Two local goalscorers had Scotland on top of the world at the Senior World Cup.
Although they couldn’t lead the national side to glory in the main event, Graeme Robertson and David Sneddon were on target in the final of the over-50s warm-up event in Thailand earlier this month.
That handed Scotland a major boost going into the World Cup itself, and the team finished a commendable third.
“That’s a great achievement and improvement from last year,” explained Robertson, a coach at the new SFA Forth Valley Regional Academy. “The whole experience was different class. I loved it.”
The warm-up ‘Masters’ competition was held in Bangkok where the team stayed before quickly relocating out of the city. The over-40s and over-50s sides reached the final, but it was Robertson and Sneddon’s older team which won the seven-a-side competition.
“It was six games and we used it to acclimatise to the conditions. The humidity is incredible.
“We beat a specialised Masters team from Australia, 2-0. I scored and David Sneddon too.”
In the main event, Scotland were drawn against Iran, Australia and New Zealand, and the Scots edged into the semi-final on goal difference, ater a final 4-2 win over the Kiwis 4-2. They’d previously drawn with Australia and lost 2-1 to Iran.
“The Iranians take it very seriously. They had some guys who had played in the FIFA World Cup.”
Scotland missed a penalty in the semi-final against Thailand with the scores 1-1 and ended up losing 3-1 but won the third-place play-off against Taiwan 2-1.
“We also got the chance to do some coaching out there,” added Robertson, “the facilities are excellent and the kids’ enthusiasm was great. Denis Irwin, Lee Sharpe and Andrew Cole were there too.
“We took kit out - I had some Stenhousemuir equipment and training gear with me, so there’s now some boys running around pitches in Bangkok wearing Warriors shirts!”