Archive for November, 2013

UEFA Youth League

November 30, 2013

With Rangers currently exiled from playing in Europe I still like to get a fix of European football each season. Last week presented an opportunity to take in the Champions League game between Manchester City and Viktoria Plzen followed by Swansea City and Valencia in the Europa League the next evening. An added bonus was the UEFA Youth League tie between the youth side’s of Manchester City and Viktoria Plzen at Hyde’s Ewen Fields ground on Wednesday afternoon.

It provided an ideal opportunity to compare two contrasting clubs, with Patrick Vieira’s expensively assembled City side that has recruited from across Europe taking on Champions League debutants Plzen whose youth squad is made up exclusively of players from Czech Republic.

Manchester City 3 Viktoria Plsen 0

The first thing that struck me about the City team that included three Spaniards and one each from Belgium, Austria and France as well as Devante Cole, son of former player Andy Cole, was their size and athleticism when compared to Scottish youth sides. When the home side created and missed two chances in the opening two minutes it looked like I could be witnessing a total mismatch.

The Spanish duo Jose Tasende and Jose Angel Pozo combined on the left and from the latter’s low cross Devante Cole blazed over from inside the six yard box. Sixty seconds later a reverse pass from Devante Cole sent Kean Bryan clear on the right side of the penalty area but he dragged his shot across goal and wide of the far post.

After that initial burst the Czech side settled into the game and seventeen minutes had passed before City seriously threatened again, this time it was a solo run from Jose Angel Pozo cutting in from the left and forcing  a save from Josef Jurasi low to his right. The opening goal came less than five minutes later, Jose Angel Pozo sent Kean Bryan clear on the left and this time Devante Cole made no mistake when the pass came across goal.

The Czech side almost levelled immediately, Ondrej Rumi won possession at the edge of the City box and passed to the unmarked Vitezslav Hrdlicka, he seemed to fluff his shot but it wrong footed Billy O’Brien who only just manged to block with his leg and the ball was cleared for a corner. Ondrej Rumi took the corner from the right and Denis Brozik rose to head narrowly over. The home side capitalised by increasing their lead a couple of minutes later. It started on the right with Sinan Bytyqi and the ball was moved across the eighteen yard line via Seko Fofana to Devante Cole who shot past the static Josef Jurasi from the edge of the area.

Just after the half hour Jose Angel Pozo showed good skill on the left and when his cross was missed by Josef Jurasi the Plzen defence scrambled clear before a City player could capitalise.

Half-Time:- Manchester City 2 Viktoria Plsen 0

It was the visitor’s who had the first real chance of the second half ten minutes in, Vitezslav Hrdlicka cutting in from the right before going for goal and forcing Billy O’Brien diving high to his left to turn the ball for a corner. The game the entered a period with little goalmouth action, with Plzen happy to sit in and the home side lacking the flair and creativity to break them down.

The game was entering the final fifteen minutes when George Glendon sent Sinan Bytyqi clear on the right, the Austrian winger continued into the box before shooting across goal and wide of the far post. A few minutes later Sinan Bytyqi sent Thierry Ambrose down the right and made a run to receive the return pass inside the box but his shot was wide of the near post.

The scoring was completed with ten minutes remaining, City moved the ball across the middle of the park from left to Sinan Bytyqi on the right and Jose Angel Pozo’s flick on the winger’s low cross diverted the ball past Josef Jurasi.

I have to say I was a bit disappointed in the City side, I was expecting more from a team assembled at no small cost from across Europe. As I said they were a big strong side and were far better than their opponents, but felt they lacked a bit of creativity and guile. There was no Tom Walsh, Paul McMullan or Ryan Gauld, their most technically gifted player on the day looked to be Jose Angel Pozo, who was signed from Real Madrid. He was willing to take players on, although his runs tended to end with him hitting the turf prematurely as he looked for a penalty.

City’s other top performer’s on the day were Devante Cole for his two goals, although he wasn’t too involved in general play, he does seem to be an out-and-out goal scorer. George Glendon who played just in front defence moved the ball quickly and kept the play moving, although it wasn’t the most difficult job when the opposition is a fair bit inferior.

For the Czech side midfielder Daniel Bocek caught the eye the most. With Ondrej Rumi doing his best to support the lone striker from his role on the left. That lone striker’s role was taken on by Vitezslav Hrdlicka and he may have notched a goal with one of his two chances.

City are joint top of the group on ten points along side  CSKA Moscow with Bayern Munich a point behind, a draw in their final game in Germany would take them through to the knockout stages, which shouldn’t be beyond then as they won their home game against Bayern 6-0. I think the top Scottish youth teams could look to a game against city with confidence, although the squads have changed Celtic won both games against them in the Next Gen Series two years ago. I would put the Plzen side as a similar standard to bottom half of the Scottish youth league.

