Midlothian crowned Scotland’s walking football champions
Midlothian won the Scottish Walking Football Festival, the equivalent of the sport’s Scottish Cup, at Glasgow Green Sports Centre last Saturday (24 June).
Runners up in last year’s final, the Midlothian team went one better to deservedly lift the trophy with a final victory over rivals Gretna.
After qualifying from a strong group section containing Loretto, Hearts 06 and Glasgow Sport East, Midlothian comfortably defeated Dunfermline Athletic 3-1 to reach the semi-final.
A comprehensive victory over Hearts 98 then set up a final against Gretna. The pair previously faced each other in the final of the Gala Fairydean Rovers tournament at Netherdale last month where the South of Scotland team ‘ran out’ winners, so revenge was sweet for Midlothian who play twice weekly in Loanhead and Penicuik.
What made Midlothian’s achievement even more impressive (and popular with the Glasgow crowd) was the fact that their goalkeeper throughout the tournament was 85-year-old Peter Collins.
Lifelong Hibs face Peter is a ‘weel kent’ face in the walking football community and plays an incredible six times a week.
One of Peter’s sons, Douglas, also took part in the tournament and given there is an over 50s stipulation, this is thought to have been the first time a father and son have played together in a walking football tournament.
Record number of teams
A record 32 teams from throughout Scotland took part in the event which was jointly organised by the charity Paths for All and Glasgow Sport. The event was also covered live by BBC Scotland’s Sportsound programme.
The Midlothian team is part of the Ageing Well project, a physical activity program for the over 50’s run by volunteers offering over 20 different activities including walking, dancing, table tennis, badminton and new age kurling, attracting over 650 people each week to keep active as well as increase their social life and feel part of their local community.
The team will now go on to represent Scotland in a Home International tournament later this year as well as travelling abroad to Trinidad to introduce Walking Football to the locals and volunteer with Habitat for Humanity who help build homes for families in need of safe, decent and affordable shelter.