Team spirit leads Sandys to more silverware glory

Sandys capped a memorable season by sealing a cup double along with promotion to the top tier of the Saturday Section of the Lothian and Edinburgh Amateur FA.

Co-managers Alex Handyside and Alex Hood masterminded victory in the Cairns Cup final against Lochend and in the Logan Cup showpiece against Newtongrange Star 'A'.

The Craigmillar club completed their brace of cup wins after confirming promotion from Premier Division 2, and secretary Paddy Mason thinks the team can cope well with the demands of top-level football in one of Scotland's highest-quality amateur setups. "I'm sure we can match the teams in the top league," said Mason. "We might need to add to the squad but by and large the boys have done brilliantly this season. We've got potential goalscorers in all areas, particularly Bobby McKenzie and Bobby Clark.""

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Sandys were promoted alongside champions Edinburgh South Vics at the expense of Seaforth Highlanders to form a 12-team Premier Division 1. Both of the ascendant teams suffered just two losses all season, and just a single win fewer than their rivals Vics - and the result of a disciplinary head-to-head in the event of a tie in points - denied Sandys first place. And Mason paid tribute to the strong management team that steered the Sandys to promotion. He said: "Alex Hood and Alex Handyside have done a magnificent job this season. They've been aided by Gary Handren who takes training with Jackie O'Donnell."

Sandys' cup double was all the more remarkable due to the nature of their victory in the second final. They lifted the Logan Cup after fighting back from being 2-0 down against Newtongrange to win 3-2, and Mason says the club's success in that game stemmed from its roots in Niddry and Craigmillar, the location of Sandys home ground.

"What we have shown is a bit of character and determination that maybe comes from the area we're from to get ourselves back into the game," said Mason. "In Niddrie and Craigmillar, there's an attitude that you're not going to get beat or give in."

Johnno McManus handed Star a two-goal lead, but Robert McKenzie replied for Sandys shortly before half time. Sandys captain Michael Osborne, the man of the match, drilled in a free-kick to equalise on 63 minutes and Gordon Clarkson's extra time penalty snatched victory for the south-east Edinburgh side. "We didn't start very well and it was all Newtongrange," admitted Mason. "But we scored a goal before half time and in the second half I felt we dominated the game."

Skipper Osborne received the top player award and the Logan Cup from LEAFA president Charles Gallacher and dedicated the cup win to former Sandys ace Paul Scott.

Scott, who also turned out for Newcraighall Leith Vics and Danderhall MW, died in tragic circumstances in February.

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