Manchester City:- Billy O’Brien; Pablo Maffeo, Shay Facey, Jason Denayer, Jose Tasende; Seko Fofana (Mathias Bossaerts 59mins), George Glendon, Kean Bryan; Sinan Bytyqi (Brandon Barker 82mins), Devante Cole (Thierry Ambrose 59mins), Jose Angel Pozo.

Not Used:- Charlie Albinson (Gk), James Horsfield, Ashley Smith-Brown, Jorge Intima.

Viktoria Plzen:- Josef Jurasi; Jurij Medvedev, Jirl Piroch, Denis Brozik, Dominik Lesek; Daniel Bocek (Martin Polom 88mins), Adam Kral (Milan Ungr 63mins) , Jakub Dolezal;Tomas Glazer (Daniel Sys 70mins), Vitezslav Hrdlicka, Ondrej Rumi.

Not Used:- Marek Spiroch (Gk), Patrik Denk, Lukas Provod, Vaclav Kule.

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Under 20’s Win At Firhill

November 26, 2013

Partick Thistle 0 Rangers 3

Rangers Under 20’s with the assistance of a few experienced players continued from where they left off on Sunday with a comfortable win at Firhill tonight. Although it was the home side that had the first chance on ten minutes, Declan McDade had the ball on the right and passed inside to Simon Colina who lobbed the ball over the Rangers defence for John Baird, Steve Simonsen stood tall to beat his volley away.

Rangers first worthwhile attack came six minutes later when Barrie McKay cut in from the right but his shot failed to trouble Scott Basalaj as the ball drifted wide of his right hand post. Thistle were back on the attack two minutes later, Ross Meechan’s cross from the right was dangerous and when Craig Halkett headed clear the ball fell for Dale Keenan on the left side of the box and he forced another save from Steve Simonsen.

On twenty-four minutes Danny Stoney broke down the right, his cross found its way to Dean Shiels on the left side of the area, he stepped inside a defender and forced a save from Scott Basalaj who dived to his left to parry. Just after the half hour Ryan Sinnamon  attacked on the left, passed inside to Dean Shiels who moved it on the Barrie McKay on the right side of the box and his shot was deflected wide.

Six minutes before the break Rangers had to make a change when Kyle Hutton sustained what looks like a serious injury and was stretchered off to be replaced by Dylan Dykes. Deep into injury time Mark Kerr lobbed the ball back into the box where Liam Lindsay headed across goal, Thistle almost had a chance when Steve Simonsen and Kris Gibson hesitated, but the Rangers defender recovered to clear for a corner. Liam Lindsay got his head to the resultant corner which Steve Simonsen gathered on the line.

Half-Time:- Partick Thistle 0 Rangers 0

Rangers got the perfect  start to the second half taking the lead in the opening minute, David Templeton’s pass sent Barrie McKay through and he continued into the box to shoot past Scott Basalaj. Just after the hour mark it took a superb Steve Simonsen save to keep Rangers lead intact, Declan McDaid created the chance of the right, his pass found John Baird on the edge of the six yard box, after a superb turn gave him the space for a shot but he was denied at close range by the Rangers keeper.

Midway through the half Rangers increased their lead, Tom Walsh’s shot from a free-kick just outside the right side of the box was blocked, but the ball fell kindly for Dylan Dykes to net from close range. Two minutes later Callum Gallagher broke on the left and laid the ball back to Ryan Sinnamon who switched played to Tom Walsh on the right, he passed inside for David Templeton who shot over.

As the game entered the final fifteen minutes Dean Shiels corner from the right eventually broke for Luca Gasparotto who hooked goalwards but the ball was cleared from the line. A couple of minutes later Rangers made the points safe, Callum Gallagher beat Scott Basalaj in a race for a ball on the left side of the box, as he nudged the ball past the keeper he was impeded and he stepped  up to send the keeper the wrong way from the spot.

The final chance came when David Templeton passed the ball in from the left for Dylan Dykes to drive at goal but the shot was too straight and Scott Basalaj saved.

Full-Time:- Partick Thistle 0 Rangers 3

Partick Thistle:- Scott Basalaj; Ross Meechan, Darren Brownlie, Liam Lindsay, Dale Keenan; Declan McDaid, Gary Fraser, Mark Kerr (David Wilson 62mins), Jordan Leyden; Simon Colina (James Martin HT); John Baird (Lee Gallagher 62mins)

Not Used:- Marc Watters (Gk), James Hamilton.

Rangers:- Steve Simonsen; Craig Halkett, Kris Gibson, Luca Gasparotto, Ryan Sinnamon; Barrie McKay (Tom Walsh 53mins), Andy Murdoch, Kyle Hutton (Dylan Dykes 39mins), David Templeton; Dean Shiels; Danny Stoney (Callum Gallagher 61mins)

Not Used:- Liam Kelly (Gk), Darren Ramsay, Jamie Mills, Greg Pascazio.

