This year the Celtic Cup was held at the fantastic Saint Germain facility, just outside of Paris. This facility will be home to Team GB during the 2024 Paris Olympics.
The tournament was extended by an additional day, as two more countries were invited, with Belgium and Spain now joining Ireland, France, Wales and Scotland.
All three Scottish squads had prepared well over the winter, but late injuries meant only the M65s carried a full 18-man squad into the tournament. The M60s and M70s had to rearrange their squads at the last moment.
It was a superb start for the M65s, with a resounding 8-0 victory over Spain with Donny Hay scoring four. The M60s battled back from being one goal down to eventually draw 1-1 after a cracking strike from Mike Watts from a penalty corner.
The M70s took to the field for the first time against Spain. A tight game, where Scotland could not take their chances, resulted in a 0-0 draw.
The M60s had a superb 2-0 win over Belgium, which could have been bigger had it not been for a superb performance by the Belgium goalkeeper.
The M60s were three goals down in the 1st quarter and never recovered against France, who ran out 3-0 winners. The M65s had a hard fought 5-2 victory over Belgium, while the M70s squad closed out the day with a superb 3-0 victory over Wales.
The final day of the tournament saw both the M65s and the M70s reach their age groups finals, with the M60s playing in the 3rd/4th play-offs.
The first game of the day was between the M60s and Belgium. Again the Belgium goalkeeper kept his side in it, with the final whistle sounding with the final score at 1-1. This led to a shoot-out competition. Unfortunately, during this competition the Belgium goalkeeper sustained concussion when he hit his head heavily on the ground, resulting in the competition stopping. With no replacement goalkeeper, it was agreed that Belgium would concede the match, 4-2 being the final result in Scotland’s favour.
Scotland’s M65s took on Ireland in their final. Scotland kept the pressure on throughout the match, but it took Donny Hay until late in the match to strike home the winner, after a Scottish penalty corner broke down. 1-0 the final score.
Scotland’s M70s closed out the Celtic Cup with another exciting game. They took on Belgium and it remained 0-0 at the final whistle. A penalty flick competition took place with Scotland winning this 4-2. A superb end to a great competition.
With both the M65s & M70s winning their finals and the M60s taking third place it was a successful first International tournament of the year. They look ahead to the GB & I 4 Nations in Swansea and then the European Championships in Valencia.
Images from Anne Harvey-Chisholm, Richard Miller and Anne-Laure Happe.