With the youth league and development leagues in cold storage there is not much happening in the youth front. The club have taken advantage of the Leonardo da Vinci programme to take an Under 18 squad to Turkey for a winter training camp.
The Rangers squad that travelled to Turkey was as follows:- Liam Kelly (GK), Sam George (Gk), Aaron McGregor, Matty Clarke, Kris Gibson, Fraser Aird, Luca Gaparotto, Adel Gafaiti, Jamie Burrows, Jordan Wilson, Andy Murdoch, Lewis McLeod, Robbie McIntyre, Darren Ramsay, Stuart Urquhart, Callum Gallagher, Marc Dyer and Barrie McKay.
It will no doubt be a worthwhile exercise in terms of team bonding and allowing a fair bit of time on the training pitch in decent weather. Although the standard of opposition in the friendly games arranged may prove of little benefit with the youngsters beating local side Mahmutlar 10-0 on Saturday, the goals coming from Barrie McKay (4), Darren Ramsay (2), Lewis McLeod, Callum Gallagher, Fraser Aird and Jamie Burrows.
The opposition two years ago included Azerbaijan’s Under 21 side and the youth side from Lokomotove Moscow, I believe this year like last year the camp is at a different location and the opposition available is limited. Last year the youngsters ran up 27 goals in two games, with only a game against an adult side proving worthwhile in a 2-1 win. I don’t really see any benefit in these one-sided games but I suppose they can only play the opposition availbale.
Two players have moved on from the club’s youth setup in recent weeks with Darren McGill moving to Ayr United and Sam McMahon rejoining Doncatser Rovers.
Midfielder Darren joined Rangers from Kilmarnock a couple of years ago and was a regular at U17’s, with the emergence of several midfielder’s from the 1st year 17’s competition for places increased in that area and I believe Darren was not offered a pro-contract and moved on to the Somerset Park side. He recently played in their U19’s youth cup win over Inverness CT. Darren’s dad was always there to watch him where ever he played.
Striker Sam joined from Doncaster 18 months ago and impressed in his first 6 months at the club, it just looked a matter of time before he broke into the 19’s. An unfortunate time with injuries then stalled his progress, twice fracturing his collar bone in the second half of last season meant an early end to the season. A hernia operation at the start of this season meant him being behind in pre-season training and he struggled to break into the youth side. Sam’s father and grandfather regularly travelled up from Manchester to watch him play, even in friendly matches.
I would like to wish both players and their families all the best in the future and hope they both go on and have careers in the game.