Development Teams Meet Celtic

Rangers development teams met Celtic this weekend at the various age groups, with the U15’s game cancelled I had the choice of venue, either Barrowfield for the U17’s or Murray Park where the U13’s and U14’s were playing. No contest so it was up to Auchenhowie for the 10am kick-off, and as is the norm I take in the older group’s game.

Rangers 4 Celtic 2

With Ally McCoist watching from the sidelines Rangers had a chance in the opening minute, Scott Gray’s corner from the right created the chance but Mati Zattafarra shot over. The Ibrox youngsters were to regret that miss when Celtic took the lead in the third minute, the initial attack came on the right side of the penalty area and when the shot came in Lewis Muir made a fine save from close range, but with the Rangers defence slow to react the rebound was fired high into the net.

Rangers equalised three minutes later, Scott Gray advanced down the left and his cross to the back post was knocked back across goal by Scott Blacklaw to allow Zak Rudden to net from close range. As the quarter-hour mark approached Jack Thomson sent Zak Rudden down the left, when his low cross came in Scott Blacklaw’s shot seemed destined for the net until the Celtic keeper dived to his right to turn the ball wide with a fine save.

Less than five minutes later Rangers took the lead, Scott Blacklaw’s pass across the box found Stephen Kelly on the left side of the area and he calmly slotted the ball past the keeper. In the final minute of the third period Scott Gray’s cross from the left found the head of Zak Rudden but his effort was just wide of the keeper’s left hand post.

Chances were few in the second period and there were only seven minutes of the period remaining when Stephen Kelly and Carlo Pigniatello combined to play the ball into the box to Zak Rudden, the ball broke back to the edge of the box from where Carlo Pigniatello shot just over. Two minutes later Rangers increased their lead, the Celtic keeper dallied on a pass back which allowed Zak Rudden to charge down his clearance and the ball bounced of the Rangers striker and into the net.

Celtic still had enough time to reduce the deficit before the end of the period, when a cross came in from the left the ball was eventually forced over the line despite the best effort of Michael Hewitt to clear. The final period followed a similar vein with chances at a premium and there was only eight minutes remaining when Rangers restored their two goal lead. Jack Thomson broke from defence before sending Zak Rudden clear through the inside left channel, the Rangers striker rounded the keeper before crossing for Mati Zattafarra to net at the far post.

In the final minutes Celtic had one further chance to reduce the deficit, when Lewis Muir was penalised for handling a pass back the shot from the free-kick went through the crowded box but Jack Pow was well placed to clear at Lewis Muir’s right hand post.

Full-Time:- Rangers 4 Celtic 2

Rangers Squad:- Lewis Muir (Gk), Michael Hewitt, Scott Gray, Jack Thomson, Lewis Mayo, Cammy Palmer, Scott Blacklaw, Mati Zattafarra, Zak Rudden, Stephen Kelly, Carlo Pigniatello, Cammy Wray, Aaron Reid, Jack Pow, Matthew Shiels, Aaron Mooney.

Footnote:- On an adjacent pitch goals from Niyah Joseph (2), Mark Leonard, Adedapo Mebude, Dylan Patterson & Nathan Patterson saw Rangers U13’s record a 6-2 win against their Celtic counterparts.
 
Meanwhile at Barrowfield the U17’s sides from the clubs battled out a goalless draw.
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