Project Brave statement

Progressive Ayr!

The Scottish FA yesterday announced the latest major developments in its Project Brave initiative, with confirmation of the club placings within the new academy structure. The Boards of Ayr United Football Academy and Ayr United Football Club are pleased to announce that the Academy teams will compete in the Progressive Section, which was designed to ensure that developing, ambitious academies could position themselves to progress to full Elite status.

AUFA is ideally placed to do so and, at latest, will make application for Elite status in June 2018, when the academies will be re assessed. We are already in discussion with the Scottish FA about this next move, as we have fulfilled 73 of the 75  Elite criteria against which we were assessed and although pleased to be an ambitious academy, we are disappointed that automatic entry to the Elite section was not granted.

What does this mean for our young players?

  • Our teams will compete against the other 7 Progressive teams, in the Scottish FA games programme, three times per season and against the Elite teams once per season, (see the team lists below). This will ensure that they face the same stiff opposition as they have done for the past few years.

ELITE: Aberdeen, Celtic, Hamilton, Heart of Midlothian, Hibernian, Kilmarnock, Motherwell, Rangers

PROGRESSIVE:  Ayr United, Dundee United, Forth Valley, Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Partick Thistle, Ross County*, St Mirren, St Johnstone

PERFORMANCE:  Dundee, Fife, Greenock Morton*, Queen’s Park

  • The standards around our Talented Young Footballers Programme are equal to those of the Elite teams. The Academy staff has been preparing for entry to the new stage of the Club Academy setup for the last year.
  • Ø Several key full time appointments have been made to the Coaching staff.
  • Ø A full time Head of Sports Science has been appointed
  • Ø A full time Head of Performance Analysis has been appointed
  • Ø A Head of the Professional Programme has been appointed, and
  • Ø Standards have generally been raised all round.
  • The newly appointed personnel will of course remain in place, and standards will be enhanced in preparation for the next application. In short, we are not content to remain in the Progressive section. Elite status was, and remains, our goal and while we seek this goal our young players will be offered the same high level standards as their counterparts in the Elite section.
  • This will undoubtedly improve the players’ chances of progressing to first team football and achieving international status. Full time training has been introduced, leading to contracts being put in place for Academy players, positioning them to compete at first team level. Already this season, 8 Academy graduates have made appearances in the first team, with 5 of these, David Waite, Luke McCowan, Leon Murphy, Stuart Faulds and James Hilton making debuts, with Kieran Balfour excelling in the 20’s team and patiently awaiting his turn.

Finn Ecrepont has represented Scotland at 16’s level and there are others in the younger age groups waiting for their chance to show their talents on the higher stages.

Head of Academy, Davie White summarised by saying:

“This is another important step on the Academy’s pathway to the top. We have been steadily improving standards since the Academy was formed and this is not the end of that pathway, merely a slight pause before we move on to Elite status. Our staff and volunteers are all aware of our ambitions and I am proud of their commitment and the way that they have applied themselves to providing the environment which our young players experience.

I look to coaches, players, parents and staff to support our objective to remain competitive, maintain high standards and show constant enthusiasm within the Progressive section. We aim to demonstrate to the Scottish FA on and off the pitch that we are ready for the Elite step up when the opportunity arrives!”

Ayr Utd 3 Raith Rovers 0

Ayr United 3 v 0 Raith Rovers

by AUmedia


Although Raith came out of the stalls at pace, it was United who looked the more threatening and took the edge off the Rover’s with a well-crafted goal in 15 mins.  Ross Docherty found David Ferguson on the right and his cross was collected by Michael Moffat in the box. Moffat controlled the ball and held off defenders before slipping it to his striking partner, Lawrence Shankland. Shankland, back to goal, turned outside defender Robertson, before slamming the ball past keeper Smith and into the net. Ayr were one up and wouldn’t have to wait long before doubling their lead.

