Erskine and Stew-Mel on the ball

The girls and boys of the Mary Erskine and Stewart’s-Melville Junior School are celebrating the end of yet another hugely successful year on the city’s football circuit.

Triumphs in three competitions including the Inspectors, School Board, and EPSSA Cups, have reinforced the school’s position as one of the strongest set-ups in the primary six and seven age groups.

Football Co-ordinator at the school, Richard Allison, is relishing a role where his enthusiasm for the game has emerged within his players’ performances. Furthermore, this success has continued from April 2011 when the school was awarded the Lloyds TSB Scotland School of the Month accolade for football excellence.

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Mr Allison said: “We have done so well and it’s great what we have achieved but I think the key is getting the pupils started early with a real team-ethic.

“Despite their age, we even have two primary seven girls playing for the school’s third year senior side as they are that technically good so it’s great.

“I think our success is down to the continuity we have managed to achieve and I am very passionate about the football we have here at the school.

“I have a great bunch of guys who help out so without them it would be too much for me to take on myself. I have my expectations for next year so we will see what happens. The primary sevens will be moving up to first year at high school which means playing 11-a-side, so it will be interesting to see how we do on that front.”

A little more than ten years ago, football was untried at the school, with other sports – particularly rugby – dominating the school’s curriculum.

However, an overriding interest from both school staff and pupils enabled Allison to get the ball rolling.

He added: “The school does have a good reputation for sport and it’s great to have seen the kids progress the way they have done. You build up a good sense of humour with them and I think that’s just as important as well. I think Edinburgh at the moment has the strongest regional side in Scotland and we have five or six of our players in that side too, so it shows the kind of football player we now possess at the school.”