Archive for November, 2009

Rangers Can’t Break Deadlock

November 29, 2009

Rangers 0 Kilmarnock 0

With Saturday morning’s game clashing with the first team fixture at Pittodrie it meant I couldn’t make it along, thanks to Laudrup1 for the match report.

Rangers couldn’t quite do enough to secure three points this morning against Kilmarnock. The two sides had met at the end of September and Rangers had been looking for a repeat of the 3 points gained in a 6-1 victory but it wasn’t to be.

Rangers started the better of the two teams and were finding space in the middle of the park. Rhys McCabe picked up a loose ball, drove at the defence and played Hemmings in on the right hand side but he couldn’t get his shot away. Hemmings then turned provider with a similar run to give Archie Campbell a chance but his shot was blocked.

Danny McKay, recently voted SPL u19’s player of the month, was looking impressive for Kilmarnock in the lone striker roll. Scott and Durie had to be at their best to force him wide on a few occasions to avert any danger.

The rest of the half was played out without any real threat from either side and a draw at 45 minutes was probably a fair reflection of proceedings.

Half-Time:- Rangers 0 Kilmarnock 0

Unchanged at the start of the second half, Rangers had an almost immediate chance to take the lead. Campbell was played in down the left but his shot from 15 yards was blocked by the Killie keeper. From this point on, the second half was to be all Rangers.
Good work on the left hand side by Dylan McGeough saw space open up for a cross and he found Hemmings but the striker could only guide his header wide.

The out of sorts Archie Campbell was then replaced by Max Wright upfront.

On 60 minutes Hemmings caused the Killie defence problems again as he skipped past two challenges and found Dick with space to shoot but his attempt was turned round the post for a corner.
McCabe had a strike from distance that was turned over the bar by the keeper for another corner but the set piece was then cleared.

There were shouts, from the spectators, as Cole’s free kick on the right was headed towards the net and, as it bounced off the bar and downwards, seemed to cross the line, but the referee’s assistant on the near side had flagged for offside regardless.

Continual pressure provided a good few more chances but the finishing touch just wasn’t there and Gordon Dick was guilty of missing the best chance of the game on 80 minutes.

Hutton and McCabe combined well to play the midfielder in and his first touch was decent as he went past the defender. He pulled his shot though and it skidded past the far post when it seemed easier to hit the target.

Kilmarnock had one chance in the second half but Adam saved well. It was clear the Ayrshire side were happy with the point as the held the ball up at the corner flag from the resultant set-piece. The ref blew for full-time and Rangers can only be disappointed they never managed a win.

Full Time:- Rangers 0 Kilmarnock 0

Rangers:- Grant Adam; Darren Cole; Chris Scott, Scott Durie, Gregg Wylde, Gordon Dick, Rhys McCabe, Kyle Hutton; Dylan McGeough (Kamil Witkorski 70); Archie Campbell (Max Wright 55 mins), Kane Hemmings
Not Used:- Mark Weir, Christiano Kisuka, Kyle McAusland, Michael Noble

Sunday Development Teams

I did manage along to take in the two games against Kilmarnock on Sunday. The Under 15’s game was a friendly and kicked off at midday and the under 17’s was a development league game and kicked off at 2pm.

Under 15’s

Rangers 2 Kilmarnock 2

This was a friendly and played over the usual three thirty minute periods. The Rangers lineup included two trialists from Northern Ireland, a goalkeeper and a left back.

Rangers almost took the lead in the first minute,  good play in midfield saw Blair Munn play the ball forward to Callum McConnell on the right, the striker cut inside and his shot beat the keeper but rebounded from the post. Eight minutes later and it was Andy Murdoch that played Charlie Telfer through and he was denied by a fine save at the expense of a corner. From the corner the Killie defence failed to clear and the ball broke to Greg Pescizio who shot against the post with the keeper beaten.

Midway through the first period a long ball from Blair Munn gave Jordan Wilson a chance but he shot over. The remainder of the first period failed to produce and other chances ans the teams cancelled each other out.

