Great opportunities for local lads

14/12/12 - 12121409 - MATERIAL MARKETING'TORYGLEN'Llyods TSB's Scotland U18's school boy - Gavin Thomson
14/12/12 - 12121409 - MATERIAL MARKETING'TORYGLEN'Llyods TSB's Scotland U18's school boy - Gavin Thomson

Gavin Thomson took the unusual approach of asking his Scotland manager what he needed to do to start for his country.

But, after a positive conversation with head coach Stewart Taylor resulted in a first appearance for the national side, the 17-year-old is now looking to take the advice of his club manager to earn more
 appearances for the first
team.

Thomson made a good impression from the bench for the Scotland Under-18 team in their Centenary Shield clash with Wales, giving him the opportunity to start against the Republic of Ireland and England.

And, although Scotland weren’t able to win any of their four games, Thomson, who plays for Forfar Athletic at club level, insists the togetherness shown by the squad and their attitude on the pitch was second to none.

Now looking to push on and secure a professional contract with Forfar, Thomson believes heeding the advice of first-team manager Dick Campbell will help him force his way 
into starting regularly for the club.

“I felt I played alright but there is always room for improvement,” said Thomson.

“I didn’t get any game time against Northern Ireland so I spoke to the manager and he put me in the squad for the following game.

“And when I came on against Wales I must have done something right because he started me against the Republic of Ireland and England.

“It was such a great occasion playing against England because it was a great atmosphere and we’ve got a great rivalry. I was really glad I asked the manager because I just wanted to play for Scotland.”

Thomson is confident he can hit the ground running at the start of next season.

“I’ve already been told I am going to do pre-season with the first team which will be great for me and having already had the chance to train with them I know it will help me improve,” he added.

Local lad and Arbroath midfielder Scott Fullerton admits it is make or break next term if he’s to make the cut at Gayfield Park.

Having joined Arbroath three years ago from Raith Rovers, Fullerton has made steady progress through the youth ranks but boss Paul Sheerin has laid down the gauntlet.

Despite being selected for the Lloyds TSB Scotland Under-18s squad for the 2013 Centenary Shield, Fullerton has now been urged to make the step up to Arbroath’s senior team.

“I’ve signed an under-19 contract ahead of next season, I’m one of the few who have been kept on, quite a number have been released,” said Fullerton, who plays either left or right midfield.”

Fullerton, who was one of the few bright sparks in the 3-1 defeat against England on April 12, believes he’ll be better for the experience.

“I think things went quite well for Scotland, I didn’t play as much as I would have liked, I only played three games in total, but it was great to be involved,” added Fullerton.

“There are definitely some things to learn, we needed to stick together when it gets tough a little more and learn how to bounce back from disappointment.”

Kirriemuirfootballer Scott McKenna insists representing his country has given him a boost as he prepares to focus on playing for Aberdeen.

Although he was unable to help Scotland record a single victory during the competition, McKenna was part of the side that earned a last-gasp 1-1 draw with New Zealand in an exhibition match.

Now the defender is preparing to move out of the family home in Kirriemuir, making the near 60-mile trip up the coast to Aberdeen in order to concentrate full time on his playing career with the Dons’ Under-20 side.

“We didn’t have the best of Centenary Shield tournaments but I thoroughly enjoyed my time,” said McKenna. “I started all the games and played the full 90 in four of them, winning man of the match against Wales before I came off injured.

“I have learnt a great deal from playing against the other countries and different people. It is much different from club football with travelling away and preparation but when I move to Aberdeen this will help me.

And McKenna is hoping he has the chance to perform in many occasions of similar importance at senior level in the future.

“The best game was possibly against England. We lost 3-1 but we were the better side in the first half before they got a dodgy penalty and we just couldn’t find the same level in the second half,” he added.

Lloyds TSB Scotland, proud partner for the Scottish Schools’ FA, is delighted to support the Scotland U18 schoolboys squad for their 2013 Centenary Shield campaign. For all the latest squad news, visit scottishfa.co.uk/ssfa