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North Region Junior football: Mixed feelings for Dyce Juniors boss Alfie Youngson as final game of season looms

Hall Russell's Sean McHardy and Dyce's Craig Mackie. Picture by Kath Flannery
Hall Russell's Sean McHardy and Dyce's Craig Mackie. Picture by Kath Flannery

Dyce Juniors manager Alfie Youngson thinks it has been a season of missed silverware opportunities for this side as they get set for their final game of the Superleague campaign.

It was honours even between Dyce and Hall Russell United in the Superleague at Ian Mair Park over the weekend.

The visitors took a 35th-minute lead thanks to a superb Cammy Milne free-kick before Craig Mackie’s header with 10 minutes remaining secured a point for the home side.

Dyce boss Youngson has mixed feelings when looking back at his team’s season, saying: “It’s been okay at times. We’ve shown we’re a decent cup side to be honest, reaching six quarter-finals – but we only got through in two of them and didn’t make a final.

“I’ve been here three years but, due to the pandemic, this is the first season that’s been played from start to finish and I’ve learned a lot during the course of the season and there are definitely positives to be taken.”

Dyce made history by reaching the last-eight of the Scottish Junior Cup, losing narrowly to Yoker Athletic – who have gone on to reach the final – but Youngson believes it was a chance missed.

He added: “I suppose it goes to show we were beaten by a good side, but they handled the occasion better and were deserved winners, but there wasn’t much between the sides.”

Dyce took on Yoker in the Scottish Junior Cup last-eight.

Teenager Lyle Keir, who came through the Dyce youth system, will be loaned back to the Ian Mair Park club next season after signing a three-year deal with Buckie Thistle, while Nick Gray has signed for Keith.

Also moving on after 12 years is veteran Mark Bartlet, with Youngson saying: “He’s been a great servant and he’ll be missed around the place.

“He’s scored nearly 200 from midfield in his time here, which is phenomenal.”

Dyce finish their season on Tuesday against Banks o’ Dee, who play their final fixture at junior level before stepping up to the Highland League.

Youngson said: “They have the chance of making it to a record number of points, so we’ll have to be up for this one.”

Hall Russell looking forward to break

Hall Russell United manager John Carroll, who, along with Iain Hay, has been with the club for 36 years, is glad the season is over.

He said: “I obviously still enjoy it. Although my son Craig is now the main coach, we all do our bit.

“Cammy’s goal was an absolute belter in the postage stamp area and it was nice to finish by giving Dyce a decent game from which our young team hopefully learned something.

“We’ll now have a break with next season hopefully starting at the beginning of August.

“We’re hoping to retain Cammy Milne and Greg Hay, while we’ll again have young players on loan from the likes of Inverurie Locos.

“It’s getting tougher each year keeping young guys interested as there are so many other things they can be doing and some of them are playing school, youth, under-20 and junior football – which is perhaps too much football.”

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