A couple of minutes inf the second period and Rangers fell behind, Kilmarnock broke down the left and the pass through the middle sent the striker clear to carry on into the penalty area and beat the trialist keeper. Five minutes later and Rangers were back on level terms, Jordan Wilson with his back to goal outside the penalty area hooked the ball over his head and over the Killie defence, Darren McGill won the challenge with the keeper to head into the net.

Kilmarnock then had a chance when they broke down the right, but striker shot across goal. Rangers edged in front a couple of minutes later when Charlie Telfer’s cross from the left was met on the volley by Blair Munn who gave the keeper no chance.

Rangers trialist full back then made a great interception to deny Killie a chance at the expense of a corner. The Gers defence failed to clear and the trialist keeper made a fine save from point-blank range. Just before the end of the period Greg Pescezio volleyed a Blair Munn corner just wide.

A fantastic save denied Rangers at the start of the third period when a Blair Spittal cross was deflected goalwards by a defender, the Killie keeper despite being wrong footed managed to change direction and save at the post. Charlie Telfer’s diagonal ball then gave Blair Spittal a chance and the keeper produced another save. The corner was then helped on by Pescizio and the Trialist stooped to head goalwards only to see it cleared off the line.

Telfer and McConnell then combined on the left and Spittal was again denied by the keeper. With 13 minutes remaining Greg Pescizio was adjudged to have brought  down the Killie striker when through and they scored from the resultant penalty.

Substitute keeper Sam George then prevented Kilmarnock getting a winner on two occasions. First with ten minutes remaining diving high to his left after Rangers failed to clear a corner. The in the final minute coming from his line to block the Killie striker’s effort when through on goal.

Rangers:- Trialist (Sam George) ; Dylan  Dykes, Greg Pescizio, Jack Donaldson, Trialist; Blair Munn (Blair Spittal), Andy Murdoch, Darren McGill, Jordan Wilson (Ciaran Summers); Callum McConnell, Charlie Telfer.

Under 17’s

This was a development league game but was played over the conventional two 45 minute periods.

The first chance fell to Lee Cochane when he latched on to a through ball and brought out a fine save from the keeper. Rangers scored when Nicky Main made progress down the right and his low cross into the box was converted by George Scott at the second attempt after his first was blocked.

The next goal came when Kyle McAusland glanced a header from Anthony Marenghi’s free kick into the top corner. A good ball down the right from Robbie Crawford to Lee Cochrane saw him go past a defender and set up Anthony Marenghi who was only denied by a fine save.  Kilmarnock then pulled a goal back when the centre forward lobbed over Blair Currie when played through.

In second half the visitors keeper saved a McAusland header from a Marenghi corner. At the other end Kilmarnock’s substitute striker shot just wide. From another Marenghi corner this time deep to the back of the area saw Frankie Owens shot cleared off the line.

McAusland was then in action at the other end with a great challenge denying Kilmarnock. Rangers scored again when Marenghi’s free-kick from the right saw McAusland head against the post, but Frankie Owen was on hand to net the rebound.

Rangers:- Blair Currie; Nicky Main, Kyle McAusland, Stuart Urquhart, Michael Noble; Robbie Crawford, Frankie Owens, Steven Hetherington, Anthony Marenghi; George Scott, Lee Cochrane (Michael Mosson).

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Champions League Youth Teams Draw

November 24, 2009

Rangers 2 VfB Stuttgart 2

When Rangers visited Stuttgart back in September the Bundesliga side agreed to bring a youth side to take on Rangers on the morning of the return game. This is a fantastic development and hopefully the first of many such games, perhaps it is something UEFA might consider including  before some if not all Champions League ties. The game was at the 15’s/16’s age group, with the Rangers squad  in the main under 15’s with a couple a year older and a couple a year younger. Unfortunately the West of Scotland weather meant the game had to be moved from grass to the astroturf pitch at Murray Park and was played over three thirty minute periods.

The Ibrox youngsters  got of to the perfect start, taking the lead in the first minute. Good work wide on the right by Charlie Telfer gave him the space to get in a cross from the byline to find Callum McConnell who fired home from just outside the six yard box. Just over ten minutes and a great move from left to right saw the ball go from Darren McGill  to Andy Murdoch via Callum McConnell and Frankie Owens, Charlie Telfer met Murdoch’s cross at the near post and his effort was deflected on to the post and wide.

