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Rattrays XI 3 – 3 MS United

1st Touch Football Division One (North) at Heathryfold on Saturday 30th March

Report by Andy McLaren

Rattrays XI boss Martin Allan admits he feared for the future of Aberdeen’s oldest amateur football club after having only six signed players during pre-season.

The Division One (North) side are the only current North-East side to have competed in Aberdeenshire’s first ever amateur league.

But Allan, who has been with the club for 12 years, believes the recent arrival of new players will secure the clubs future for years to come.

He said: “The aim from the start of the season was to gain promotion but because of the poor pre-season, we are happy to still be a club in the amateur league.

“When we only had six players at training, we made sure those guys got a full training session.

“We’re happy to have lasted the whole season and we can now work on progressing the club back up the leagues.

“We still rely on the word of mouth from guys who play for the club which means it will always be hard to attract players to the club.

“Rattrays are a decent team to play for and we try to make the club as professional as we can.

“It’s great to have kept the team going over such a long period of time, especially for people such as Billy Allan and Ronnie Martin who have worked tirelessly for the club over the years.”

Billy, nicknamed “Mr Rattrays”, was a player with the original Rattrays team in 1947 and has remained with the club for over 60 years.

Billy, who is now in his 80’s, has filled the roles of player, manager and secretary and is now the club’s honorary president.

And Rattray’s veteran Trevor McLeod, who is in his 14th season, admits it is getting harder to bring in new players as the club are not associated with a specific area of the city.

He said: “I originally started with Rattrays when a friend from work asked me along to training.

“It has seemed to be a struggle more than any other season to get players to training but it’s a big commitment to play every week.

“There are so many other things people like to do on a Saturday but I’m confident we can progress as long as we keep a steady number of players.

“We have nine league games left and I would like us to remain unbeaten if we can until the end of the season.”

Trevor gained promotion to the Premier Division with Rattrays during their 60th anniversary season in 2006 and won the Dickie Trophy with the Aberdeen side in 2010.

And the 38-year-old hopes he can be a part of Rattrays beyond his playing days and create more history with the club he loves.

“If we had younger players, I would quite happily take a back seat and help out with the coaching side of things,” said McLeod.

“I’m at the age where my hamstrings are getting sorer and everyone in the opposite team is a lot younger than me.

“I still enjoy playing and I thrive on trying to keep up with the pace of younger players.

“We always try to play football the right way and nothing will change that, so I am confident we have a bright future ahead.”

Meanwhile, a late Ayman Amish header denied Rattrays a 3-2 win over Division One (North) leaders MS United.

United, who lead the division by 6 points, opened the scoring through Craig Michie’s powerful left-footed strike on 10 minutes.

Rattrays should have equalised 5 minutes later but Peter Jones, who was unmarked, couldn’t find the net with his header.

The tall striker made up for his miss by bundling the ball over the line from 5 yards to make it 1-1 after 25 minutes.

Jones then put his side in the lead 5 minutes later by expertly lofting his shot over the onrushing Christopher Scouller to make it 2-1 to the home side.

The United defence breathed a sigh of relief when David McMillan rattled the crossbar before his downward header was cleared off the line on 35 minutes.

But Rattrays’ Peter Jones, who caused havoc throughout the match, secured his hat-trick with a 20-yard screamer that looped into the top corner of the net.

Half-time: 3 – 1

Before MS could regroup, Sean Taylor was shown a red card for a high challenge to the shock and anger of the United faithful.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, Paul Bowman provided a lifeline for the league leaders when he bundled the ball home from 5 yards to make it 3-2 on 65 minutes.

A moment of brilliance shortly followed when Bowman rattled the crossbar with an audacious overhead kick on 75 minutes.

United were awarded a penalty 5 minutes later when Scott Hall was taken down inside the area but Bowman could only blast his spot-kick over the bar.

But Bowman’s blushes were saved when Ayman Amish powerfully headed the ball into the bottom corner of the net to maintain his sides lead at the top of the table.

Full Time: 3 – 3