Archive for December, 2008

Rangers Under 12’s in Italy

December 30, 2008

Rangers Under 12’s in Italy

Coaches Alan Boyd and Davie Hendry led the young Rangers side in their trip to Genoa to take on Italy’s best over the festive period. The Murray Park youngsters were drawn in Group A with Genoa and Vicenza.

In their first game on Saturday 27th they lost 1-0 to Genoa, and with Vicenza then defeating Genoa by the same score line, it meant the young Gers had to beat Vicenza by at least two goals to reach the semi-final. This task they achieved with a bit to spare, winning 4-0.

On the Sunday they now faced Fiorentina in the semi-final, in a hard fought encounter that finished 0-0,which meant penalties to decide a place in the final. Unfortunately the young Rangers lost the resultant shoot-out 3-2. Later that day their final game was the 3rd place play-off against Roma, losing a tight encounter 1-0.

So it was a 4th place finish in a 12 team tournament for the Rangers youngsters, finishing ahead of Sampdoria, Torino, Genoa, Empoli, Brescia, Chievo, Vicenza and Athletic Club Genoa.

The coaches were proud of how the lads performed considering this was the first time they have played 11-a-side, having been playing sevens in the development league.

Atalanta were the tournament winners, beating Fiorentina 1-0 in the final.

The Rangers squad was as follows:-

Max Currie, Connor Gaffney, Ross Lyon, Rory Currie, Scott Lochead, Jordan Scott, Sam Leddington, Craig Burke, Michael Mossie, Sean McLeod, Malcolm McDonald, Ross McNeil, Joe Thompson, Connor Murray, Callum Shippcott, Hussain Kaware, Adam Wilson, Darren Whyte, Greg Kiltie, Greg Taylor.

Footnote:-

This Sunday Rangers under 15’s take on a Dutch Regional Select at Murray Park, Kick-off 2pm. I would have liked to have taken this game in but will of course be in Inverness.

16’s Friendly Win Over Saints

December 17, 2008

Rangers 3 St. Mirren 0

Rangers took on St. Mirren in an Under 16’s friendly match at Murray Park tonight. It was an opportunity to have a look at a squad made up of first year Under 17’s and Under 15’s players. I haven’t seen much of these ages groups this season so I decided to go along.

Rangers ran out comfortable 3-0 winners on a wet and windy night. The first goal came on 29 minutes, a long through ball by Nicky Main should have been dealt with by the St. Mirren keeper, but his hesitation allowed the Trialist striker to nip in ahead of him and score an easy goal.

A couple of minutes before half time Rangers went two up. The St. Mirren defence cleared to the edge of their box, and it was picked up by Anthony Meringhi. A few minutes before the first goal he crashed a shot against the bar, this time he made no mistake with another great strike.

Half-Time : Rangers 2 St.Mirren0

The second half saw lots of substitutions, which I am afraid I lost track of who came on for who. The third goal came near the end after good work down the right, the St.Mirren keeper could only parry the cut back, and Lee Cochrane was on hand to knock the ball home.

Final Score: Rangers 3 St.Mirren 0

Rangers Team:- Blair Currie; Ewan McNeil, Thomas Marsden, Murray Wallace, Michael Noble; Robbie Crawford, Nicky Main, George Scott, Anthony Meringhi; Trialist, Kyle McCausland.

Subs All Used;- Scott Rumsby, Michael Mosson, Chris Hackland, Mark Taylor, Lee Cochrane, Gary Fraser.

Footnote:-

Rangers Under 19’s face a trip to Fir Park in the SFA Youth Cup Quarter Finals. Home advantage saw Motherwell defeat Livingston 2-1 tonight. The tie is due to be played on Sunday 15th February 2009.

Former Rangers Youths in Irish League

December 15, 2008

In the last twenty years or so Rangers have had several youth players recruited from Northern Ireland, and of course we currently have Andy Little who moved up from the under 19’s last season and has been playing in the reserves. I thought it would be interesting to look at some of those who are now plying their trade in the Irish League.

