Football: Capital showdown kicks off festival of cup finals

YOUNG local footballers could bring no fewer than four Scottish Cups to the Capital this weekend and next as the season showpieces at all age groups get underway.

It's a telling sign of the quality of promising footballers in the Lothians that, in the line up of 14 teams contesting seven Scottish Youth FA finals, no fewer than five hail from Edinburgh.

To kick off the series of finals over the next two weekends at Airdrie United's Excelsior Stadium, an all-Capital affair between Hutchison Vale and Tynecastle tomorrow afternoon represents the opening match.

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As an added incentive, the winners of this clash will go forward as Scottish representatives to the finals of the Tesco Cup, which features the champions of all four home nations.

Edinburgh City kick off proceedings on Sunday when they meet Pollok-based Hillwood BC in the under-17s final.

This City side won the competition last year, and club secretary Dave Brand says winning it again would be a remarkable achievement: "This will be the fourth cup final we've reached this season, and we've lost only one game all year. We're the holders, but lost nine players to senior teams so had to rebuild, so to get this far is fantastic."

Later on, Edinburgh United will mark a stunning rise to prominence when, only six years after the club's foundation, their crack under-19 outfit will tackle Cowdenbeath-based Blue Brazil.

The Fife side are likely to start as favourites but the Capital club's coach Barry Campbell heads into the game with the belief his side can win. He said: "We've achieved beyond our expectations this season. This club was founded only six years ago and only last year we climbed into the First Division – that was our goal."

On Sunday, 2 May, Tynecastle will again contest a national final when their under-14s face up to Drumchapel United at Airdrie at 11.00am. The boys in maroon will be hoping to achieve a roll-over victory as this team won the premier trophy last year at under-13 level.

Their coach, Keith Robertson, is "quietly confident" of victory. He said: "It's a great achievement to get there two years on the trot. The boys have shown commitment, endeavour and hard work to get results this season. I can see it being an open affair but I'm quietly confident."

SCOTTISH YOUTH FA CHALLENGE CUP FINALS (all at Excelsior Stadium, Airdrie)

Saturday, 24 April

Under-13: Hutchison Vale FC v Tynecastle FC (1.00pm).

Under-21: Knightswood Juvs v Hillwood BC (3.30).

Sunday, 25 April

Under-17: Hillwood BC v Edinburgh City (1.00).

Under-19: Blue Brazil v Edinburgh Utd (3.30).

Sunday, 2 May

Under-14: Drumchapel Utd v Tynecastle FC (11.00am).

Under-15: Dyce BC v Kilsyth Ath (1.30).

Under-16: Lewis Utd v Bellfield BC (4.00).