Ideally I would have liked to start this update with Friday’s youth friendly against Hibs, unfortunately the club deemed this game to be “Closed Door”. Since Murray Park opened and up until this season “Closed Door” youth games were as rare as a Celtic away point in the Champions League. How things change, Celtic have got three ponts and there has been FIVE “Closed Door” youth games in just over three weeks.
A weekday afternoon youth friendly would be watched by no more than thirty people. The regular attendance at youth games is transient, with 90% being parents watching their son’s progress. Ideally these parents will progress to watching their son in the reserves and then hopefully the first team. Others will move on to other clubs and naturally their parents will move on with them, to be replaced by the following year’s group of parents. Some of these parents have ferried their sons to Murray Park four times a week for several years and in a few cases over significant distances.
With a group of players too old for U17’s and not getting much game time with the reserves, these games are their only football at the moment. Where as I enjoy watching the different age groups the wider support tend to take an interest when players reach an age where a first team call up could be a possibility. It’s now becoming almost impossible to track the progress of this group and when asked how certain players are progressing my answer is increasingly becoming “I haven’t seen much of them recently”.
I honestly cannot see what the club has to gain through this policy or what damage allowing thirty or so people to take in a youth friendly could bring on the club. If this policy continues long-term the day will come when it could become a factor when a parent has to make the choice of allowing his son to continue his development at Rangers, or at a club where they are free to watch his progress.
Now back to what the blog should be about.
Rangers 7 Ayr United 1
First game of the weekend was an Under 14 friendly against Ayr United at Murray Park on Friday night. Like Sunday’s game it took the Rangers youngsters a while to get a grip on the game before eventually running out comfortable winners.
Rangers took the lead after seven minutes, Jamie Barjonas took on a couple of defenders of the right side of the penalty area and hit the byline, Wallace Duffy got on the end of his cross and his header found the net via the keeper’s right hand post. Five minutes later Ayr were back on level terms, the source was an attack down the right and a low cross which was knocked into his own net by a Rangers defender under pressure from an Ayr forward.
Midway through the first period Rangers came close to regaining the lead, Aidan Wilson’s powerful header from Jamie Barjonas corner crashing off the crossbar with the keeper beaten. A couple of minutes later another chance was passed up, Ben Andoh made his way to the byline on the left and when his low cross arrived at the back post Dean Pitchens looked certain to score but knocked the ball wide.
The final chance of the first period came when Kieran Pirrie’s turn at the edge of the box took him clear of the defence but he dragged his hot wide. Rangers regained the lead eleven minutes into the second period, Ben Andoh progressed down the right and his cross isolated the keeper with the Ayr full-back knocking the ball into the net for an Own Goal under pressure from Dean Pitchens.
With ten minutes of the period remaining Lewis Ferguson and Jack Morgan combined to send Dean Pitchens through on goal, the midfielder continuing into the box to shoot past the keeper. Rangers were now looking like adding to their tally with every attack, Liam Burt broke forward and played a one-two with Ben Andoh before going for goal with the Ayr keeper turning the ball wide. The corner from the left was cleared by the Ayr defence back out to Lewis Ferguson, this time his cross bounced inside the six yard box and Jack Morgan’s header came back off the crossbar.
Just before the end of the period Rangers scored again, Liam Burt broke forward and fed Ben Andoh on the right, his low cross broke from a challenge between Jack Morgan and a defender back into the path of Liam Burt who made no mistake. Barely sixty seconds had passed in the third period when Rangers scored again, the Ayr defence failed to clear Jamie Barjonas ‘s corner from the left and Aidan Wilson crashed a shot off the underside of the bar and over the line.
The visitor’s keeper then excelled on a couple of occasions to deny further goals. Firstly diving to his right to turn a Jack Morgan shot wide of the post after a great turn made the space for a shot. He the showed great reactions to divert a deflected Jamie Barjonas shot onto the crossbar, with Lewis Ferguson heading the rebound tamely into the keeper’s arms.
A passing move saw the ball move from Jamie Barjonas and Ben Andoh on to Kieran Pirrie who hit the byline on the right and Jack Morgan was well placed to convert his low cross. The scoring was complete when a Kieran Pirrie flick on halfway sent Jack Morgan racing clear to continue into the box and shoot past the keeper.
Full-Time:- Rangers 7 Ayr United 1
Rangers Squad:- Kieran Wright (Gk), Liam Burt, Euan McMillan, Wallace Duffy, Aidan Wilson, Lewis Ferguson, Dean Pitchens, Blair Docherty, Kieran Pirrie, Jamie Barjonas, Ben Andoh, Jack Morgan
Queen’s Park 1 Rangers 7
Sunday morning meant I could get along to Lesser Hampden to watch the under 13’s for the first time this season. Their results have been impressive and this morning that form continued with a comfortable win.
Rangers took the lead after only five minutes, Dylan Patterson broke towards the box from the left, he played a one-two with Aaron Mooney and curled a superb shot over the keeper and into the net. The same player came close seven minutes later, Carlo Pigniatello sent a cross field pass from the right to find Dylan Patterson breaking into the box on the left but this time his shot was just too high.
