Grammar football kids win national title

Coach Johnny Gardiner with triumphant Lanark Grammar squad (Submitted pic)
Coach Johnny Gardiner with triumphant Lanark Grammar squad (Submitted pic)

Lanark Grammar School’s seven-a-side football stars landed a national Additional Support Needs (ASN) title at Toryglen in Glasgow last Wednesday.

The Grammar boys – aged from S1 to S6 – defeated Glasgow outfit Abercorn 2-1 in the final thanks to goals by Cameron Pollock and Nathan Fleetwood.

“This is the first time a Lanark Grammar team has won a Scottish Cup since the 1950s,” said team manager Johnny Gardiner.

“It is great recognition for the players’ efforts and I’m overjoyed for them.

“They were brilliant during the qualifying campaign and then brilliant again during the finals.

“They had lost in the semi-finals last year so it is tremendous that they managed to win it on this occasion.”

Lanark Grammar had qualified for the final stages by finishing as top South Lanarkshire team in their regional qualifying section, when games were played at Ravenscraig Sports Facility.

But they made a less than brilliant start to the finals and only ended up qualifying as the third placed team in their section.

Although they beat Bucksburn 2-1, Lanark lost 3-2 to Mary Russell and 3-0 against Carrongrange.

But the return of star defender Cameron Steer – the team captain who missed these initial three matches after suffering a migraine – for the knockout stage was key in them improving significantly as the event went on.

Johnny said: “Cameron returning meant I could restore him to the defence and move Cameron Pollock back into his preferred midfield position and play Nathan Fleetwood up front again.”

Lanark duly beat Balwearie 8-0 in the quarter-finals and May Russell 2-1 in the semi-finals to reach the showpiece against Abercorn where they were ultimately triumphant.

The stunning performances of Lanark Grammar in winning the national crown have led to four of their players – Pollock, Fleetwood, Steer and Chad Taylor – being selected for trials with the Scottish under-19 disability squad.

That team’s manager David McCardle was the man who presented Lanark Grammar with the trophy at Toryglen.

The trial will take place later this year.

Football for Lanark pupils with ASN – conditions include dyslexia, ADHD and autism – has been run at the school for the past three years.

Ten youngsters are in the Lanark seven-a-side squad as it goes from strength to strength.

Johnny also thanks Tricia Millar for all her support with the ASN youngsters and all the parents who come along to every game the boys play.