Six minutes later Robbie Crawford doubled United’s lead with a goal that was a thing of beauty and again Moffat was there with the assist.  Moffat picked up a ball from Shankland some 25 yards out on the left, turned, feigned a shot, created space before finding Crawford on the edge of the left side of the box with an inch perfect pass. Crawford seemed to relish the challenge of Jason Thomson moving in to mark him. With a deft flick to his right and a sharp increase of pace the United man made himself space to crisply curl the ball over the keeper’s head, off the underside of the bar, and into the net.

 United were firmly in command with Docherty, Jamie Adams, Andy Geggan and Crawford dominating the midfield battleground.  What was most surprising was that the men from Kirkcaldy did not have one memorable attempt in the whole first 45 mins.

The first half masterclass from United also saw a Paddy Boyle drive smothered by Smith, Michael Rose’s flick scrambled off the line, and a left-footed drive from Moffat, after a solo breakaway, go over the bar from the edge of the box.

Raith re-arranged at the break, desperate to get something from the game, pushing players forward in an attempt to put pressure on the United back four. Vaughan was first to try his luck with a shot from the edge of the box going into the side netting but with keeper Jordan Hart seeming to have it well covered.

On 49 mins, after Adams had been unceremoniously brought down, Rose rifled a low free kick from 20 yards through the Raith wall which keeper Smith could only block and let squirm from his grasp. Moffat was first to pounce but Smith threw himself in front again and the ball was deflected wide before being hooked clear.

On 57 mins Raith showed their first real moment of quality and it came close to clawing one back. Vaughan found himself boxed in at the corner on the right but used good body strength to get away from Docherty before nutmegging Boyle as he made his way into the penalty area along the line.  The midfielder dragged the ball back to substitute Court but as the ball returned to Vaughan the offside flag was raised and although the ball was eventually headed into the net by Buchanan it wouldn’t count.

Just 4 mins later and Ayr should have gone further ahead when Adams was tripped in the box by McHattie.  The usually reliable Michael Moffat stepped up but put the ball well over the bar. A miss was certainly not what the tireless striker deserved, his link up play and chance creation being first class and admirable.

Ayr continued to make chances while the backline soaked up all that the Raith attack could throw at them with Rose, Higgins, Ferguson, Boyle and Hart looking both defensively solid while ready to ignite forward movement.

On 83 mins Raith did manage one last chance through substitute Spence.  Creating space at the edge of the box, the Raith striker smashed a drive through the legs of Higgins but the un-sighted Hart got down quickly and saved well at his right-hand post.

Ayr moved straight back up the pitch. Crawford found himself clear in the box on the left, but his shot was blocked by Smith. Raith players were throwing their bodies in front of ball, Smith again blocked, this time from Shankland, before substitute Craig Moore’s follow up drive thumped off a wall of players and clear.

90 + 2 mins on the clock and late substitute Alan Forrest picked up the ball in his own half before driving forward to some 30 yards out then slipping the ball diagonally to Geggan in space at the edge of the ball on the right. The defence were pulled one way and then the other as Geggan expertly lifted the ball to the back post where on-rushing Moore headered home.

Scintillating stuff from the Honest Men who had not one failure either on the park or terraces of stand.

Next up, the long journey north to Spain Park, Aberdeen on Saturday to face SJFA North Premier League side, and prolific goal scorers, Banks o’ Dee in the Scottish Cup.

Ayr United

Hart, Ferguson, Higgins, Rose, Boyle, Geggan, Docherty, Adams, Crawford, Moffat, Shankland. Substitutes: Moore, Forrest, McDaid, McGuffie, Faulds, Reid, Avci (GK)


Raith Rovers

Smith, Thomson, Robertson, Murray, McHattie, Barr, Matthews, Herron, Vaughan, Buchanan, Zanatta. Substitutes: Watson, Spence, Berry, Osei-Opoku, Court, McKay, Brian (GK)


Referee: Barry Cook

Attendance: 2,040


Raith match preview

Match Preview Ayr United vs. Raith Rovers Ladbrokes League 1 Tuesday 14th November 2017. Kick-off 7.45pm


League 1’s top two go head-to-head tonight in a huge match at Somerset Park. Ayr United lead visitors Raith Rovers by virtue of just a solitary goal, but Barry Smith’s side have a game in hand.  The Honest Men hit four last time out at Arbroath and are the SPFL’s top goalscorers with 35 goals from 12 games.