Rangers then carved open the home defence with a good passing move that sent Aaron Mooney clear, he went round the keeper only to be denied when a defender got back on the line to clear. The home side then created a chance through the middle with Lewis Muir racing from his area to win the challenge with the attacker to clear.
Rangers then capitalised by increasing their lead, Stephen Kelly split the defence to send Matthew Shiels through on goal, the Queen’s keeper blocked his initial effort but he was alert to knock the rebound into the net. The home side then came close when a free-kick from the right drifted just wide of Lewis Muir’s right hand post.
Rangers then hit Queen’s with two goals before the end of the first period. Matthew Shiels again was sent clear from a Carlo Pigniatello pass and this time he only need one attempt to beat the keeper. It looked like he would score a similar effort in the final minute of the period, this time the home keeper parried his shot but only into the path of Dylan Patterson who knocked the ball into the net.
The second period followed a similar pattern with Rangers on the attack, Jack Pow played the ball forward to Aaron Mooney on the right, he went past the defender and played the ball across goal to Dylan Patterson who shot just wide of the right hand post. A minute later the same combination came close, this time Dylan Patterson headed Aaron Mooney’s cross from the right wide of the same post.
The home side looked likely to score with an attack down the right but Jack Pow did well to intercept the final pass which meant the chance was not so simple and the Queen’s player shot over. The home side did reduce the deficit midway through the period, a cross from the right bounced up and hit Carlo Pigniatello on the arm and the referee awarded a rather harsh penalty which was duly converted.
Rangers replied when Stephen Kelly setup Scott Gray for a long-range effort which the keeper dived to turn wide of his right hand post. There was still time for Rangers to score before the period ended, Stephen Kelly won the ball in midfield and a superb pass sent Matthew Shiels through to complete his hat trick.
Seven minutes into the third period Rangers scored again, Scott Gray sent a free-kick in from the right and Dylan Patterson headed past the keeper to become the second player to complete their hat-trick. The next goal came with Carlo Pigniatello’s run along the right hand byline when his cutback was cleared to the edge of the box it was only as far as Dylan Patterson who found the net with a great finish.
Before the final whistle Stephen Kelly sent Aaron Mooney through the inside left channel but his shot was just wide of the far post. Right on the whistle some neat play created a chance for the home side on the left side of the box with Darren Montgomery saving bravely at the attacker’s feet.
Full-Time:- Queen’s Park 1 Rangers 7Rangers Squad:- Lewis Muir (Gk), Darren Montgomery(Gk), Jack Pow, Scott Gray, Jack Thomson, Cammy Wray, Cammy Palmer, Carlo Pigniatello, Stephen Kelly, Aaron Mooney, Scott Blacklaw, Dylan Patterson, Matthew Shiels, Danny Finlayson
Full-Time:- Rangers 2 Queen’s Park 0
The afternoon meant a drive up to Murray Park to take in the under 17’s game. In an entertaining and fairly even game a late Ryan Hardie double secured the win for Rangers.
Queen’s Park created the first real chance after twelve minutes, when the ball was played in from the right the attacker failed to hit the target and his shot going narrowly wide of Jamie Wilson’s right hand post. The visitor’s missed a better chance on twenty-six minutes, from a corner from the right their central defender had a free header from six yards but was again wide of the right hand post.
Five minutes before the break Rangers were desperately unlucky not to take the lead. Scott Roberts run from midfield took him past two defenders and into the left side of the box, his shot beat the keeper only to come back off the left hand post and roll back into the keeper’s arms.
Half-Time:- Rangers 0 Queen’s Park 0
Seven minutes after the break Rangers came close, Lewis Morgan took on and beat the full-back on the right and crossed for Ryan Hardie to head narrowly over. Midway through the half Lewis Morgan again made progress on the right and when he played the ball back to the edge of the box for Adam Wilson to shoot wide of the keeper’s right hand post.
With five minutes remaining Rangers took the lead, a superb Lewis Morgan ball over the top of the Queen’s Park defence sent Ryan Hardie through, a great first touch enabled him to continue into the box and beat the keeper. In the final minute Rangers were under pressure from a long-throw, when the ball was played back into the box Junior Ogen attacked the ball and his clearing header gave Rangers a two on one break, Dylan Stevenson timed his pass superbly to send Ryan Hardie racing clear from halfway, he continued to round the keeper and roll the ball into the empty net.
Full-Time:- Rangers 2 Queen’s Park 0
Rangers:- Jamie Wilson; Ben Reilly, Ross McCrorie, David Browlie, Sam Liddington (Chris McDonald 67mins); Scott Roberts (Dylan Stevenson 60mins), Scott Lochrie (Junior Ogen HT), Adam Wilson, Jamie Mills (Andy McKinnon HT); Dylan Dykes (Lewis Morgan HT); Danny Stoney (Ryan Hardie HT)