Stephen Carson (Coleraine)

stephencarsonStephen Turned down Manchester United to sign for Rangers as a 16 year old in 1997. An impressive performer at youth level he made his first team debut in December 1999, as an extra time substitute in a 1-0 League Cup defeat at Aberdeen.

He then made two further substitute appearances before finally starting in a home game against Dundee in March 2001. Five months later he moved to Dundee United when Alex Smith paid £100,000 + fee to secure his services. In his two seasons at Tannadice he made more substitute appearances than starts and in August 2003 he moved south.

After a trial period Stephen signed a short term deal at Barnsley, he failed to secure a permanent deal and was on the move again in February 2004, this time to Hartlepool. In his short spell at the “Monkey Hangers” he made only one start and two substitute appearances.

The start of 2004-2005 saw him return to the team he supported as a boy, Coleraine. Since then he has been an important part of the Coleraine side and signed a new three year contract in the summer. Many commentators on the Northern Irish scene feel he is perhaps due a call up by Nigel Worthington.

Paul McKnight (Lisburn Distillery)

paul_mcknightPaul signed for Rangers in 1993, despite his time at Ibrox being interupted by periods on the sidelines injured he did make one first team appearance. That came in a league match against Partick Thistle in May 1995.

After a few more years battling for fitness Paul moved to St. Mirren, despite making over 20 appearances he was on the sidelines more often than not, and in 2002 he returned to Northern Ireland and signed for Linfield. After a season at Windsor Park, he returned briefly to St. Mirren, this time only making three appearances in an injury plagued spell.

Next came his two year spell at Glenavon, which in relative terms was injury free, and he played more than 50 games for the Lurgan club. After short spells at both Larne and Newry City Paul signed for Distillery in the summer.

Unfortunately injury has struck again and he has yet to kick a ball in anger at Ballyskeagh. There are now fears that may have to retire from the game. I am sure we all hope he can continue playing and wish him all the best in the future.

Ryan McCann (Lisburn Distillery)

ryan-mccann
Ryan McCann pictured above with Distillery manager Paul Kirk, unlike the other three he didn’t quite make the first team at Ibrox. He was a regular player in the youth team, and the first time I saw him play was against Celtic in an Under 16 game Maryhill Juniors ground.

He returned to play for Linfield, before moving to Distillery in 2005. His brother is of course Scunthorpe United’s Northern Ireland internationalist Grant McCann.

When he was at Rangers there was also a Ryan McCann in the Celtic youth side, I am sure this caused some confusion. In fact I have seen some online publications have the “Rangers” Ryan McCann listed as Scottish.

Darren Fitzgerald (Ards)

darren-fitzgeraldMy first memory of “Mucker” was seeing him score both goals when Northern Ireland beat Scotland in a Victory Shield match. He was even interviewed after that game. As would you would expect as a 15 year old he was a bit over awed being interviewed on live TV. I was absolutely delighted when I heard he had signed for Rangers.

I then watched him over the next few seasons, scoring loads of goals for the Rangers youth teams. This culminated in a single first team appearance against Kilmarnock.

Unfortunately developing and progressing football players is not an exact science. For one reason or another Darren’s prolific record did not translate to reserve or first team level. He left Rangers in 2000, returning to Northern Ireland and signing for Glentoran. He spent three years at The Oval, but a goal ratio of around one in every six games saw him released.

Next port of call was Ards and a change in fortunes, a scoring run better than one every two games reflected the best period in his career. With in Ards in some financial difficulty and his reluctance to take a pay cut, 2005 saw him move to Ballymena.

After a good start at The Showgrounds he suffered a serious cruciate injury and was sidelined for the whole of 2005/06 season. After his injury he struggled to gain a regular place and returned to Ards in May 2008. This season has seen a return to form and he is currently around the 20 goals mark for his club.

Footnote:-

Three of the players, Stephen Carson, Paul McKnight and Ryan McCann made their last appearance for “Rangers” on 10th May 2008. They all appeared in Linfield’s William “Winkie” Murphy’s testimonial, for the Rangers Legends side.

Rangers 1 St. Mirren 1

December 15, 2008

With league leaders Hibs kicking off two hours later, Billy Kirkwood’s side had the chance to temporarily go level on points at the top of the table. Once again the fixture clashed with a first team game, so again I was unable to attend. So I am afraid there is no match report for this game.

