, Jamie McKenzie, Cameron Ballantyne, Euan O’Reilly and Jordan Walker.
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