Halfway through the first period the Stuttgart youngsters were starting to get their passing game going and their first chance ended with a shot straight at Blair Currie. A minute later they were denied by a fine save by the Rangers keeper, blocking with his legs at close range. At this stage Rangers were finding it difficult to retain possession and the visitors missed another chance when Currie made a comfortable save. It was no surprise when Stuttgart equalised on 24 minutes, a pass through the centre sent their striker through and he ran on to shoot past Currie.

The second period saw no real goal scoring chances although the visitors probably just edged it in term or possession and territorial advantage. Eight minutes into the third period Rangers regained the lead with a well worked goal. Ciaran Summers played the ball in from the left, a neat flick from Danny Hutchinson was dummied by Andy Murdoch and Blair Munn gave the keeper no chance from the edge of the box.

The lead was short lived however and a minute later a good passing move down the right saw the Stuttgart youngster clear inside the penalty area to beat substitute keeper Sam George and tie the scores. From then on the game could have gone either way with Rangers coming closest with ten minutes remaining. A cross from the right by Danny Hutchinson was met on the volley by Charlie Telfer only to see his effort rebound from the post.

Full Time:- Rangers 2 VfB Stuttgart 2

Overall a draw was probably a fair result in what was a great experience for the youngsters. I am sure both sides would have learnt something playing against a side from a different football culture. I look forward to similar initiatives in the future.

Rangers Squad :- Blair Currie, Sam George, Dylan Dykes, Greg Pescezio, Stuart Urquhart, Jordan Wilson, Andy Murdoch, Frankie Owens, Michael Mosson, Darren McGill, Callum McConnell, Charlie Telfer, Blair Munn, Ciaran Summers, Jack Donaldson, Danny Hutchinson, Blair Spittal.

McCabe Double Secures Points

November 22, 2009

Rangers 3 St. Mirren 1

A Rhys McCabe double went a long way to securing the points for Billy Kirkwood’s Under 19’s this afternoon. With Murray Park passing a morning inspection it saw Rangers line up with three changes to the team that win the cup tie at Pittodrie a fortnight ago. Gregg Wylde, Gordon Dick and Dylan McGeough coming in to replace Ewan McNeil, Scott Durie and Kamil Wilktorski.

It was a great start for the youngsters taking the lead as early as the fourth minute. Gordon Dick was fouled just outside the box and Rhys McCabe stepped up to fire a tremendous strike past Jake Cunningham in the St.Mirren goal. St.Mirren first threatened on 18 minutes when Darren Cole allowed a long ball to go over his head giving Fraser Team a chance but Gregg Wylde blocked at the expense of a corner.

On 22 minutes Kyle Hutton played the ball through and Cunningham was quick from his line to beat Archie Campbell to the ball. Campbell then had a chance on the half hour mark when through on a Grant Adam clearance, his attempted lob over the advancing Cunningham drifted wide.

A couple of minutes later saw St.Mirren’s best chance of the half. Fraser Team crossed from the right to the unmarked Kenny McLean who tried to head over Adam, but his effort lacked height and the keeper saved comfortably. Straight to the other end and Cunningham denied Kane Hemmings  with a fine block with his legs after the striker was played in by Kyle Hutton.

Half-Time:- Rangers 1 St.Mirren 0

Two goals in as many minutes sealed the points for Rangers early in the second half. On 52 minutes Dick played the ball into the box from the right, a great first touch from Rhys McCabe gave him a chance, he miss hit his first attempt but prodded the ball past Cuuningham when the it broke to him of the defender. A minute later Cunningham saved at the feet of Hemmings as he chased a through ball, only to see the ball break to Dylan McGeough who side-stepped the keeper and scored with ease.

To the visitors credit they pulled a goal back two  minutes later. A free kick swung in from the left was headed back across goal where Fraser Team found the net from close range.  On 64 minutes Rangers had a similar chance to McLean’s first half effort for St. Mirren. A McCabe cross from the saw Campbell attempt to head over keeper Cunningham, but like McLean’s it lacked height and the keeper saved.

