Newbattle All-stars shine at midnight

Jack Neilson holding cup for his Newbattle Allstars team'12-14 Boys Winners'Bank of Scotland Midnight League East Regional final
Jack Neilson holding cup for his Newbattle Allstars team'12-14 Boys Winners'Bank of Scotland Midnight League East Regional final

Dalkeith footballer Jack Neilson insisted everything clicked into place as his team came away as champions from the Bank of Scotland Midnight League South East Regional Finals.

The 13-year-old and his Newbattle All-stars team shone at the home of Hearts as they competed in the finals tournament.

In a closely contested final the young goalkeeper kept his side in front as they picked up a 2-1 win and, despite being a Hibernian fan, Jack was over the moon to have lifted the trophy at Tynecastle.

“It was a great opportunity to come here and play on this pitch but to come here and win it is just a really great achievement for us,” said the Newbattle High School pupil.

“The boys that have played a part in winning it have all been amazing and it’s something that means a lot.

“I’m a Hibs fan so I’m in enemy territory but it’s still amazing to come here and play on a professional 
pitch.

“We came along and didn’t think we would win, we just thought we would get a couple of games of football and be away again.

“When we started playing we won our first two games and then it started to sink in and we thought we could actually win this.

“We ended up winning in the final 2-1 so it was a close match but we are all so happy to come through it.”

Now in its 12th year, the Bank of Scotland Midnight League provides a safe environment for players of all abilities to enjoy the game and can help reduce instances of anti-social behaviour at the same time.

And Jack believes the scheme is one that can help him grow as a player as well as helping steer his peers down positive paths in 
life.

He said: “Midnight League has been brilliant just to get us out playing football on a Saturday night, it keeps us off the street.

“I think that’s really important because you can get caught in the wrong crowd and then you end up in bad situations.”

Bank of Scotland will continue to support the Midnight League programme into 2016. In 2014 over 7000 young people participated in a Bank of Scotland Midnight League session across 90 Scottish communities.