Bitter Sweet Week for Under 18 Squad

Last updated : 16 April 2002 By Mad Honest Man
Ayr United Under 18's lined up against Rangers at Ballast Stadium, Hamilton for the final of the 2002 Scottish Youth Cup.  This was Ayr Youth's second final in recent years, going down 2-0 to Hibs in the 1992 final.

The United team, who hoped to eradicate that senior Cup Final reversal of 17th March, lined up as Hamilton, Potter, Lyle, Chaplain, Molloy, ferry, McColl, McVeigh, Kean, Black and Duncan.  Ayr were first to the action and almost took the lead in 10 minutes when Scotland Under 19 internationalist,  Stewart Kean's shot came back off ‘Gers post.  Both keepers were very much to the fore keeping their respective sides in the game until the 28th minute when Chris Burke of rangers capitalised on a Mark McColl error to put the blues ahead.  United battled and were deservedly level 3 minutes before half time when a Stewart Kean cross was flicked on by Tom Molloy for Scott Chaplain to head home under heavy attention from the Rangers defence.

With the score at 1-1 at half time things looked bright for Ayr.  When the teams re-appeared Ayr had substituted Mark McColl with Alan Love.  The tactical change did little to stop Rangers striker Charlie Adams scoring twice in the first twelve minutes of the half.  Northern Irish midfielder, Aaron Black, brought Ayr back into the game with a superb volley  from the edge of the box.  Kean and Ferry had chances to level the score with Alan Hutton (who ironically comes from Troon a few miles from Ayr) clearing a Ferry shot off the line for Rangers.

Chris Burke put the game beyond doubt with a fourth Rangers goal in the 70th minute.

 A 4-2 defeat was on balance a just result but Ayr were pleased with the many superb performances, particularly from Stewart Kean and Aiden McVeigh outfield and from Ayr goalkeeper Brian Hamilton.

Scotland manager Bertie Vogts who watched the game must have been impressed with the wealth of young Scottish talent around.

If the cup defeat was a blow for Ayr they had, at least, the joy of being crowned Scottish Youth League Champions on Saturday for the second year in succession.  With players such as Ayr's Scottish Under 18 Internationalists Robert Burgess and Andrew Ferguson playing their part in that league win, (sadly missing from that cup final defeat) Ayr United must be optimistic about their future.