 There were two changes to the side that knocked Dumbarton out of the cup last week. Stephen Stirling missed out and John Fleck was in the first team squad, Isa Bagci and Steven Forbes returned to the starting eleven.

St. Mirren took the lead on 39 minutes, Paul Quinn scoring from a Rhys Devlin pass.

Half Time :- Rangers 0 St. Mirren 1

Rangers equaliser came on 76 minutes when Archie Campbell was played through and made no mistake.

Full Time:- Rangers 1 St. Mirren 1

Rangers Team:- Arturs Vaiculus; Ross Perry, Chris Scott, Danny Wilson, Gregg Wylde; Archie Campbell, Steven Forbes (Dylan McGeough), Jamie Ness, Kyle Hutton; Kane Hemmings ( Max Wright), Isa Bagci (Kal Naismith).

In the later game Hibs drew 1-1 with Aberdeen so its no change at the top. Both sides will feel this was an oportunity missed.

The youths are due to play Motherwell this Thursday 18th December, but with Motherwell’s youth cup tie with Livingston rescheduled for Wednesday it is very likely to be postponed.

Confirmed now Motherwell game due for Thursday is OFF.

Scotland Under 17’s Squad for Malta Trip

December 14, 2008

Four Rangers youngsters have been selected for in the Scotland Under 17’s squad that will play to friendlies in Malta in January. Defender Darren Cole, Midfielder Gordon Dick and forwards Kal Naismith and Max Wright are the players making the trip. Scotland will play the local side on 19th and 21st January.

The Full Squad is as follows:-

Goalkeepers

Connor Fairley (Celtic)

Andrew Kennedy (Celtic)

Defenders

Darren Cole (Rangers)

Kieran Duffy (Falkirk)

Grant Mosson (Celtic)

Lewis Toshney (Celtic)

Ross Smith (Dundee United)

Scott Smith (Hibs)

Midfielders

Gordon Dick (Rangers)

Fraser Fyvie (Aberdeen)

Jordan Lowdon (Celtic)

Cameron Howie (Dundee United)

Graeme McGregor (Falkirk)

Jamie Pollock (Motherwell)

Scott Robinson (Hearts)

Forwards

Jordan Kilpatrick (Hamilton Accies)

Callum McRobbie (Aberdeen)

Michael Meggison (Aberdeen)

Kal Naismith (Rangers)

Max Wright (Rangers)

Youth Cup Quarter Final draw

December 14, 2008

The youths will be away to Motherwell or Livingston in the 5th round of the SFA Youth Cup. Livingston were impressive in a pre-season friendly at Murray Park drawing 0-0, and the youths recently edged out Motherwell 2-1 in the league at the same venue.

Full Draw as follows:-

Inverness Caley Thistle -v- Celtic

Hamilton Accies -v- Falkirk

Hibs -v- Raith Rovers

Motherwell -v- Rangers

Ties to be played on Sunday 15th February 2009.

Rangers 3 Dumbarton 1

December 7, 2008

Rangers 3 Dumbarton 1

Rangers moved into the 5th round of the youth cup today, with a low key win over Dumarton. There was one change to the team that defeated Motherwell last week, with Archie Campbell coming in and Isa Bagci dropping to the bench.

The first chance of note came in the 5th minute, Gregg Wylde adavancing down the left and his cross come shot was saved at the near post by keeper Chris Calder. Four minutes later Wylde again attacked down the left, when his cross was cleared to the edge of the box Stephen Stirling fired over.

Rangers took the lead in the 13th minute, a through ball from Kyle Hutton sent Archie Campbell clear and he made no mistake. Three minutes later a throw-in was worked on the left between Wylde and Jamie Ness, when the cross from Ness was cleared it fell to Ross Perry who shot just over.

The second goal was only delayed untill the 19th minute, a John Fleck corner was cleared to the right hand corner of the box, Archie Campbell lobbed the ball over everyone into the net to make it 2-0. A minute later Rangers almost made it 3-0, Ness sent Fleck clear on the left, keeper Calder saved his effort with his legs, Kane Hemmings follow up hit the outside of the post and went wide.