With quarter an hour remaining McGeough set up the overlapping Wylde and keeper Cunningham did well to divert the ball wide with his legs. St. Mirren then had a chance with a free-kick on 85 minutes, Adam saving John McShane’s shot from just outside the box. The last effort came in the final minute when Hutton played through substitute Max Wright who’s shot from a tight angle brought out a fine save from Cunningham.

Full Time:- Rangers 3 St.Mirren 1

Rangers:- Grant Adam; Rhys McCabe, Chris Scott, Darren Cole; Kyle Hutton, Gordon Dick, Jamie Ness, Dylan McGeough; Archie Campbell (Max Wright 87 mins), Kane Hemmings

Not Used:- Mark Weir, Kyle McAusland, Nicky Main, Anthony Marenghi, Christiano Kisuka

St.Mirren:- Jake Cunningham; Mark McLennan, Rhys Devlin, Dominic Kennedy, Ally Love (No.16 69 mins); Fraser Team (no 14 77 mins),Kyle Faulds, Kenny McLean, Sean Burns; John McShane, Graeme Ramage (no 12 58  mins)

Aussies Visit Murray Park

November 20, 2009

Rangers 5 Melbourne Stars 0

Rangers Under 17’s took on Australian visitors Melbourne Stars at Murray Park this afternoon. It was a return visit for the Aussies, having beaten a Rangers side 3-0 on a visit last year.

Melbourne Football Stars are an organisation that provides Melbourne’s elite Youth players with an opportunity to travel to Scotland & England to gain an insight into the world of professional Football. Today’s game saw them take on a much more recognisable Rangers Under 17 side than last year.

After a quiet opening period where Rangers dominated possession, the home side took the lead. Dylan McGeough set up Lee Cochrane with a chance at the edge of the box, his first effort was blocked but when the ball came back to him he sent it into the top right hand corner of the net giving the keeper no chance.

Rangers doubled their lead on the half hour, Anthony Marenghi sent Christiano Kisuka clear on the right hand side of the box and his ball across the six yard box gave Lee Cochrane a simple tap in for his second goal. Five minutes later and Melbourne had what proved to be their only real chance of the game. A ball in from the right broke to the No. 9 on the six yard box but his shot past the post.

On the stroke of half time Rangers when three up with a fantastic solo effort. Christiano Kisuka picked the ball up 40 yards out, his run to the edge of the box took him past three defenders where he shot low past the keeper.

Half Time :- Rangers 3 Melbourne Stars 0

The second half was only a couple of minutes old when Rangers scored again. Another Marenghi pass sent Kisuka clear, this time on the left, and again his ball across goal set up a simple tap in , this time for substitute Callum McConnell.

There was no further scoring until the final minute, when Lee Cochrane, who had come back on to replace the injured Callum McConnell, latched on to a Frankie Owens pass to shoot across the keeper and into the net to complete his hat-trick.

The Australian youngsters now go on to play Hibs, Dundee United, Manchester City and Bolton Wanderers. I hope they enjoyed their game at Murray Park today and wish them luck in the rest of their games.

Full Time:- Rangers 5 Melbourne Stars 0

Rangers:- Blair Currie; Frankie Owens, Kyle McCausland, Michael Noble, Michael Mosson; Nicky Main, Dylan McGeough (Darren McGill 46 mins), Steven Hetherington, Anthony Marenghi; Christiano Kisuka, Lee Cochrane (Callum McConnell 46mins).

FIFA Under 17 World Cup’s Lone Ranger

November 11, 2009

Andy Milne_1

How many of you know the player pictured above, not many I bet. It is of course Andy Milne, Rangers sole representative at the FIFA Under 17 World Cup in Nigeria. It saddens me to say that the club has not felt that Andrew’s achievement has  been worth even the smallest mention on the Official website. So I will try and do it justice in a little post on the blog.

A few of you may have seen Andy in last season’s Glasgow Cup Final victory over Celtic at Broadwood, where he had an excellent game at left back.  In the month before that game Andrew was part of the New Zealand side that won the Oceania Under 17’s Championship, scoring in each of his country’s three games. This victory meant they had qualified for World Finals in Nigeria.

