Aberdeen FC Ladies U19s lift National Performance League Cup after just 40 training sessions

AFC Ladies U19s with their trophy.
AFC Ladies U19s with their trophy.

Assistant manager Scott Duncan says Aberdeen FC Ladies Under-19s’ National Performance League Cup win is an “amazing achievement”.

The city side beat Hearts 1-0 to lift the trophy at Ravenscraig in Motherwell.

The team was only put together in January.

AFC Ladies’ first team were relegated to Division One North last term, which meant the existing U23s team could no longer play in the league. The senior side were then taken over by Aberdeen FC.

AFC Ladies, now focused exclusively on age-group football and developing talent, decided to pull the players who hadn’t moved to Pittodrie – most who are much younger than 23 – out of regional competition and instead enter a 19s team into the National Performance League set-up.

The win against Hearts was their first silverware since the changes.

Duncan said: “It’s the first trophy since we started the team in January.

“It’s an amazing achievement. We’ve only trained 40 times as a team and gone and won a cup.”

Eilidh McHattie’s goal decided the final. She is one of five players who have been called up to the Pittodrie-based Aberdeen Women’s team, which AFC Ladies feed, this term based on their performances for the undefeated U19s.

Duncan said: “We started off all guns blazing, and had a shot on target within a few minutes and a couple of corners.

“We ended up scoring in the sixth minute from one of those corners, which we’d been practising because we played Hearts the week before and knew they were vulnerable from set plays.

“That focus paid off.”

Duncan thinks the success – and potential for winning the league and Scottish Cup – vindicates AFC Ladies’ decision to go down the U19s and national competition route.

He hopes the club will continue to go from strength to strength as a result.

Duncan said: “I’ve been with Aberdeen FC Ladies from the very start and been reserve team manager, first-team assistant manager and my current role is assistant with the 19s and on the football development committee.

“These girls were in Division One North last year, which is what the first team – now being looked after by Pittodrie – are in.

“Because we couldn’t have two teams in the same league, we decided these girls were more than capable of going up against what Rangers and Celtic have got.

“So we decided to put them in National Performance League. It’s been great, we’re undefeated, we’ve won a cup and are in the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup.

“We’ve got players from outwith Aberdeen, from Meldrum, Banff and the Stonehaven area. With the success hopefully we can continue to grow and grow.”