Rangers 1 Kilmarnock 5
Rangers under 20’s crashed out of the youth cup today at Murray Park, outplayed and unable to cope with Killie striker Rory McKenzie they suffered a heavy defeat. The coaches may point to the greater experience in the Kilmarnock side and although results are not the main concern at this level, another early youth cup exit indicates a continuing drop in standards.
Due to the decisions made by the club with regards to what competitions they would play in this season, it is also likely to be the end of competitive football for some of these players this season, which can only hinder their development. The Kilmarnock side included three players released by the current Murray Park regime, its worth noting their progress since, with all being recognised at Scotland level and two making their debuts in the Killie first team.
The visitors could have opened the scoring in the opening minute and only a superb challenge from Luca Gaparotto diverted the shot over the crossbar. The opening goal came six minutes later, the Rangers defence struggled to clear a corner from the right and when it arrived at the edge of the box Rory McKenzie fired the ball into Blair Currie’s bottom right hand corner.
Just before the quarter hour mark a ball over the top of the Killie defence gave Jordan Wilson a chance, but keeper Devlin McKay advanced from his line to block. Two minutes later the home side missed a great chance to equalise, Charlie Telfer’s cross from the right found Darren Ramsay and his header across goal looked certain to lead to a goal until Lee Ashcroft’s brilliant block diverted Callum Gallagher’s effort over.
Rangers came close again, keeper Devlin McKay failed to hold Darren Ramsay’s corner from the right and Callum Gallagher’s shot was diverted wide by a defender. Just after the midway point in the half the visitor’s doubled their lead, there seemed little danger when Rory McKenzie collected the ball on the left hand angle of the box until he curled a superb shot past Blair Currie and into the far corner of the net.
Ten minutes before the break Kilmarnock attacked on the left side of the box and when Darren Ramsay challenged Rory McKenzie the ball broke to Chris Johnston and Blair Currie had to stretch to tip over. Another attack down the left of the verge of half-time saw Chris Johnston go past a defender before playing in Rory McKenzie with Blair Currie saving low to his left. There was still time for Rangers to threaten at the other end, a long ball sending Callum Gallagher through, he went wide of the advancing keeper Devlin McKay before firing over.
Half-Time:- Rangers 0 Kilmarnock 2
Rangers created a chance in the opening minute of the first half, substitute Jamie Burrows made progress on the right and his cutback found Tom Walsh with keeper Devlin McKay tipping his effort over. Five minutes later Devlin McKay failed to collect a free-kick from the right, Jamie Burrows tried to force the ball home but failed to connect properly and the defender cleared as the ball trickled towards the goal.
At the other end Rory McKenzie continued to terrorise the home defence, a solo run on the right took him into the box and this time his shot was parried by Blair Currie. Just after the hour Killie increased their lead, Jude Winchester broke unchallenged from halfway before passing to Rory McKenzie to shoot past Blair Currie.
A couple of minutes later Rangers got a goal back via the penalty spot, Charlie Telfer’s corner from the right broke to Luca Gasparotto just outside the six yard box and he was hauled over in the act of shooting for a clear penalty, Callum Gallagher stepped up to convert from twelve yards. Any hopes of rescuing the tie were dispelled five minutes later, Rory McKenzie broke down the right and held of Greg Pascazio as he cut into the penalty area to shoot past Blair Currie.
With fifteen minutes remaining Ross Barbour broke forward from full-back and forced a diving save to his right from Blair Currie. The scoring was completed five minutes later and it came from the other full-back, Rory McKeown’s twenty-five yarder deflecting off Luca Gasparotto before finding the net.
Full-Time:-Rangers 1 Kilmarnock 5
Rangers:- Blair Currie; Ryan Sinnamon, Luca Gasparotto, Greg Pascazio, Matty Clarke (Craig Halkett HT); Charlie Telfer, Tom Walsh (Danny Stoney 62mins), Stuart Urquhart (Jamie Burrows HT), Jordan Wilson; Darren Ramsay; Callum Gallagher.
Not Used:- Liam Kelly (Gk), Dylan Dykes
Kilmarnock:- Devlin McKay; Ross Barbour, Lee Ashcroft, Mark O’Hara, Rory McKeown; Mark Taylor (Robbie Muirhead 82mins), Ross Davidson, Craig Slater, Chris Johnston; Jude Winchester; Rory McKenzie (David McNeill 88mins)
Not Used:- Andrew Hainey
Rangers 8 Falkirk 0
Sunday morning gave me the opportunity to take in the under 14’s clash with Falkirk. With the powerful midfield trio of Aidan Wilson, Dean Picken and Jamie Barjonas Rangers dominated from start to finish
It took the home side thirteen minutes to open the scoring. Aidan Wilson sent Grant Nelson clear on the left and his low cross was volleyed into the net by Sam Jamieson. Two minutes later Grant Nelson cut in from the left and his resultant shot was just too high.
With just over twenty minutes gone Aidan Wilson rose to meet Grant Nelson’s corner from the left the Falkirk keeper stretched to touch the ball onto the crossbar with Wallace Duffy firing the rebound over. A minute later Liam Burt was clipped as he cut into the penalty area on the right, Sam Jamieson stepped up to convert despite the best effort of the Falkirk keeper.
In the final minute of the first period Wallace Duffy rose to powerfully head Liam Burt’s corner from the right past the keeper and into the net. The second period started in the same vein, with Aidan Wilson broke forward before sending a long-range shot onto the bar and over.
Two minutes later the home side scored again, Aidan Wilson headed Jamie Barjonas corner from the right towards goal and Sam Jamieson reacted to head into the roof of the net. Rangers continued their wave of attacks, Aidan Wilson sent Scott Gray overlapping on the left and when the Falkirk defence failed to clear Liam Burt was denied when the keeper blocked with his legs.
Midway through the period Rangers scored again, Jamie Barjonas corner from the left had the keeper struggling and he only succeeded in knocking the ball against Wallace Duffy and into the net. The sixth goal came close to the end of the period, Aidan Wilson feeding Liam Burt on the right and when his low cross came into the box Grant Nelson was well placed to fire past the keeper.
The first effort on goal in the third period came when Jason Krones broke forward from the back line and sent a twenty-five yarder crashing off the crossbar. The next goal was not long in coming, Aidan Wilson progressed on the right and his low cross was deflected onto the near post by a defender with Grant Nelson forcing the ball over the line from close range.
The right hand side was the area where the next goal was created, Aidan Wilson played the ball forward to Jack Morgan and he went past the full back before sending the ball across the six yard box for Kieran Pirrie to score. Before the end of the match Rangers hit the woodwork again, this time it was Aidan Wilson’s long-range shot clipping the bar on the way over. The final chance came from a Blair Docherty solo run deep into the box only to be denied by a fine block from the keeper.
Full-Time:- Rangers 8 Falkirk 0
Rangers Squad:- Kieran Wright (Gk), Jordan Houston, Scott Gray, Wallace Duffy, Aidan Wilson, Dean Picken, Grant Nelson, Jason Krones, Sam Jamieson, Jamie Barjonas, Liam Burt, Blair Docherty, Euan McMillan, Kieran Pirrie, Lewis Ferguson, Jack Morgan