20’s Hit Five Past Hibs

November 24, 2013

Rangers 5 Hibernian 1

Rangers Under 20’s produced their best performance of the season to cruise past Hibernian in today’s SFA Youth Cup 4th Round tie at Ibrox this afternoon. Hibernian has started the brighter but it was Rangers who took the lead with the first serious attempt at goal, Tom Walsh played a corner on the left to Barrie McKay on the left hand angle of the box, he moved the ball inside for Charlie Telfer to shoot high past Dougie Horne.

Less than five minutes later the goalscorer left the action injured and was replaced by Darren Ramsay. Midway through the half Callum Crane had a pop from distance that had Liam Kelly stretching to touch the ball onto the bar and over. Ten minutes later Rangers doubled their lead with another superb goal, Dylan Dykes played the ball up Callum Gallagher at the edge of the box and when he laid it back into the path of Barrie McKay his shot again left Dougie Horne helpless as it flew past him into the net.

The visitor’s had a great chance to get back into the game five minutes before the break, when Sam Stanton sent the ball towards the right side of the Rangers box Ryan Sinnamon was hesitant which allowed Euan Smith to get towards the byline and when his cross came into the box David Paul looked certain to score but Liam Kelly blocked his close-range effort.

Rangers replied with a Barrie McKay pass sending Callum Gallagher through the inside right channel but the striker’s shot was wide of the near post. Right on the half-time whistle Rangers increased their lead from the penalty spot, Darren Ramsay broke forward  from halfway before finding Tom Walsh breaking into the left side of the box, as he steadied himself to shoot Andrew Black brought him down from behind, Dylan Dykes stepped up to net confidently from the spot.

Half-Time:- Rangers 3 Hibernian 0

Any thoughts the visitor’s had of a comeback were dashed after only two minutes of the restart, Tom Walsh was the creator  on the left and when his cross came in Callum Gallagher was well placed to head past Dougie Horne. Rangers were now playing with confidence and Barrie McKay showed some neat skill before sending Callum Gallagher down the right, Darren Ramsay got his head to his cross with Dougie Horne saving low to his right.

The Hibernian keeper was soon called into action again, getting down to his left to turn Tom Walsh’s effort from the left side of the box wide of his left hand post. As the hour mark approached David Paul broke forward but his shot from the edge of the box gave Liam Kelly little trouble.

Neat footwork from Tom Walsh on the left took him past two defenders and a back heel fed Callum Gallagher who turned a defender and forced a save from Dougie Horne from a narrow angle. At the other end when a free-kick was cleared from Rangers box Callum Crane’s thirty yarder was just too high.

As the game entered the final quarter of an hour Sam Stanton’s thirty yard free-kick saw Liam Kelly save high to his left and from the rebound Jason Cummings fired high over from a tight angle. The visitor’s managed to grab a consolation goal with six minutes remaining, substitutes Jay Doyle and Max Todd combined on the left and when the latter’s cross came into the box David Paul headed past Liam Kelly.

There was still time for Rangers to restore their four goal advantage, Jamie Mills progressed to the byline on the left, his cut back found Tom Walsh who’s effort was blocked but it rebounded to Danny Stoney who took his time and picked his spot to place the ball past Dougie Horne.

Full-Time:- Rangers 5 Hibernian 1

Rangers:- Liam Kelly; Craig Halkett, Kris Gibson, Luca Gasparotto, Ryan Sinnamon; Barrie McKay, Charlie Telfer (Darren Ramsay 19mins), Andy Murdoch, Tom Walsh; Dylan Dykes (Danny Stoney 68mins); Callum Gallagher (Jamie Mills 83mins)

Not Used:- Robbie McCrorie(Gk), Greg Pascazio.

Hibernian:- Dougie Horne, Andrew Black, Bob Wilson, Tom Gardiner, Callum Crane (Ryan Baptie 77mins); Euan Smith, Jordan Sinclair (Jay Doyle HT), Sam Stanton, Jamie Beaton (Max Todd 59mins); David Paul; Jason Cummings.
 
Not Used:- Kleton Pentreau (Gk), Aaron Dunsmore.

All Square In Glasgow Cup

November 21, 2013

Rangers 1 Queen’s Park 1

Rangers Under 17’s dropped two home points against Queen’s Park at a cold Murray Park tonight. Rangers created the first chance on eight minutes, Ross Lyon’s pass sent Junior Ogen through and he was denied when the Queen’s keeper advanced from his line to divert his shot for a corner. Just before the quarter-hour mark Junior Ogen was through again, this time from a Josh Jeffries pass and again the keeper came rushing from his goal to block.

A few minutes before the half-hour Rangers took the lead, there was little danger when Max Ashmore swung in a cross from the left but a mix up between keeper and defender saw the centre-back head the ball up into the air and Junior Ogen out jumped both to not the ball into the empty net. The visitor’s had carried little threat and the half had entered the final ten minutes when Robbie McCrorie held a speculative effort under his crossbar.