Ian McCall’s side are unbeaten since losing at Stark’s Park in September, taking 17 points from a possible 21, averaging three goals-per-game. Rovers have dropped five points since, with a loss and draw away to Albion Rovers and Forfar Athletic respectively. Their game at Stranraer was abandoned before half-time due to a waterlogged pitch.


Tonight’s fixture was rescheduled due to Raith’s progression to the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup but their hopes of repeating the success of five years ago were ended at Dumbarton on Saturday; the Sons running out 2-0 winners.

Team News: Everyone is fit and available for selection.

Ian says: “There is something special about Somerset Park under the lights. Obviously we would have preferred to have the game on Saturday however I think there will still be a good crowd in tonight and an excellent atmosphere. We have options in terms of the starting lineup as we have made substitutions in the last couple of matches that have changed the way the game had been going so there is plenty to think about. We are on a good run and we want to keep that going, especially at Somerset. Hopefully our fans get right behind us tonight as it will be an extremely difficult game.

Head to head (at Somerset Park):

Ayr United wins – 33

Draws – 23

Raith Rovers wins – 18


A victory for the Honest Men would be our 50th league win over Raith Rovers.


Last Meeting: Lawrence Shankland opened the scoring with his first goal for the club just before half-time at Stark’s Park at the start of the September but second-half goals from Lewis Vaughan and Jason Thomson won it for Barry Smith’s side. Chris Higgins was sent-off for a second yellow card offence late on.


Rovers’ last trip to Somerset Park was also a Tuesday night fixture and will be best remembered for Ryan Stevenson’s performance in goal for the Fifers. Despite Stevo’s best efforts,


On this day: in 1999, Raith Rovers were 1-0 winners at Somerset Park in an ill-tempered encounter. Mickey Reynolds, who replaced Nigel Jemson at half-time for United, was shown a red card with little over 20 minutes remaining and Rovers’ Peter Hetherston went on to score a late winner for the visitors.


More recently, an Alan Trouten goal gave the Honest Men a 1-0 home win over Albion Rovers in 2015.


Match Officials:

Referee – Barry Cook

Assistant Referee 1 – Graham McNeillie

Assistant Referee 2 – Alan Macfadyen



Adult – £16

Concessions (OAP, students & 18-21 year olds) – £10

Under 18s – £5

5 star lottery winners wk 19



WEEK NUMBER 19 07/11/17



£1000 B1335 MRS ORR GIRVAN
£50 Q3425 M Cameron Dalmellington
£10 A4633 E Sturgeon Cumnock
£10 J0223 W Davidson Girvan
£10 D2813 J Martin Ayr
£50 A2411 M Martin Ayr
£10 K1424 H Rorison Ayr
£10 E0425 Mr Thomson Ayr
£10 A1124 R Ward Muirkirk
£50 A3622 L Johnstone Minishant
£10 B1542 M Clark Ayr
£10 D2113 L Cuthbertson Ayr
£10 J1741 A Dolon Coylton
£50 E0614 J Connelly Logan
£10 K4024 S Page Kinciadston
£10 B2613 L Hannah Coylton
£10 H3111 A Smith Ayr
£10 C0522 J Ormiston Stoke
£10 Y0824 J Frew Ayr
£10 D3115 D Goode Ayr



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To join the Lottery please call the office on 01292 263435 (option 1)


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5 star lottery winners wk 18



WEEK NUMBER 18 31/10/17



£50 T0242 M Telfer Coylton
£10 G3012 A Hunter Kirkoswald
£10 F1032 A Wilson Dumfries
£10 A0543 P Sharkey Ayr
£50 A4021 A Downie Maybole
£10 B0621 H McWee Maybole
£10 A0535 S Turner Irvine
£10 B1212 B Scott Ayr
£50 A2925 C Downie Maybole
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£10 I2723 J McCrorie Girvan
£10 E4832 M Capstick Ayr
£50 A4724 P McCann Muirkirk
£10 B3225 W Storie Ayr
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To join the Lottery please call the office on 01292 263435 (option 1)


