Seniors lose 
to England ... 
on penalties

The squad warms up with 1,000 Thai kids
The squad warms up with 1,000 Thai kids

Former Gala Fairydean assistant manager Ally McCulloch travelled to the Far East last week for the Seniors World Cup in Sa Kaeo Province in Thailand.

After winning the competition in 2013, the squad’s hopes were high, but they knew it would not be easy – it is a World Cup, after all.

The Scotland squad who finished runners-up to England

The Scotland squad who finished runners-up to England

And after 0-0 draws against Iran and Australia, and a 7-0 thumping of Siam, all they had to do was beat the hosts to get to the final.

And this they did, in a hard-fought match, by a single goal to nil.

The superb achievement of coming through their first four games with a clean sheet gave them a ticket to the final, to play none other than the Auld Enemy, England, which was played on Saturday.

After another tight final which ended 2-2, a penalty shoot-out was required to sort matters out. And England, of course, do not have the best record in those.

Ally McCulloch

Ally McCulloch

But this time, incredibly, the Auld Enemy managed to do it.

Defender McCulloch said: “To be pipped at the end, to be beaten on penalties, was hard to take, but hats off to England.

“We were fantastic, but football is a cruel sport and England deserved to win as they held firm under huge pressure from us.

“We have had the best week and all of us will be friends forever.

Al McCulloch with some local wildlife

Al McCulloch with some local wildlife

“We should be proud of what we have achieved and how we achieved it.

“Well done Scotland ... and next year we will do the business.”

Other than the football, the squad had a wonderful experience, getting up close with the wildlife, taking part in a coaching day with more than 1,000 Thai kids, and making new friends.

McCulloch had a message for the many friends who wished him and the team well through Facebook.

He said: “Thanks to all for following us – it has been an incredible journey with so many highs and very few lows, well done to everyone.

“For me, I look forward to another campaign as I have met so many new friends and reacquainted with some old pals, an amazing time.”