Dumbarton’s first real venture into the Rangers half came in 23 minutes, a quick free kick released Andy Moore down the right, his attempted cross from a good position was cut out by Chris Scott. Five minutes later a Fleck pass setup Archie Campbell but he dragged his shot accross goal.

Rangers then created and missed three great chances before half time. First a Gregg Wylde run and cross from the left was knocked just wide by Kane Hemmings. A minute later an Archie Campbell cross was met by Danny Wilson, who was stretching a bit and the ball went over. Then on the stroke of half time Jamie Ness burst into the box and his cut back was met by John Fleck only to creep past the far post.

Half Time:- Rangers 2 Dumbarton 0

The first effort of the second half came from Stephen Stirling on 50 minutes, his shot being saved by keeper Calder. A few minutes later a long range shot from Gregg Wylde went narrowly past. On 56 minutes Rangers recieved a warning that the tie wasn’t over when Kieran Brannan shot just wide.

They failed to take heed of that warning and on 62 minutes Dumbarton were back in the tie, They were awarded a free kick a few yards out side the box and Alan Cook stepped up to shoot low past Arturs Vaiculus. As Rangers stepped up the pace a double save from Calder kept the score at 2-1, first he saved a Steven Forbes shot from the edge of the box and then blocked Gregg Wylde’s effort from the rebound.

Dumbarton’s attacks were few and far between, but on 68 minutes Moore released Brannan but his effort went wide. Rangers needed another goal to make the tie safe, but failed to take another couple of great chances. With fifeteen minutes remaining John Fleck’s cut back was poked wide by Stephen Stirling. A few minutes later a throw-in worked between Perry and Stirling, saw Campbell shoot over from Stirling’s cut back.

Rangers finally got the third goal with seven minutes left on the clock, a long ball from Stephen Stirling saw Isa Bagci out pace the defender and run through to make it 3-1. This was enough to see Rangers through to the next round, but better performances will be required if they are to retain the trophy.

Rangers 3 Dumbarton 1

Rangers:- Arturs Vaiculus; Ross Perry, Chris Scott, Danny Wilson, Gegg Wylde; Kyle Hutton (Steven Forbes 52mins), Stephen Stirling, Jamie Ness, John Fleck; Archie Campbell, Kane Hemmings (Isa Bagci 58 mins).

Not Used :- Gary Inglis, Darren Cole, Kyle McAusland.

Dumbarton:- Chris Calder; Thomas McLeary (Grant Richmond 84 mins), Shaun McKenzie, Richard McKillen, Alan Cook; Nicky Russell (Curtis Rose 78 mins), Tony Wallace, Martin McNiff, Daly McSorley; Kieran Brannan, Andy Moore.

Not Used:- Scott Adamson, Ryan Abbott, Mark Baird.

Other 4th Round Scores

St.Mirren 0 Inverness Caley Thistle 2

Fakirk 3 Hearts 2 AET

Motherwell 2 Livingston 1

Ross County 0 Hibs 8

Raith Rovers 6 Civil Service Stollers 0

Celtic 7 Cowdenbeath 0

Queen’s Park 2 Hamilton Accies 2 AET Hamilton won 5-4 on penalties.

Scotland Under 19’s Face England

December 5, 2008

The Rangers youngsters likely to be involved in the Scotland Under 19’s and Under 17’s squads learned their fate with the elite rounds draw yesterday. 

The Under 19’s face a short trip down south, after being drawn with England, Slovakia and Bosnia. England are the group hosts, with games on 27th, 29th May and 1st June. With only the group winners going through to the finals in the Ukraine in July next year.

Their club colleague Isa Bagci’s Turkey look to have a tough task, travelling to Portugal, to face the hosts along with Denmark and Greece.

The younger group travel to Austria in March. There they have to overcome Italy, and Georgia as well as the hosts to take their place in the finals in Germany in May. The dates for these games are 20th, 22nd and 25th March.

Here’s hoping both sides can top their group and do Scotland proud in the summer.