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5 star winners wk 17



WEEK NUMBER 17 24/10/17



£1000 J3741 J McCONNELL AYR
£50 C2141 K Murdoch Girvan
£10 A0725 D Gilmour Ayr
£10 A4644 J Clark Annbank
£10 P0142 R Bell Ayr
£50 J1432 Mrs Evans Prestwick
£10 F1043 E Hetherington Ayr
£10 A4714 D Fulton Girvan
£10 L1022 J Brand Prestwick
£50 B2722 P Conn Ayr
£10 E3044 C Alcroft Girvan
£10 C3842 D Anderson Ayr
£10 A1234 D Parkin Sheffield
£50 A1041 J McRobert Ayr
£10 D1132 S Sloan Ayr
£10 C3834 R McCrindle Ayr
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Forfar 0 Ayr Utd 5

Forfar Athletic 0 v 5 Ayr United
Report by AUmedia

Forfar set up to stifle United’s attacking urges with two solid lines of four defending deep in their own half and relying on quick breaks to cause problems for their visitors. This restricted Ayr to limited chances in the first half and Forfar had only themselves to blame for going behind.

With 14 mins gone, Ayr worked the ball from the back and David Ferguson’s pass up the right wing was intercepted by Forfar’s Darren Whyte who was immediately put under pressure by Ayr’s Lawrence Shankland. Whyte attempted a half-hearted pass back allowing Michael Moffat to pounce and stroke the ball past keeper McCallum and into the net. 100 goals for notched up for Moffat and the breakthrough United deserved.

Forfar were limited in their chances, with David Cox acting as lone striker attempting to hold the ball up for Dylan Easton and Marc Scott who used their pace to break forward and try to cause problems with the majority of United players caught forward. They had not counted on the strength of the United defence with Michael Rose and Chris Higgins skilful and resolute and wing backs David Ferguson, Paddy Boyle and midfielders Andy Geggan, Ross Docherty, Brian Gilmour and Robbie Crawford speedily returning to defensive duties to lessen the threat.

With the stuffy first half over, the Honest Men, returned to the pitch with additional desire and determination and it did not take them long to show their intent.

2 mins into the second half and Moffat picked up the ball in his own half then surged forward with Shankland running interference and creating space. On reaching the edge of the box, Moffat released a drive that left keeper McCallum clawing at thin air before the ball cannoned back off the crossbar. So close, but the Honest Men would not have to wait long before doubling their lead.

On 52 mins, United claimed their second goal. Forfar left back Conor Quigley’s weak clearancewas intercepted by the impressive Ferguson who slipped the ball into the penalty area where Shankland nutmegged Whyte before curling the ball sweetly into the far corner leaving keeper McCallum helpless.

Next to try his luck was Boyle who ran into the box on the left, controlled a touch on from Moffat then blasted just wide of the righthand post.

On 56 mins, Cox curled the ball into the penalty area and substitute striker Matthew Aitken did well to throw himself in front of the ball and cushion it to Easton with his chest. Easton controlled the ball well but somehow scraped his shot wide from a great position.

Ayr then put together a goal of quality with the predatory striking partnership of Shankland and Moffat at its core. Keeper Jordan Hart sent a long freekick high to Shankland some 25 yards out and the striker cushioned the ball with his right foot, turned defender Michael Travis in one movement, and moved forward before playing a delicate one-two with Moffat. Moffat then spun in behind the defenders to receive the ball yet again from Shankland. Now clean through and into the box, Moffat fired the ball past McCallum, where it hit the left-hand post, rolled along the line, off the right post and in. 64 mins gone, Ayr were three up and there was more to come.

Robbie Crawford was torturing the Forfar defence on the left-hand side and on 66 mins he almost got his name on the score sheet. Turning and twisting, the midfielder created space for himself then cut in along the edge of the penalty area before slipping the ball to Moffat. Moffat, side on to goal, flicked the ball over the defensive line with the outside of his right foot and back to Crawford who had darted through. Crawford hit the ball first time and it took an excellent reaction save from McCallum to somehow put the ball past the post.

