University of Stirling footballers win Scottish universities cup

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University of Stirling footballers lift the Queen's Park Shield.
Captain James Berry (left) and Vice-Captain Marcus Lavery (right) lift the Queen's Park Shield.

The University of Stirling’s student footballers have been crowned the best in Scotland after snatching an injury time winner in the final of the prestigious Queen’s Park Shield.

Run by Scottish Student Sport, the competition – founded in 1921 and one of the oldest in Scottish football – pits Scotland’s universities and colleges up against one another, and Wednesday’s final saw Stirling take on Heriot Watt.

After a frustrating 90 minutes in which Stirling dominated – with multiple attempts hitting the bar and another cleared off the line – substitute Euan McGill hit the net in added-on time. The midfielder – who celebrated his 23rd birthday on Tuesday – had only been on the pitch for six minutes when he sparked jubilant scenes in the 91st minute, scoring from a Jamie Thompson pass.

Euan McGill (right) celebrates after scoring the injury time winner. Euan McGill (right) celebrates after scoring the injury time winner.

It is the side’s second competition win of the season – after they were crowned champions of the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Premier Division North for the third successive season.

They also made history when they reached the Fourth Round of the Scottish Cup, playing Dundee United in January; are currently fourth in the Lowland League with just two matches to go; and reached the final of the BUCS National Championships last month.

Following the dramatic cup win, Head Coach Chris Geddes spoke to final-year journalism student John Turnbull – part of the club’s media team and Sports Editor for student newspaper Brig.

Geddes said: “It’s definitely a relief, we were the better team – hit the bar four times in the first half and had one cleared off the line, but Heriot-Watt were dangerous on the counter.

“Second half, we had a lot of the ball, and it was a good goal from Euan coming on. It was his birthday yesterday, so good for him.”

He added: “I’m so happy for the players because they’re having such a good season. They deserve it, so I hope they enjoy their night.”

Chris Geddes with Queen's Park Shield. University of Stirling Head Coach Chris Geddes, pictured with Queen's Park Shield.

David Bond, Head of Performance Sport at the University of Stirling, said: “Congratulations to our men’s first football team on winning the Queen’s Park Shield – we’re all very proud of their achievements, across all competitions, this season.

“The success this season is a product of the hard work and dedication the players, their coaches, and the University’s support staff put in on a daily basis, to ensure our athletes reach their potential and are prepared to compete at an elite level.”

The students are now focused on their final two Lowland League games – against Hearts B and Caledonian Braves – before starting their Lowland League Cup campaign against Dalbeattie Star. They also play Blackburn United in the fourth round of the East of Scotland Qualifying Cup next week.

To read the full match report from John Turnbull, please visit Brig’s Sports pages. Please see the gallery below. Additional match photography by George Vekic can be viewed online.

The University of Stirling was made Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence in 2008 and was crowned The Times/Sunday Times UK Sports University of the Year in 2020. Since then, the University has further enhanced its sporting prowess by unveiling a new £20 million Sports Centre, comprising a fitness suite, strength and conditioning suite, performance gym, exercise studios and a three-court sports hall. The investment – which complements the existing National Swimming Academy – ensures that Stirling will remain the choice of elite athletes, including medal-winning Olympians and Commonwealth Games athletes, for years to come. 

Gallery: Queen's Park Shield final

University of Stirling footballers win the Queen's Park Shield 2023.

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