Three minutes before the break Max Ashmore nutmegged a defender as he broke into the left side of the penalty and his shot forced the keeper to dive high to his left to turn the ball wide. In the final minute the keeper failed to gather Max Ashmore’s corner from the right but he recovered to tip David Brownlie’s shot over the bar.

Half-Time:- Rangers 1 Queen’s Park 0

In the opening minute of the second half Ross Lyon progressed on the right and when his cross was cleared to the edge of the box Kyle Clark volleyed just over. The next significant attack came down the left with Junior Ogen getting his head to Ross McCrorie’s cross and the keeper clawed the ball away from under his crossbar.

The visitor’s created a chance on fifty-five when they moved the ball along the edge of the Rangers box and when the shot came in from the left side of the area Robbie McCrorie dived to his left to save. Ten minutes later another attack began down the left and when the ball found its way to the back post Robbie McCrorie was forced to make another save to his left.

The visitors equalised on seventy-four minutes, play was switched from right to the left hand edge of the box where the player broke into the box and shot across Robbie McCrorie and into the net. Almost straight from kick-off Scot Whiteside sent Junior Ogen through the inside right channel but he was thwarted when the keeper advanced from his line to block. Rangers had one final chance to snatch a win with two minutes remaining, Josh Jeffries hit the byline on the right from his cutback Junior Ogen’s shot was blocked, from the rebound Kyle Clark’s shot was also blocked and the danger was cleared.

Full-Time:- Rangers 1 Queen’s Park 1

Rangers:- Robbie McCrorie; Jordan Hammill, Scot Whiteside, David Brownlie, Ross McCrorie; Ross Lyon (Chris McDonald 48mins), Michael Mossie, Josh Jeffries, Max Ashmore (Lewis White 64mins); Kyle Clark; Junior Ogen

Not Used:- Kieran Wright (Gk), Liam Burt, Jamie Barjonas.

 

               
Celtic 5 4 1 0 18 3 15 13
Queen’s Park 4 2 2 0 10 6 4 8
Partick Th 5 2 0 3 8 20 -12 6
Rangers 3 1 1 1 9 5 4 4
Clyde 5 0 0 5 10 26 -16 0

Under 20’s Draw Again

November 19, 2013

Rangers 2 St.Johnstone 2

A spirited final ten minutes almost produced an unlikely win in a game where Rangers were generally second best for the previous eighty minutes. It was an experienced Rangers lineup compared to their last fixture, but arguably the three best players on the night were the three substitutes.

Rangers fell behind in the opening minute, Chris Kane’s shot from the right side of the penalty area broke kindly for Dwayne Coultress who out muscled Kris Gibson to prod the ball past Steve Simonsen. Rangers were struggling to take the game to their opponents while St.Johnstone enjoying the bulk of possession were not converting that into chances.

There was almost half an hour gone when Dwayne Coultress exchanged passes with Chris Kane before shooting just wide of Steve Simonsen’s right hand post. Against the run of play eight minutes before the break Rangers equalised with a superb goal from their first serious attack. Ryan Sinnamon cut in from the left and teed up Robbie Crawford who gave keeper Mark Hurst no chance with his shot from the left hand angle of the box.

Half-Time:- Rangers 1 St.Johnstone 1

Just over ten minutes into the second period Dylan Easton tested Steve Simonsen from the left hand angle of the box with the Rangers keeper saving low to his right. The Rangers keeper didn’t have his finest moment just after the hour, Keiran Stewart switched play from the right to find Dylan Easton on the left side of the box, a good first touch setup the chance for a shot on goal that appeared to squirm through Steve Simonsen’s legs before crossing the line.

As the final fifteen minutes approached Rangers exerted a bit of pressure on the Saints defence and Tom Walsh was unlucky when his shot from the left side of the penalty area was deflected wide of the right hand post. The visitors went straight to the other end and when Steve Simonsen elected to punch Liam Caddis’s right-wing cross the ball went straight to Kieran Stewart but the Rangers keeper reacted to blocked the midfielder’s shot with his legs.

With nine minutes remaining Rangers equalised from the spot, a free-kick from halfway close to the right touchline was sent towards the penalty area where Fraser Aird’s touch found Andy Murdoch breaking into the box and he was clearly pulled back by a Saints defender and the referee pointed to the spot, Fraser Aird stepped up to send Mark Hurst the wrong way from twelve yards. As the clock ticked past the eighty-fifth minute Kyle Hutton sent in a cross from the left that was cleared to the edge of the box from where Robbie Crawford’s effort was deflected wide of the right hand post.

As the final whistle neared there was action at both ends, Ryan Sinnamon played the ball up to Callum Gallagher and a good turn took him clear inside the box, but his shot was weak and Mark Hurst saved comfortably. Andy Murdoch then broke from his own half before passing to Callum Gallagher on the right, from the return pass Mark Hurst stretched to tip Andy Murdoch’s shot over.