AndrewMilne-side300The Kiwis were drawn in the same group as Costa Rica, Burkina Faso and Turkey. First up was the Central Americans and New Zealand took the lead after 19 minutes, Andy holding the ball up and fending off several defenders to set up Michael Built who blasted home. The Costa Ricans equalised in the first half, and with the second half being goalless it was a creditable start for the New Zealand side.

In their second match they were up against it, going a goal down to Barkina Faso and struggling to get out of their own half. Keeping the score at 1-0 proved to be essential when in a rare attack skipper Gordon Murie got his head to a free -kick to glance the ball home. Just after the hour mark an incredible downpour gave the referee no option but to take the players from the field. This may have helped the Kiwis, as when the game resumed almost two hours later, they managed to hold out to record their second 1-1 draw.

The final group match was against  the group favourites Turkey, but a positive was the Turks had won their two games and had already qualified for the next phase, so left out four of their regular starters for this game. The Turkish side were still the dominant team and took an early lead in the first half. Once again the New Zealand side showed their great spirit and hung in there. Just when it looked like they would suffer their first defeat an injury time wonder strike from Jack Hobson-McVeigh gave them their third 1-1 draw and a place in the next round as one of the top third placed sides, a fantastic achievement for a New Zealand soccer team.

Andy Milne_2The last 16 saw them up against the hosts Nigeria and it was a step too far for the young Kiwis. Down 2-0 after 25 minutes they never recovered and went on to lose a further three goals. Some consolation for them is that Nigeria are still in the tournament and face Spain in tomorrow’s semi final. From Andy Milne’s perspective the tournament was agreat success, playing every minute in all four games. The challenge now for Andrew is to kick on with his club career. With preparation and the tournament itself he has been away from Murray Park for a significant amount of time. I am sure he will have benefited from this experience and will be pushing for a starting place in the under 19’s in the coming months.

Footnote:- Andy wasn’t the only Scottish based player in the New Zealand squad, Jamie Doris who featured in three of the for games has recently signed  for Hibs.

Pittodrie Cup Win For Youths

November 8, 2009

Aberdeen 1 Rangers 2

A late penalty ensured a nervy end for the Ibrox youngsters at Pittodrie this afternoon. Well in control for most of the game the converted spot kick lifted the home side but they failed to create another chance.There were two changes to the side that defeated Hibs last week,  Kyle Hutton was back from injury and Dylan McGeough dropped to the bench. With Gregg Wylde unavailable, sixteen year old Ewan McNeil came in for his debut at this level.

Rangers took the lead on nine minutes with the first effort on target in the game. A Rhys McCabe corner from the right was headed past keeper Scott Bain by the unmarked Kyle Hutton. Almost straight from the kick off the goalscorer lost possession 30 yards from goal to Nicky Low who then went past Chris Scott and shot narrowly over from the edge of the box.

That was a rare forray into the Rangers box and it was no surprise when Rangers increased their lead on 17 minutes. Kamil Wiktorski strode forward from midfield and played a one two with McCabe, who set the Polish youngster up perfectly to volley past Bain from just inside the box. Rangers were pretty much in control and the home side’s only other effort in the first half came when Stirling Smith shot over from long-range,  Grant Adam having the shot covered.

Half Time:-Aberdeen 0 Rangers 2

Aberdeen came out for the second half looking to make an impact and Callum McRobbie sent Low down the left and only a great challenge from Darren Cole cleared the danger from his low cross. On 57 minutes it was down the same flank that the home side threatened. Dean Jarvis, Low and McRobbie combined and Mitchell Megginson got a touch on the later’s cross, the ball  looped up towards the far post where Adam saved without too much difficulty.

On the hour mark Dylan McGeough was fouled wide on the right and from Ewan McNeil’s free kick McCabe headed powerfully goalwards but Bain reacted to save. Five minutes later Gilli Sorensen brought out a diving save from Adam when his cut inside Darren Cole.

With 10 minutes remaining a mixup between Chris Scott and Adam almost gave Megginson a chance, but the keeper and defender managed to scramble the ball clear. A couple of minutes later and McCabe went close again with a header, this time from a McGeough corner, his effort going just wide of the post with Bain beaten.

