University of Stirling footballers have drawn Championship side Airdrieonians in the third round of the SPFL Trust Trophy after securing a convincing win over Clyde earlier this week.
The last-32 match – to be played at Forthbank Stadium, Stirling, on the weekend of September 9/10 – comes just months after the students hit the headlines with their high-profile tie against Dundee United at Tannadice, in last season’s Scottish Cup fourth round.
The University is competing in this year’s Trust Trophy – previously known as the Challenge Cup – after finishing in the top four of the Lowland League last season.
The students beat Livingston B 4-0 in the first round before taking on Clyde in the second round at New Douglas Park, Hamilton, on Wednesday evening. Striker Cameron McKinley gave Stirling the lead on 33 minutes after being put through one-on-one with the Clyde goalkeeper – but the hosts equalised 10 minutes into the second half, following a slip in the Stirling defence.
McKinley forced the students back into the lead on 86 minutes after his cross was turned in by helpless Clyde defender Erik Sula, before midfielder James Stokes secured the win in injury time, with a phenomenal, lobbed shot over the Clyde goalkeeper.
Reacting to the draw, the University’s Head Coach Chris Geddes said: “We have got a good draw – a Championship club – and obviously it will be real good exposure for the University.
“It’s going to be a tough game because Airdrie are a really, really good side – but it’s something the boys can look forward to; a reward for the hard work of last year and the first two rounds this year.”
Wednesday night’s victory against the League Two side is the second time in nine months that the students have beaten professional league opposition, following November’s famous win against Albion Rovers, which sent them to the Scottish Cup fourth round. Read the full report from the Clyde match – by reporter Nathan Hassett – on the University of Stirling Football Club website.
The men’s first team will compete in 10 competitions this season: the Lowland League, BUCS Premier North Division, the Scottish Cup, the SPFL Trust Trophy, the Lowland League Cup, South Challenge Cup, East of Scotland Cup, East of Scotland Qualifying Cup, BUCS British Championships and the Queen’s Park Shield.
The new season got under way last month and the University currently sit in 12th position in the Lowland League after five games. They have also progressed from the first round of East of Scotland Qualifying Cup and will take on Airdrie-based Gartcairn in the South Challenge Cup on Saturday.
Stirling – Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence – has six men’s and three women’s football teams, and all benefit from world-class on-campus facilities, including a state-of-the-art fitness centre. The dedicated football coaches are supported by strength and conditioning experts, physiotherapists, and sports scientists, and the top players have the opportunity to combine their studies with high performance football through a scholarship programme.