The final chance came at the other end, Dwayne Coultress free-kick from midway inside Rangers half, wide of the right found Keiran Stewart at the back post with Steve Simmonsen managing to keep his close range header out.

Full-Time:- Rangers 2 St.Johnstone 2

Rangers:- Steve Simonsen; Craig Halkett, Kris Gibson, Luca Gasparotto, Ryan Sinnamon; Barry McKay (Andy Murdoch 51mins), Kyle Hutton, Charlie Telfer (Tom Walsh 61mins), Fraser Aird; Robbie Crawford; Dean Shiels (Callum Gallagher 64mins).

Not Used:- Liam Kelly (Gk), Dylan Dykes, Darren Ramsay, Danny Stoney.

St.Johnstone:- Mark Hurst; Scott Gray, Sannel Jahil, Fraser Wright, Andrew Steeves; Liam Caddis, Keiran Stewart, Scott Brown, Dylan Easton; Dwayne Coultress; Chris Kane.

Not Used:- Kenny Giles (Gk), Scott Stevenson, Scott Taylor-McKenzie, Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson, Robbie Norrie, Alex Gilchrist, Alex Kitchen.

Accies Double Header

November 17, 2013

With both the Under 15’s and Under 17’s games postponed this weekend’s youth football fix was provided by younger team’s double-header against Hamilton Accies at New Douglas Park, this started with the Under 13’s game in the morning.

Hamilton Accies 0 Rangers 6

The Rangers youngsters took an early lead when Andy Rodden advanced on the left and his cross was headed past the keeper by Niyah Joseph. The home side tried to reply with a good run along the left hand byline and the shot from a narrow angle forced a save from Nicky Hogarth low to his left.

Rangers doubled their lead on seventeen minutes, Mark Leonard found Danny Finlayson breaking forward on the left, his cross broke kindly for Andy Rodden inside the box, his effort was blocked but Niyah Joseph was on hand to net from close range. Seven minutes into the second period saw Rangers increase their lead, Kieran McKechnie cut in from the right before beating the keeper with his shot from the right hand angle of the box.

Five minutes later Rangers scored a superb fourth, a short corner on the left was worked to Mark Leonard just outside the box, he found Dylan Patterson on the left side on the penalty area and he found the net with a sublime chip over the keeper. Niyah Joseph then turned creator, his pass finding Nathan Patterson breaking into the box on the right to force the Accies keeper to save to his left at the expense of a corner.

Hamilton threatened with an attack through the inside right channel deep into Rangers box with Nicky Hogarth saving low to his left. With two minutes of the period remaining Rangers grabbed a fifth, Ben Williamson fed Nathan Patterson on the right and his pass into the box found Niyah Joseph on hand to shoot past the keeper and record his hat-trick.

Just before the turn around in the final period Dylan Patterson scored his second superb goal of the game, Harry Cochrane passed to him on the right side of the box, he went passed two defenders before placing a shot beyond the keeper and into the far corner. Right and the end he came close to being the second Rangers player to grab a hat-trick, Aiden Gibb’s cross from midway inside the Accies half on the left saw Dylan Patterson’s header touched wide of the right hand post.

Full-Time:- Hamilton Accies 0 Rangers 6

Rangers Squad:- Nicky Hogarth (Gk), Nathan Patterson, Andy Rodden, Aidan Gibb, Danny Finalayson, Lewis McGrattan, Kieran McKechnie, Billy Gilmour, Niyah Joseph, Dylan Patterson, Mark Leonard, Harry Cochrane, Rhuaridh McIntyre, Kyle Ewing, Ben Williamson, Zak Butterworth.

Hamilton Accies 2 Rangers 2

A quick trip to then bookies and back in time for the Under 14’s kick-off and 12:30. Hamilton Accies took the lead on fifteen minutes, the striker broke down the left deep into the box, Lewis Muir blocked his shot but when the Rangers defence eventually forced the ball out of their penalty box the Accies midfielder sent a superb shot into the top corner. Rangers missed a great opportunity to equalise a couple of minutes later, Mati Zattafarra sent Zak Rudden through on goal but his was denied by the keeper advancing from his goal to block with his legs.

A couple of minutes before the end of the first period the home side doubled their lead, their No. 10 won possession on the right before advancing into the box and giving Lewis Muir no chance with a shot into the top corner. Rangers eventually got the upper hand in the second half of the second period pinning the home side back in their own half, Scott Gray and Aaron Reid combined on the left and when the latter’s cross found Stephen Kelly at the back post he was denied by the keeper diving to his right to save.

With ten minutes of the period remaining a superb Jack Thomson pass sent Zak Rudden clear and he was again foiled by the Accies keeper blocking with his legs. The next chance came when Jack Pow won the ball on the right before crossing for Zak Rudden to head narrowly over.

In the final minute of the period Lewis Mayo’s long pass found Zak Rudden on the right, the Rangers striker flicked the ball over a defender before crossing for Mati Zattafarra to volley for goal but the home keeper was well placed to make a fine save. Rangers eventually made the break through four minutes into the final period, Michael Hewitt’s throw in found its way to Jack Thomson via Jack Pow and his shot from the right side of the penalty area was across the keeper and into the far top corner.