With 81 mins on the clock it was hat-trick time for the inflammable Michael Moffat. Docherty played a short corner to Declan McDaid who lifted a pin point cross to Moffat on the penalty spot. Moffat hooked the ball goalward and, while he didn’t get a clean contact, it made its way in at the back post.
United were pummelling the Forfar defence with insistent regularity and attempts by McDaid, Shankland, Moffat and Craig McGuffie all went close to adding to the tally. There were four goals on the score sheet, but Ayr deserved more, and they were not to be denied.

Ayr not only wrapped it up but put a bow on it in 85 mins. McGuffie played the ball to McDaid some 25 yards out and he moved forward, playing a neat one-two with Crawford at the edge of the box before delicately flicking the ball left and into the path of Craig Moore who made no mistake from 8 yards. 0-5 Ayr.

Next up, Stranraer at Somerset Park on Saturday.

Forfar Athletic: McCallum, Bain, Quigley, Whyte, Travis, Cregg, Scott, Millar, Cox, Easton, McBride
Substitutes: Adam (GK), Peters, See, Kennedy, Aitken, Mackintosh, Warwick.

Ayr United: Hart, Ferguson, Higgins, Rose, Boyle, Crawford, Docherty, Geggan, Gilmour, Moffat, Shankland Substitutes: Hare-Reid (GK), Moore, Forrest, McDaid, McGuffie, Murphy, Waite
Referee: Steven Kirkland
Attendance: 664

Forfar match preview

Match Preview
Forfar Athletic vs. Ayr United
Ladbrokes League 1
Saturday 21st October 2017, Kick-off 3pm

On Saturday, the Honest Men hit the road when they travel to Station Park to face Forfar Athletic. Ian McCall’s men will be looking to extend a four match unbeaten run in League 1 against a Forfar side without a win since the start of August.

Gary Bollan paid for a run of five consecutive league defeats, including a 5-0 reverse at home to Angus rivals Arbroath, with his job last month. New boss Jim Weir took charge of the Loons for the first time against Queen’s Park last weekend at Hampden Park. Forfar came close to all three points after Mark Miller’s second-half penalty but an 89th minute Spiders equaliser meant a point apiece for the division’s bottom two sides. Forfar prop up the table with five points from nine games, four points behind 8th place Alloa.

Weir, who has now managed all four Angus clubs in addition to Elgin City, will be looking to add goals to his team; Forfar have netted just 6 times this season.

Team News: Craig Reid is out with injury and Jamie Adams won’t be risked due to the surface.

Ian says: “Every game is difficult and this will be no different. The league table means nothing, Forfar have a new manager and will be really up for the game so we need to make sure we are at our best. It’s crucial that we cut out the mistakes at the back and start taking more of the many chances we are creating.”

Head to head:
Ayr United wins – 56
Draws – 18
Forfar Athletic wins – 31

Last Meeting: The Honest Men defeated the Loons 3-0 at Somerset Park in August, Craig Moore, Declan McDaid and Robbie Crawford netting the goals. Ayr’s last match at Station Park was in March last year and saw the home side end up victorious. An Andy Ryan double and Steven Craig goal cancelled out Ryan Stevenson’s strike.

On this day: in history United have a 42.8% win rate and have lost just four of 14 games. Our most recent fixture on 21st October came in 2006, a 1-1 draw away to Cowdenbeath in which Chris Strain scored a late equaliser.

Match Officials:
Referee – Steven Kirkland
Assistant Referee 1 – John McCrossan
Assistant Referee 2 – Simon MacLean

Adult – Ground £12 / Stand £13
Concessions – £6 / £7


The AU500 Fund sparkles again

At Saturday’s match against Airdrie, AU500 Fund representatives Steve and Alan Clark presented a cheque for £1000 to Ayr United Director Willie Houston. The brothers are lifelong Ayr United supporters, who live in Glasgow, but have deep Ayrshire roots.

