Under-15s Club Academy Scotland League Cup
Celtic v Heart of Midlothian
Sunday, 12 December 2021: 11am Falkirk Stadium

Under-16s Club Academy Scotland League Cup Final
Hibernian v Celtic
Sunday, 12 December 2021: 2.30pm Falkirk Stadium

This Sunday, the first ever Under-15s and Under-16s Club Academy Scotland League Cup Finals will take place in front of supporters at Falkirk Stadium.

Since Club Academy Scotland’s inception, teams have competed against each other at Under-15s level, and in an under-16s league but for the first time the teams will have the chance to lift silverware before Christmas.

Club Academy Scotland has been the breeding ground for current Scotland internationalists Billy Gilmour and Nathan Patterson, and on Sunday supporters have the chance to watch the next generation of talent in person.

Earlier this year Scotland Under-16s were joint winners of the historic Victory Shield and this weekend several players from that team will be on show in the match between Hibernian and Celtic.

Managing the Club Academy Scotland programme is former Scottish Cup winning goalkeeper Campbell Money who believes the chance for the youngsters to lift a trophy will help in their development to further their careers.

Campbell, what can we expect from the two finals this Sunday?

Both matches will have some of the best talent in Scotland on show, and in particular the under-16s final will have a number of Scotland Under-16s internationalists featuring. Hibernian have Jacob McIntyre and Rudi Allan Molotnikov in their team and Celtic will have Rory Mahady, Daniel Cummings, Alasdair Davidson, Josh Dede, Mitchel Frame and Kyle Ure in their squad, who have all impressed this season.

For both age groups, this is the first cup final they’ve played in and to have the match being hosted by Falkirk will add to the occasion for the players.

This is the first of the League Cup Finals as we wanted to introduce an element of competition for players playing from the Under-13s to the Under-16s age groups. While there is an Under-16s league this is the first cup competition they’ll have played in.

How will the experience of playing in a Final enhance the development of these young players?

These matches will require the players to adopt a different mindset to previous matches they’ve played in and not only will it be a different challenge for them, it’ll also test the coaches as well.

It’ll be a terrific occasion, that allied to the fact that the 16s final will be a dress rehearsal to the Premier Sports Cup Final a week later.

The Under-15s usually play in a non-competitive league structure so this experience will give them a real taste of knock-out competition and playing in a big occasion at such a young age.

How would you reflect on the Club Academy Scotland programme in the last few years?

There’s been a lot of change in terms of the demands made of clubs and some of it has been challenging but they have responded well and the fact that in the last two Victory Shield competitions Scotland have jointly won the trophy shows the players available at that age group are playing in a top-level environment at their clubs. The Under-17s have also qualified for the elite round, being just a step away from a European Championship. These are all players that are involved in Club Academy Scotland.

Nathan Patterson and Billy Gilmour are both success stories of the Club Academy Scotland programme but its fore runner was the Pro Youth Initiative Programme and 18 out of the 24 players selected for the last Scotland double header against Moldova and Denmark came through those systems.

Within Club Academy Scotland, clubs are split into four sections: Elite Level, Performance Progressive Level, Performance Level and Advanced Youth Level. The clubs involved in each section is currently under review ahead of the 2022-2025 cycle as we continue in our aim to provide the best environment for the young players in Scotland.

How to watch the finals?

There is free entry for all supporters on Sunday at Falkirk Stadium.