The home side relieved a bit of pressure and tested Darren Montgomery with a long-range effort that the Rangers keeper stretched to hold under his bar. Just after the turn around Accies came every close to increasing their lead, the attack came down the right and when their striker prodded the ball past Darren Montgomery a goal looked likely until Michael Hewitt got back and his clearance rebounded off the left hand post and clear.

Rangers took heart from that and when Aaron Reid played the ball up to Zak Rudden his flick on released Mati Zattafarra inside the box but he delayed his shot and the Accies defender got in a challenge to clear for a corner. With five minutes remaining Rangers drew level , Matthew Shiels got on the end of Michael Hewitt’s cross from midway inside the Accies half to head past the keeper.

Rangers came close to grabbing a winner, Jack Thomson’s corner  was deep beyond the far post to find Lewis Mayo arriving late to volley for goal with the Accies defender clearing from the goal line.

Full-Time:- Hamilton Accies 2 Rangers 2

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

Footnote:- A Rangers Under 16’s side recorded a 4-2 win over Dumabarton on Friday night with goals from Kyle Clark (2), Grant Nelson & Max Ashmore.

Development Teams Round-Up

November 10, 2013

Queen’s Park 2 Rangers 13

This week’s opponents for the development teams were Queen’s Park and the fixtures meant I could take in the Under 13’s game at Toryglen before heading to Ibrox on Saturday. It was an impressive display from the Rangers youngsters and their passing was the key to recording a comfortable win.

Rangers hit their opponents early and were soon three goals ahead in barely five minutes. The first goal came when Kieran McKechnie intercepted a clearance and headed towards the byline on the right and his cutback was converted by Niyah Joeseph. Dylan Patterson then fed Mark Leonard on the left and his cross produced a similar finish from Niyah Joseph inside the box.

Mark Leonard then sent a pass over the top of the defence to put Andy Rodden in the clear with the Queen’s defence claiming offside the Rangers full-back finished with a fine lob over the keeper. Andy Rodden then hit the byline on the left and when his cross was cleared to the penalty spot Dylan Patterson looked likely to score but the keeper blocked with his legs.

Rangers soon found the net again, Billy Gilmour passed to Kieran McKechnie on the right and when he attacked the penalty area the ball broke back to Billy Gilmour who ‘s superb shot found the top far corner. Kieran McKechnie and Mark Leonard then worked a short corner on the left, the ball was laid back to Andy Rodden and his cross was headed just wide by Danny Finlayson.

Danny Finlayson then started the move that led to the fifth goal with a long pass out to Kieran McKechnie on the right, the keeper parried his shot but only into the path of Niyah Joseph who had a simple tap in. The home side had a chance to reduce the deficit with an attack through the middle, but Reece Murdoch was quick from his line to block and Nathan Patterson got back to block the shot from the rebound and clear.

The Rangers keeper was again called into action at the start of the second period, the attack came down the right and when the ball was played into the box Reece Murdoch blocked the shot with his legs. Rangers responded by scoring again, created on the left by Mark Leonard and executed in the middle by Niyah Joseph.

Queen’s then scored a goal their application and commitment deserved, a mixup in the Rangers defence allowed the opportunity which was duly taken. Rangers were soon back on attack and Kieran McKechnie attacked on the right, Nathan Patterson challenged at the near post for his cross and the ball broke for Mark Leonard to fire into the net.

The home side responded and grabbed a second goal with a superb finish, the attack was down the right and the shot from the right hand angle of the box gave Reece Murdoch no chance. Rangers next goal came when Kieran McKechnie sent a free-kick into the box from the right, the ball was missed by everyone and nestled in the corner of the net.

The Queen’s keeper was soon beaten again, this time  it was a Harry Cochrane shot from just outside the penalty area. The next goal was created by Ben Williams with his pass into the box converted by Kieran McKechnie. 

Mark Leonard then capitalised on a poor clearance to send Ben Williamson through to shoot past the keeper. The final two  goals came in the closing minutes, the first from an Aiden Gibb shot from the right side of the box. Kyle Ewing the created the final goal from the right, passing inside to Kieran McKechnie who’s shot was deflected past the keeper.

Full-Time:- Queen’s Park 2 Rangers 13

Rangers Squad:- Reece Murdoch (Gk), Nicky Hogarth (Gk), Nathan Patterson, Andy Rodden, Aiden Gibb, Danny Finlayson, Lewis McGrattan, Kieran McKechnie, Billy Gilmour, Niyah Joseph, Dylan Patterson, Mark Leonard, Harry Cochrane, Rhuaridh McIntyre, Kyle Ewing, Ben Williamson, Zak Butterworth.

Footnote:- Following on from this game Rangers Under 14’s recorded a 10-0 win over their Queen’s Park counterparts.

