St Johnstone’s youth academy impress against Manchester United and earn invite back

St Johnstone’s stars of the future showed pride and went unbeaten against mighty Manchester United.

The respective youth academies staged a match that has become familiar over the years and this time faced off at McDiarmid Park over two one-hour matches on Sunday.

And in the opener, the Saints pulled off a memorable 2-0 victory in front of a delighted home crowd in the sun.

Liam Parker had nodded in the opener – and academy chief Alistair Stevenson noted the tall defender was also claiming the second, although Bayley Klimionek, who kicked in, may disagree.

In game two, an entertaining and thrilling encounter ended 3-3 with Jackson Mylchreest scoring a brace and Fran Franczak the late equaliser.

A delighted Stevenson said, “You just hope you put on a performance, give a good account of yourself and make a show of it. I didn’t even think about what the scores might be.

“In that first game, I thought we played so well. The boys were so confident, relaxed and enjoyed it.

“And Game 2 was end to end. We had been in front, level, down, then came back at the end. That made it all pretty exciting.

Such was the success of the match, Saints were invited south for the reverse.

“Manchester United said it was a very good level of play and they were absolutely thrilled,” Stevenson said. “I received a message on Tuesday saying thank you for everything – the hospitality and the level of competition.

“There was maybe a crowd of 650 people and that meant the booths were also busy. So we did well.

“And there was a great response with fan donations. They were very generous, which is much appreciated.

Stevenson continued: “We received an invitation to return to Manchester. It’s something you probably don’t get very often. We can go to Old Trafford for a visit and then to Carrington to play. It’s nice to get an invitation like that.

Manchester United ended their visit by handing over a signed midfielder Scott McTominay shirt.

Stevenson concluded, “They wanted to give us a token of their appreciation.”

All photos from the matches against Manchester United can be ordered at www.ppapix.com