Formidable footballers clinch historic treble
Footballers from the University of Stirling completed a clean sweep of student trophies when they lifted the Queen’s Park Shield.
It took a penalty shootout against Heriot-Watt University to decide the destination of the Shield - the prize for the Scottish Student Sport Cup winners.
This completes an historic treble for the men’s football team, who also won the British Universities League and Cup double.
The team competes in University matches and in the Scottish Sun Lowland League, which gives Stirling the opportunity to progress into the Scottish Professional Football Leagues.
First Team captain Jack Nixon, from Throckley near Newcastle upon Tyne, is one of 19 students at the University to receive a football scholarship, enabling him to combine his studies with full-time training, competition and sports science support.
The MSc in Sport Management student, said: “It was a big relief just to get over the line, especially with it going to penalties which is always a lottery. We really wanted to win and complete the treble. It’s a massive achievement and the squad of players is stronger than ever.
“To bounce back from losing in the British Universities Championship Final two years ago to winning all three student trophies is huge. The next aim is to do well in the Lowland League and you never know where that might take us.
“The scholarship has given me the opportunity to play football at a high level, but more importantly I’ve been able to develop my education and plan for my future. I would love to continue to work in performance sport, helping to co-ordinate programmes just like the set-up at the University of Stirling.”
High Performance Football Coach Eddie May praised his player’s achievements. He said: “The success of the team is down to the football scholarship programme. Stirling is Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence so it has a track record in helping students combine high level sport with study.
“The combination of fantastic facilities, access to coaching and sports science support as well as the chance to study for a degree is an attractive proposition, especially when you consider many footballers are released from full-time professional football aged 18 or 19. We work hard to recruit the brightest and best and that makes for a competitive team both in the Lowland League and in university football.”
There was further Stirling team success in Scottish and British student competitions, with Championship wins in men’s and women’s tennis; men’s volleyball; women’s hockey and men’s american football.
Stirling’s men’s and women’s golfers will look to complete a fine season later this month when they compete in the British Universities Individual and Team competitions. The men’s team retained its European Universities crown in September and earlier this week, Mathematics student Jack McDonald and Sports Studies & Marketing student Hannah McCook won the men’s and women’s titles at the Scottish Universities Golf Championships.
Many of the students receive support through the University’s International Sports Scholarship Programme and from Winning Students, the national sports scholarships for student athletes.