Eric’s pride as Spartans excel in final

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Spartans coach Eric 
Carruthers hailed the club’s ethos after his Under-17 side thrashed Giffnock SC Thistle 5-0 to lift the Scottish Youth Challenge Cup at Airdrie 
United’s Excelsior Stadium.

The former Hearts player was delighted to see the endeavours of the last ten years finally come to fruition in what was a terrific display from the teenagers in red and white.

With further honours a real possibility in the remaining weeks of the season, Carruthers paid tribute to the hard work and commitment of all those involved at the Ainslie Park club.

He said: “We’ve had those boys since they were five and six years old so it’s been a long process, but we’ve now brought it all together. We produce our own players and this is something we are extremely proud of. We’re not all about winning, it’s about producing good football players and some of the football we play is absolutely fantastic.”

A great interchange as early as the second minute between Spartans’ Andrew Mair and Blair Atkinson saw the latter flash the ball across the Giffnock six-yard box, but there was no takers.

However, two minutes later Spartans were ahead as Mair made his way into the box before his shot was parried by goalkeeper Stephen McPhee and Sean Stewart was on hand to tuck away the loose ball.

Three minutes later, Spartans’ Scott Irving was tripped in the box but he failed to make it 2-0 from the penalty spot as McPhee guessed right and got down to palm his shot round the post.

Giffnock’s Blair Lyons then rattled the crossbar from 25 yards as the East Renfrewshire-based side tried to assert some pressure, but Spartans doubled their lead in what was probably Giffnock’s best spell after 31 minutes.

Irving played a searching ball into the left side of the Giffnock penalty area and from a tight angle, Jordan Brown showed great accuracy with a piercing drive into the far right corner

.Spartans then bombarded the Giffnock goal as both Irving and Atkinson brought out the best in McPhee as he kept the score at two before Mair’s clever run took him beyond the last defender, but his shot from 12 yards came back off the post.

Great athleticism from Harry Oliff down the left was 
rewarded with a third goal for Spartans when he played a neat one-two with Mair and drove into the box before firing in a cross for Atkinson to tuck home three minutes into the second half.

Giffnock appeared devoid of ideas and Spartans substitute Kyle Holdcroft Doig almost made an immediate impact when his terrific 30 yard pass put goalscorer Atkinson in again, but this time the No.9 didn’t get the connection he had hoped for as his shot trundled into the arms of McPhee.

Atkinson did double his tally after 74 minutes when team-mate Daniel McIvor was a tad fortunate to receive the ball back after his initial attempt of a cross rebounded back to him, but the youngster showed great composure to deliver the ball to the back post where Atkinson smashed his shot high into the top left corner.

Giffnock’s Johnny MacNamara thought he’d grabbed a consolation but was adjudged to have advanced into an offside position despite his looping header finding the net.

Spartans completed the rout by adding a fifth on the counter-attack as Bruce Scott’s pass put substitute Stephen Havelin through on goal and he toe-poked his shot into the far right corner for a neat finish.

Spartans: Callum Speedie, Kerr Allan, 
Harry Oliff, Duncan Player, Scott 
Irving, David Scobie, Andrew Mair, Jamie Dishington, Blair Atkinson, Sean Stewart, Jordan Brown, Elliot 
Carruthers, Bruce Scott, Daniel McIvor, Kyle Holdcroft Doig, Stephen Havelin.

Giffnock SC Thistle: Stephen McPhee, Johnny MacNamara, David McHarg Shearer, Connor Daniels, Daniel Silver, Kristopher Holmes, Blair Oliver Lyons, James Duncan, David Howie Johnston, Craig Buchanan, James Philip Lea, Gavin Orr, Ross David Sloan, Matthew Doherty, Greg Jacobs, Tristan