Rangers 5 Queen’s Park 1

Sunday morning and the venue was Murray Park where the Under 15’s and Under 17’s sides from the clubs were scheduled to meet, as is the norm I take in the older age group. It was a comfortable win for Rangers with Junior Ogen again proving an effective make shift striker, grabbing a hat-trick.

Rangers had a chance straight from the kick off when Josh Jeffries broke into the left side of the penalty area with the Queen’s Park keeper diverting his shot for a corner with his legs. The visitors cleared that corner behind and from the second corner Rangers almost took the lead, Lewis White’s corner from the right broke for Junior Ogen but his effort from close range was wide of the keeper’s left hand post.

Another corner was the source of Rangers opener after five minutes, again it was from the right, this time the delivery was from Max Ashmore and the ball fell for Ross McCrorie to fire into to the net from around six yards. Queen’s replied with a long-range effort that Robbie McCrorie held under his crossbar.

On ten minutes Rangers and Ross McCorie doubled their tally, having been forward for a previous set play he was found by Jordan Hammill’s cross from the right and took a touch before shooting past the keeper. Two minutes later Rangers lead was reduced when Queen’s attacked on the right and a pass released their striker through the middle to run on to shoot past Robbie McCrorie.

A free-kick just outside the right side of Rangers box and ten yards from the byline went through a crowd of players and forced Robbie McCrorie to save at his near post. As the half approached the final ten minutes Ross Lyon was just to high with a free-kick from just outside the penalty area. On the stroke of half-time a neat turn and shot on the edge of the box forced Robbie McCrorie to tip over.

Half-Time:- Rangers 2 Queen’s Park 1

The Spiders were first to threaten after the break, when David Brownlie headed out a cross from the right Robbie McCrorie was forced to save low to his right. Just before the hour Kyle Clark and Josh Jeffries combined to send the latter to the byline on the left, Junior Ogen challenged for his cross, the ball beat the keeper but a defender got back to clear from the line.

Rangers third goal was only delayed sixty seconds and when Ross Lyon passed to Jordan Hammill on the right hand angle of the box a superb touch took him clear of the defender and a roll across the penalty box gave Junior Ogen a simple tap in. Midway through the half a mishit Josh Jeffries corner from the right almost produced another goal, the ball found its way to Jordan Hamill and his shot through a crowded penalty area was blocked by the keeper’s legs.

Rangers scored a fourth with six minutes remaining, Ross Lyon passed to Junior Ogen on the right side of the penalty area and his shot found the far corner of the net. The final goal came three minutes later, good work down the left from Kyle Clark saw him leave a defender in his wake before his pass sent a suspiciously offside Junior Ogen  clear and he lobbed the ball over the advancing keeper and into the net.

Full-Time:- Rangers 5 Queen’s Park 1

Rangers Squad:- Robbie McCrorie, Jordan Hammill, Sam Liddington, David Brownlie, Ross McCrorie, Michael Mossie, Ross Lyon, Max Ashmore, Junior Ogen, Josh Jeffries, Lewis White, Kyle Clark, Chris McDonald

Footnote:- On the adjacent newly laid astroturf pitch Rangers U15’s lost 3-2 with Rangers goals coming from Jason Krones and a Jamie Barjonas penalty.

Under 20’s Grab Late Point

November 5, 2013

Rangers 2 Inverness CT 2

A goal three minutes from time from substitute Callum Gallagher secured a point for Rangers Under 20’s at The Bet Butler Stadium this afternoon. It was a young Rangers starting lineup, with no over age players and only Barrie McKay above Under 19’s. There was another notable thing about Rangers starting lineup,  there wasn’t one naturally left footed player in the side.

Rangers were first to threaten after five minutes when Tom Walsh tried a low shot from around twenty-five yards that had Ryan Esson diving to his right to turn the ball wide. Two minutes later the visitors took the lead, when Adam Evans sent a low cross in from the right Kris Gibson’s fresh air swipe wrong footed Liam Kelly and the ball found the far corner of the net.

Inverness threatened again when Joe Gorman sent a long ball out to Adam Evans on the right before he passed inside to his midfield colleague who shot just wide of Liam Kelly’s right hand post. Just after the quarter-hour mark Rangers equalised. Barrie McKay attacked the full-back on the right before cutting inside and passing to Danny Stoney who gave Ryan Esson no chance from around ten yards.

Midway through the half Craig Halkett got his head to a Barrie McKay corner from the right with Ryan Esson saving at his right hand post. Jus before the half-hour only a brilliant Liam Kelly save kept Rangers level, Ben Greenhalgh attacked on the left, his pass into the box was laid back by the striker for the onrushing midfielder to striker at goal and he was denied by Liam Kelly who got down to his right to produce a one-handed save.