With three minutes of the ninety remaining Aberdeen where thrown an unlikely lifeline. Adam parried a Nicky Low shot from the edge of the box, the ball going to Jack Grimmer. With Aberdeen substitute running away from goal along the byline Adams challenge was unneccessary, but the Rangers keeper sent him tumbling for a clear penalty. Up stepped Mitchel Megginson and he was a little fortunate to see his weak shot squirm under keeper Adam.

This set up a nervy last few minutes, but with the home side failing to creat another chance the Ibrox youngsters progressed to the next round.

Full Time:- Aberdeen 1 Rangers 2

Aberdeen:- Scott Bain; Stirling Smith,Joe Shaughnessy, Scott Ross, Dean Jarvis; Gilli Sorensen (Jack Grimmer 84mins), Ryan Jack, Hallur Hannson (Clark Robertson 68 mins), Nicky Low; Callum McRobbie, Mitchel Megginson.

Not Used:- Prezmyslaw Lukasik, Anthony Bolger, Jordon Brown

Rangers:- Grant Adam; Ewan McNeil, Chris Scott, Scott Durie, Darren Cole; Kyle Hutton (Dylan McGeough 56mins), Rhys McCabe, Kamil Wiktorski, Jamie Ness; Archie Campbell, Kane Hemmings

Not Used:- Blair Currie, Kyle McAusland, Gordon Dick, Max Wright

16’s Friendly At Lesser Hampden

November 7, 2009

Queen’s Park 1 Rangers 3

Friday night was an opportunity to taken in a game at the age group that falls between two development teams when Rangers took on Queen’s Park in an under 16 friendly at Lesser Hampden. It was the home side that took the lead after 8 minutes with an excellent goal. They broke down the right and when the ball was crossed it found its way to the angle of the penalty area, where the Queen’s left midfielder gave Sam George no chance with a superb strike.

On 2o minutes Rangers conceded a penalty when Michael Mosson impeded the attacker as he broke in to the box, Sam George saved the resultant penalty low to his left. Rangers then almost equalised straight away  when Frankie Owens fed George Scott who shot narrowly wide.

Just after the half hour mark a great piece of control by Lee Cochrane saw him shoot powerfully but straight at the keeper. A couple of minutes later Charlie Telfer played the ball inside to Cochrane who’s shot was saved, the ball broke to Callum McConnell but he delayed his effort and it was scrambled clear.

The equaliser came ten minutes before half time when Cochrane was fouled just outside the box and Stuart Urquhart stepped up to shoot low past the keeper. Right on the stroke of half time Cochrane sent McConnell through one on one with the keeper who made a fine block.

Half Time:- Queen’s Park 1 Rangers 1

Rangers took the lead two minutes after the break, a long ball sent Lee Cochrane down the left, he cut inside and shot past the keeper giving him no chance. Just before the hour Rangers had three chances within seconds of each other. First Telfer set up Cochrane who saw his shot saved, the ball broke to the edge of the box where George Scott sent a thundering shot against the bar, McConnell then stretched to send the rebound goalwards which the keeper managed to save at the second attempt.

On the hour Rangers hit the woodwork again when Cochrane played Telfer through, he poked the ball past the keeper only to see it rebound from the post. The next chance came when Urquhart met a Scott corner but the keeper made a fine diving save.

With twenty minutes remaining McConnell was again denied by the keeper when through.  Rangers could have payed for those missed chances when a Mosson slip gave Queen’s a chance but the shot was in to the side netting.

At the other end the keeper denied Urquhart a second goal from a free kick when he saved to his right after McConnell was  fouled just outside the box. With a minute remaining Callum McConnell got the goal his play deserved, controlling a cross from the left and shooting past the keeper.

Full Time:- Queen’s Park 1 Rangers 3

Rangers:- Sam George (Liam Kelly); Andy Murdoch, Michael Mosson, Stuart Urquhart, Jordan Wilson (Ciaran Summers); Charlie Telfer, Frankie Owens, George Scott, Darren McGill (Blair Munn);Lee Cochrane, Callum McConnell.