Steve is a partner in the group which owns the Sparklehorse bar in Glasgow’s west end as well as being a member of well known Scots indie band Bis who are working towards the release of their next album.

This latest donation takes the total contribution from the AU 500 Fund to an impressive £14,400 since launching in August last year all going towards the playing budget. 

If you’d like to learn more about the AU 500 Fund please visit

Ayr Utd 3 East Fife 0

Ayr United 3 v 0 East Fife

Report by AUmedia


The Honest Men made it two wins on the bounce as they defeated East Fife 3-0 at Somerset Park.  Lawrence Shankland opened the scoring early on before goals from Andy Geggan and Chris Higgins sealed the win in the second half.   Ayr started the better of the two sides with Shankland getting keen to get involved.  His curling strike from the edge of the area on 4 mins had to be palmed away at full stretch by keeper Mark Hurst to prevent Ayr going ahead.

It wasn’t long before United’s striker got himself on the scoresheet. On 7 mins, Brian Gilmour took a short corner on the left to Declan McDaid who returned the ball. Gilmour then whipped the ball in and it was met by Michael Rose whose header was acrobatically saved by Hurst but the ball fell free.  Shankland, lurking at the back post, was first to react and poked the ball under the keeper and just over the line for 1-0.

East Fife almost got themselves back on level terms two mins later when Chris Kane’s head flicked effort in the box went straight to keeper Jordan Hart, causing him no problems.   Shankland, who has now netted 5 goals in 4 games, had a chance to increase his impressive goal tally since joining when, on 15 mins, good play with Michael Moffat set the striker through into the box with time and space but his shot blazed over the bar.

20 mins gone and East Fife had another chance to level the scores when midfielder Pat Slattery got the ball on the edge of the area and his volleyed effort went harmlessly over the bar.   Declan McDaid was next to have an effort on goal when he sent a curling shot from 20 yards which was almost knocked in by the on-rushing Moffat but fell straight into the hands of Hurst.

On 33 mins McDaid then turned provider when his freekick was met by Rose whose powerful header smacked back off the bar.   On 42 mins Ayr had a glorious chance to increase their lead when Shankland dispossessed defender Chris Kane, charged into the box then rounded keeper Hurst before seeing his effort from a tight angle hit the base of the post and out for a goal kick.

It didn’t take long into the second half to double their lead when Geggan made it 2 – 0. Paddy Boyle sent a delicious cross-field ball from the left to Shankland just inside the penalty box on the right. Shankland nodded into the path of Geggan who smashed the ball into the net from 15 yards giving Hurst absolutely no chance. 49 mins gone and it was 2 – 0 Ayr.

It got from bad to worse for East Fife when their captain, Jonathan Page, was sent off for a high studded challenge on McDaid on 59 mins.   The visitors continued to plug away and on 61 mins striker Chris Duggan found space 20 yards out and took a powerful drive that fizzed over the bar. Michael Moffat, desperate for his 100th goal, was next to try and get his name on the scoresheet for Ayr when on 72 mins he found himself through one-on-one with the keeper but Hurst did well to block and turn the ball past for a corner.

From the resultant corner Ayr did make it 3 through Higgins.  The initial delivery was cleared and Docherty sent the ball back into the box for Higgins whose flicked header found the back of the net after a deflection. 73 mins gone and it was 3 – 0 Ayr .

The final real chance of the game fell to McGuffie on 75 mins as he worked his way into the box before unleashing a powerful strike that smacked into the side netting.   Ayr are back in action a week on Saturday, after the International break, when they welcome Airdrieonians to Somerset Park.

Ayr Untied Hart, Higgins, Boyle, Gilmour, Rose, Geggan, Moffat, McDaid, Shankland, Docherty, Reid.  Substitutes Avci (GK), McGuffie, Ferguson, Balfour, Murphy, McCowan.   East Fife Hurst, Dunsmore, Linton, Watson, Page, Flanagan, Kane, Docherty, Millar, Duggan, Slattery.  Substitutes Goodfellow (GK), Reilly, Willis, Lamont, Hurst, Mutch, Wilson.

Attendance:  1382 Referee:  Barry Cook