Rangers replied down their left when Ryan Sinnamon broke forward, he passed inside to Tom Walsh who in turn found Danny Stoney who progressed along the eighteen yard line before forcing a save from Ryan Esson low to his right. The keeper was in action again as the half approached the final five minutes, rising to tip a long-range Charlie Telfer effort over.

The visitors replied by going up the other end and taking the lead, a long ball found their striker on the left, his pass inside found Liam Polworth with space and time to shoot past Liam Kelly from the edge of the box.

Half-Time:- Rangers 1 Inverness CT 2

The first real chance after the break came after fifteen minutes, Craig Halkett’s header from Barrie McKay’s corner looked bound for the net until Conor Pepper cleared from the line. Rangers were dominating but clear-cut chances were few with any shots on goal inevitably finding a block from an Inverness defender.

A the game approached the final ten minutes Tom Walsh sent a free-kick from just inside the Caley half into the box and when it was headed out Barrie McKay’s shot was just too high. With time running out Barrie McKay sent in a corner from the right that setup a series of head tennis in the Caley box before the ball fell for Callum Gallagher to force a close range overhead kick over the line.

Full-Time:- Rangers 2 Inverness CT 2

Rangers:- Liam Kelly; Craig Halkett, Greg Pascazio, Kris Gibson, Ryan Sinnamon; Barrie McKay, Charlie Telfer, Andy Murdoch, Tom Walsh; Dylan Dykes (Darren Ramsay 67mins); Danny Stoney (Callum Gallagher 71mins).

Not Used;- Robbie McCrorie (Gk), Jamie Mills.

17’s Return To Winning Ways

November 3, 2013

Rangers 5 Forth Valley 0

Rangers U17’s who were without a win in their last seven Development League games got back to winning ways with a comfortable win over Forth Valley at Murray Park this morning. With the squad’s only recognised striker, Ryan Hardie still out, Juinor Ogen lined up in the striker’s role as a make shift replacement and he was to have a significant impact on the game.

Rangers took the lead after only four minutes, Junior Ogen broke towards the penalty area and played a one-two with Adam Wilson, his shot beat the keeper but the ball hit the left hand post and rolled along the line from where Lewis White had a simple tap in. The visitor’s replied when David Brownlie was dispossessed and the the attempted chip had Robbie McCrorie stretching to clutch above his head.

Forth Valley then attacked down the right on nine minutes and when the ball was played into the box Robbie McCrorie saved the resultant shot low to his right. On the twenty-minute mark David Brownlie rose to meet Josh Jeffries corner from the right with the keeper blocking the ball on the line with his legs.

The second goal was only delayed a couple of minutes, Michael Mossie’s pass through the centre releasing Juinor Ogen to stride into the box and shoot past the keeper. Just after the half-hour Rangers had a sequence of chances in a two minute period. Lewis White on the left passed inside to Junior Ogen and his flick setup Josh Jeffries who’s shot from the edge of the box had the keeper diving high to his left to turn the ball wide. The resultant corner was cleared to the edge of the box where Adam Wilson fired for goal with the keeper tipping over. From the next corner the keeper got down to hold Jordan Hammill’s header on the line.

Ten minutes before the break another Josh Jeffries corner saw Rangers come close, this time a defender was well placed to clear David Brownlie’s header from the goal line. Forth Valley came closed to reducing the deficit before the break, the attack came down the right and the back post header from the cross was net bound until Scot Whiteside clear from the line.

Half-Time:- Rangers 2 Forth Valley 0

The visitors had a bit more possession at the start of the second half without seriously threatening Robbie McCrorie’s goal and there was almost half-an-hour gone before there was a clear cut chance. It came with a Jordan Hammill attack down the right but when his cross came in Junior Ogen failed to connect cleanly and the keeper saved comfortably. The next chance was again fashioned on the right, this time Chris McDonald was the creator and when he passed to Josh Jeffries on the right side of the box the keeper saved low to his right.

As the game approached the final ten minutes Rangers added to their tally, Kyle Clark and Max Ashmore combined to release Josh Jeffries on the left side of the penalty area and he rolled the ball across the six-yard box to present Chris McDonald with a simple tap in. The fourth goal came when Sam Liddington hit the left hand byline, Chris McDonald got a touch on his cross which setup Josh Jeffries to net from eight yards.

The scoring was completed in the final minute when Sam Liddington’s pass into the box from the left found Junior Ogen in space to shoot past the keeper.

Full-Time:- Rangers 5 Forth Valley 0

Rangers:- Robbie McCrorie (Triailist 77mins); Jordan Hammill, Scot Whiteside, David Brownlie (Trialist 77mins), Ross McCrorie (Sam Liddington 52mins); Ross Lyon (Chris McDonald 62mins), Michael Mossie (Kyle Clark 62mins), Adam Wilson, Lewis White (Max Ashmore 62mins); Josh Jeffries; Junior Ogen.
 
Footnote:- On an adjacent pitch Rangers U15’s recorded a 2-0 win over Forth Valley with both goals coming from Jamie Barjonas.