The unbelievable run of success achieved by footballers at Motherwell’s Braidhurst High School has been marked by an awards ceremony.
Braidhurst’s under-16 and under-18 footballers both became Scottish Schools Cup winners at their respective age ranges, while glory was also achieved by the under-14s in the Cameronian Cup and the S1 to S3 girls in their Lanarkshire League.
“We have a lot of brilliant young players at this school,” said Braidhurst High PE teacher Matthew Clarke, co manager of the triumphant under-14s squad.
“People that come here are dedicated to football.
“There are boys arriving here at 8.15am after getting taxis from Glasgow or Coatbridge, then not leaving until 8.30 at night so they can do football training.
“They must be doing about 10 hours of football training a week.”
As previously reported in the Motherwell Times, the biggest win for Braidhurst in 2017 came when they won last month’s under-18 Schools Cup final with a 2-1 victory over Eastwood High at Hampden Park.
This success followed Braidhurst under-16s also landing a national cup when goals by Jordan Moore and Callum Neill gave them a 2-1 final success over Queen Avenue in Edinburgh.
The Braidhurst girls celebrated Lanarkshire League glory, while the under-14 boys thrashed Lanark Grammar 5-0 in the Cameronian final in Wishaw thanks to strikes by Dylan Kerr (2), Kai Kirkpatrick (2) and Darryl Love.
“This wee group have a great attitude,” said under-14s gaffer Matthew (26) who has worked at Braidhurst for three years.
“That is the main thing that stands out about them.
“They are a nice bunch of guys who work well together and the team spirit is really good.
“They produced consistently good performances under the leadership of captain Cameron Williamson.
“They view playing for the school as a privilege.”
Matthew said that selection criteria for the team – also coached by co boss Conor O’Toole – was dictated by whether or not pupils adhered to a strict behaviour analysis programme.
Only pupils attaining appropriate ‘merit’ grades for good behaviour are picked.
Boasting Scottish SFA School of Football status, Braidhurst benefits from having a Scottish FA Elite performance programme and a Premier Programme for Girls. Coaches also include Andy Goldie and Paul Burns.
“We have the best players,” Matthew said.
“We have 12 boys in the Performance programme.
“If we were allowed to play all of them in the school team we would win everything, but rules mean that the maximum number we can pick is three.”
A fine year for Matthew has also culminated in him winning promotion to junior football’s Super Division 1 with Larkhall Thistle after a prolific campaign which saw the striker net 15 goals.