Rangers 2 Celtic 5
Rangers Under 20’s were pretty much second best in last night’s Youth Cup Final at Hampden. They struggled to cope with Celtic’s attacking three and defended poorly for the first three goals that effectively killed the tie.
Yet Rangers were first to have a serious effort on goal on eight minutes, Fraser Aird winning possession midway inside the Celtic half before passing to Darren Ramsay who shot narrowly over from around twenty-five yards. Ten minutes later Kevin Mbabu got on the end of a Darren Ramsay corner from the left but his header went high over the bar.
Within two minutes Celtic took the lead, Kieran Tierney’s corner from the right was deep towards the back post and when it dropped over the heads of the players in the centre and cannoned off the legs of Luca Gasparotto towards goal where Sam Wardrop forced the ball over the line from close range. Rangers were behind for less than a minute, when Jamie Mills ball into the box eluded Ryan Hardie there seemed little danger but a lack of communication between Calum Waters and keeper Jordan Hart saw the full-back nod the ball past his own keeper for an Own Goal.
Just over a further five minutes had passed when Rangers fell behind again, Aidan Nesbitt attacked the right side of Rangers box and although Ross McCrorie and Jamie Mills had doubled up on him he tricked his way past the two defenders before shooting across Liam Kelly and into the far corner. Rangers tried to respond just after the half hour, Ryan Hardie laying the ball back to Ryan Sinnamon on the right and his cross to the back post was volleyed narrowly wide of the far post by Jamie Mills.
Celtic then capitalised on that missed chance by increasing their lead within a couple of minutes, Aidan Nesbitt crossed from the byline on the right and Luke Donnelly had time to bring the ball down turn past his marker and poke the ball past Liam Kelly. A couple of minutes before the break slackness in the Celtic defence gave Rangers a shooting opportunity. Eoghan O’Connell’s pass across his own goal twenty-five yards out was picked up by Darren Ramsay but his shot was too straight and Jordan Hart saved comfortably.
Half-Time:- Rangers 1 Celtic 3
With Celtic content to sit on their lead and Rangers unable to make any in roads as an attacking force the game went through a flat period and there was an hour gone when Luke Donnelly passed inside from the left for Paul McMullen to turn on the edge of the box before shooting narrowly past Liam Kelly’s right hand post. With the game entering the final twenty minutes Celtic scored again, the ball was played in from the left, dummied by Paul McMullen and picked up by Luke Donnelly who found Aidan Nesbitt in space inside the right side of the box where he took a touch before shooting past Liam Kelly.
It was to get worse for Rangers two minutes later, a pass back put Craig Halkett under pressure and he caught Kieran Tierney on the right hand angle of the box which the referee judged to be inside the box and awarded a penalty with Aidan Nesbitt converting the spot-kick. Celtic threatened to score again when Luke Donnelly’s pass allowed Paul McMullen to out pace Craig Halkett through the inside left channel, his attempted chip was saved at a stretch by Liam Kelly with Craig Halkett clearing behind for a corner.
Rangers then had a chance to make the scoreline a bit more respectable with Ryan Hardie breaking into the right side of the penalty area, his effort from a tight angle being deflected behind by the legs of Jordan Hart. Rangers did get that second goal in the final minute, Tom Walsh sending Ryan Hardie to the byline on the left from where he picked out Dylan Dykes who evaded a defender before shooting past Jordan Hart.
Full-Time:- Rangers 2 Celtic 5
Rangers:- Liam Kelly; Ryan Sinnamon, Craig Halkett, Luca Gasparotto, Ross McCrorie (Dylan Dykes HT); Kevin Mbabu (Jamie Burrows HT); Tom Walsh, Fraser Aird, Jamie Mills; Darren Ramsay (Scott Roberts 71mins); Ryan Hardie.
Not Used:- Robbie McCrorie (Gk), Danny Stoney.
Celtic:- Jordan Hart; Sam Wardrop (Fiacre Kelleher 79mins), Eoghan O’Connell (Jamie McCart 90mins), Stuart Findlay, Calum Waters; Aidan Nesbitt, Jamie Lindsay, Connor McManus, Kieran Tierney (Calvin Miller 83mins); Paul McMullen, