Stirling sail into Queen’s Park Shield final

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The University of Stirling’s men’s first football team showed impressive squad depth to run out comfortable 5-1 winners over Glasgow University on Wednesday night.

With the squad split across two games kicking off at the same time, assistant Sean Roycroft took charge in the Queen’s Park Shield semi-final, while head coach Chris Geddes saw his side win 1-0 at Forthbank – thanks to Cammy McKinley’s strike.

At the University, Stirling raced into an early two-goal lead as Calum Rae grabbed a brace. 

Jamie Thompson headed in a third, but the visitors – coached by former Stirling assistant Mark Adams – pulled one back shortly after.

The hosts swiftly returned to their best, though, as Buronbek Mirzasalimov and Euan McGill scored to ensure Stirling progressed into the final.

Roycroft said: “It was a semi-final of the Scottish Uni cup, so it’s a big game – and the boys produced. The pitch wasn’t ideal, a bit wet and bobbly, but they dealt with it well.

“We made a quick start, and we haven’t done that recently. A couple of early goals settled us right down, and in the second half, we dominated and deserved that 5-1 win.

Last week was tough, it was a big game to lose, but tonight we showed our depth. Two games in one night, it’s great for the club and the Uni to win both.

“For most of both halves, we dominated, and kept the ball well, especially in the second half. We kept them moving and scored some really good goals.

“Disappointed with the goal we lost, but on the flip side, we scored two from corners ourselves, so it was good to see that.”

It was from a corner that Stirling opened the scoring on a unique night for the club, as Rae headed in his first from close range after just three minutes.

university football
Calum Rae heads in opening goal. Image Credit: George Vekic

Before Glasgow could find their feet in the game, the West of Scotland side found themselves two-nil down.

Ben Maciver-Redwood was rewarded with an assist for his relentless work in the corner, as the striker stole the ball and set up Rae for a straightforward finish.

Stirling could’ve added a third before half-time but didn’t have to wait long into the second half to do so.

With 47 minutes on the clock, Thompson got up well and headed home from Ciaran McAninch’s corner.

Goals shortly after the start of each half proved popular, but it would only be a consolation for Glasgow, as the ball was flicked in at the near post from a corner.

The early second-half scoring continued, though, as substitute Ben Woloszyn’s cross deflected into the box, and Mirzasalimov reacted well to flick the ball into the far corner.

While there was a difference in quality between the sides, Stirling showed it as Euan McGill capped a five-star performance.

After moving the ball nicely around the Glasgow box, Jason Jarvis expertly curled a first-time cross straight onto McGill’s left boot at the far post, and he finished well on the volley.

Stirling will now face Herriott-Watt University in the final of the Scottish University competition, in a repeat of last year’s final.

Before that, though, the Uni travel to Ainslie Park on Saturday for a South Challenge Cup quarter-final clash with The Spartans.

Roycroft added: “We’ve had such a strong season and been so consistent, so we’ve got nothing to fear when we go there – it should be a really good game.”

University of Stirling: Fry, Lavery, Thompson, Burrows (Southern 83), McGill, Berry, Jarvis (Malcolm 80), McAninch (Navarro 83), Rae (Manomey 80), Mirzasalimov, Maciver-Redwood (Woloszyn 50)

Assistant Sean Roycroft on last night’s 5-1 win.

Featured Image Credit: George Vekic

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