The University of Stirling football team have been crowned the best in Scotland after winning the Queen’s Park Shield thanks to a dramatic late goal in the final.
The squad took on Heriot Watt for the prestigious trophy just three months after taking on Premiership team Dundee United in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup.
The Queen’s Park Shield, also known as the Scottish Universities Cup, has been running for over 100 years after being founded in 1921.
It pits all of the country’s university teams against each other in a knockout competition and is currently run by Scottish Student Sport.
This season’s tournament culminated in Wednesday’s final against the Edinburgh-based side that was won in injury time.
After a frustrating 90 minutes, with Stirling having multiple attempts including hitting the bar and another cleared off the line, substitute Euan McGill hit the net in the first minute of stoppage time.
The midfielder, who celebrated his 23rd birthday on Tuesday, had only been on the pitch for six minutes when he sparked the jubilant scenes after scoring from a Jamie Thompson pass.
It is Stirling’s second competition win of the season after they were also crowned champions of the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Premier Division North for the third successive season.
They are currently fourth in the Lowland League with just two matches to go and reached the final of the BUCS National Championships last month.
Following Wednesday’s dramatic win, head coach Chris Geddes spoke to final-year journalism student John Turnbull, part of the club’s media team and sports editor for the student newspaper.
Geddes said: “It’s definitely a relief, we were the better team, hit the bar four times in the first half and had one cleared off the line, but Heriot-Watt were dangerous on the counter.
“Second half, we had a lot of the ball, and it was a good goal from Euan coming on. It was his birthday yesterday, so good for him.”
He added: “I’m so happy for the players because they’re having such a good season. They deserve it, so I hope they enjoy their night.”
David Bond, head of performance sport at the University of Stirling, said: “Congratulations to our men’s first football team on winning the Queen’s Park Shield – we’re all very proud of their achievements, across all competitions, this season.
“The success this season is a product of the hard work and dedication the players, their coaches, and the University’s support staff put in on a daily basis, to ensure our athletes reach their potential and are prepared to compete at an elite level.”
The students are now focused on their final two Lowland League games, against Hearts B and Caledonian Braves, before starting their Lowland League Cup campaign against Dalbeattie Star.
They also play Blackburn United in the fourth round of the East of Scotland Qualifying Cup next week.