BSC Glasgow v Civil Service Strollers
South Region Challenge Cup Final
Ground: Olivebank Stadium, Musselburgh
Result: 1-2 (after extra time)
For the second time in 2 days I went to a cup final. This time, I drove down to Musselburgh for the final of the South Region Challenge Cup. The cup has been founded in 2007, when the Scottish Qualifying Cup was scrapped due to restructuring of the Scottish Cup which saw all full members enter the early rounds. The cup is open to all clubs in the Lowland League, East of Scotland League and South of Scotland league, as well as licensed clubs outside those leagues (Glasgow University is the only of these 3 clubs to take up the invitation, with Girvan and Linlithgow Rose not taking part). Spartans have won the competition a record 3 times. They did this in consecutive years: 2009 – 2011.
This year’s final was between Lowland League clubs BSC Glasgow and Civil Service Strollers, a repeat of the 2015 final which BSC Glasgow won 2-0. BSC Glasgow were formed in 2014 as a senior team associated with Broomhill Sports Club, a multi-sport youth organisation. They were elected to the Lowland League as a new club. The first 2 seasons they were sharing Lochburn Park with Junior club Maryhill in Glasgow. Due to no grounds being available to them in Glasgow, they have been sharing Recreation Park in Alloa with Alloa Athletic. This means they are playing quite some distance outside of Glasgow, but the club’s goal is to get back to a ground in Glasgow when they are able to. This season, they finished 3rd in the Lowland League, behind Spartans and East Kilbride. They beat Edusport Academy 4-1 to reach the final.
Civil Service Strollers are a club from Edinburgh that got founded in 1908, originally in the amateur leagues. They won the Scottish Amateur Cup in 1911 and 1921. They later joined the East of Scotland League, winning the league in 1973 and the League Cup in 2001. They won the East of Scotland Qualifying Cup in 1921, 1979 and 1981. In 2016, they finished third in the league. As they were the highest licensed club, they got promoted to the Lowland League filling one of the 2 vacancies left by Threave Rovers (resigned) and expansion of the league from 15 to 16 clubs. They reached the final by beating Vale of Leithen 4-2 at home and finished 7th in this year’s Lowland League.
The game was played at Olivebank Stadium, home of Musselburgh Athletic FC, champions of the Junior East Premier League but moving to the East of Scotland League for next season. The ground is a decent ground for this level, with a seated stand on one of the long ends of the pitch. On the other side and behind one of the goals there is uncovered terracing. Remarkably, there is a children’s play area in one of the corners of the ground. Something which some parents seemed to appreciate, as they could watch the game while their child was playing. Behind one goal there was a hilly, grass area.
The game was close and attractive. At half time it was 0-0, in the second half Civil Service Strollers took a 1-0 lead, but BSC equalised not long after. Based on the amount of fans cheering for the goals, CSS clearly had more fans there, unsurprisingly as they are from Edinburgh. BSC doesn’t have a large fanbase at the moment as they are a new club who are currently in exile as well. The game went into extra time. There were some more chances for both sides, but it seemed like we were heading for penalties. However, a wonderful goal from an overhead kick in the 119th minute decided the game in favour of Civil Service Strollers. Based on the whole game, I would say they were the slightly better team and the deserved winners. They celebrated their first win in this cup greatly. This was a great final for a neutral to attend, at a lovely ground.