East Stirlingshire’s youth policy pays dividends

Schoolboy Billy Vidler grabbed the winner for Shire on Saturday. Picture: Michael Gillen
Schoolboy Billy Vidler grabbed the winner for Shire on Saturday. Picture: Michael Gillen

Billy Vidler was able to go to school on Monday and tell his pals about how his first 
senior goal won Shire their first away win of the season.

The sixth year pupil scored what proved to be the winner against Albion Rovers seven minutes before half-time at Cliftonhill on Saturday as the Bainsford club secured a 2-1 victory.

Shire are hopeful that it was an example of how boss Craig Tully’s plans for developing a youthful team is now beginning to pay off.

Vidler, who attends Springburn Academy in Glasgow, joined the club in the summer after being spotted playing for a boys club in Cumbernauld.

The 17-year-old previously trained with Raith Rovers and signed on as part of the club’s plans to create an under-20 team in the SPFL Development League.

“The establishment of a working youth policy has been a key driver for the future of the club,” said Shire secretary Tadek Kopszywa.

“We have had some very good success in the past in bringing on some of our own players through the under-17 and under-19 teams we operated under the SFL.

“But that set-up has changed and we are now trying to use our participation in the Forth Valley Football Academy as a way of finding quality youngsters who may become future first team players.

“Our under-20 team this season is already starting to show results and that’s primarily down to the hard work of Craig Tully and his coaches and scouts.

“In the near future we will be announcing further plans to develop our kids community football further in the hope of initiating a joined-up approach to long term youth development.”