Scoring a hat-trick at any level of football is a special feeling, but to net three in a high-profile tournament takes some beating, as youngster Joe Meldrum found out.
Representing Burntisland Beacon, 14-year-old Meldrum was playing at the Bank of Scotland Midnight League South East Regional Final at the Falkirk Stadium on Friday, with Bairns midfielder Mark Kerr watching the action unfold.
The Bank of Scotland Midnight League is a national network of diversionary 5-a-side football activities, targeting 12 to 16-year-old boys and girls across the country. Run in partnership with the Scottish FA, and supported by the Scottish Government’s CashBack for Communities programme, local council or trust funding, the Bank of Scotland Midnight League programme takes place in all 32 Scottish local authorities.
And for Burntisland youngster Meldrum, a pupil at Balwearie High School, scoring a hat-trick in an 11-1 win, on a ground normally graced by professionals, is an extra special feeling.
“It was a great feeling when the third one went in,” said the Fife teenager, who operates on the left of midfield. “I don’t really get many goals, so it was quite special.
“It was a lot of fun – I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ve been playing football for about seven years, and I took it up because all my friends were playing it.
“It’s a special feeling when you score and all your team mates congratulate you.
“I hope to play professionally, hopefully some where like Raith Rovers – they’re my local team. I need to show what I’m capable of and keep working hard. It’s a bit weird playing in the stadium – you see it on the TV and you don’t expect to play on it!”
Played across three categories - junior (12-13-year-old boys), senior (14-16-year-old boys) and a girls section – more than 200 young footballers from across the south-east of Scotland took to the pitch at the Falkirk Stadium.
Ambassador Kerr was on hand to present medals and trophies to participants, and was thoroughly impressed with the number of talented youngsters on show
“I think it’s great seeing kids who don’t get as many opportunities,” he said. “It’s difficult for families who have got three or four kids, so experiences like this is brilliant for them.”
Bank of Scotland Midnight League is a free community football programme delivered across all 32 local authorities in Scotland, aimed at boys and girls aged 12 - 16. For more information visit: www.scottishfa.co.uk/midnightleague.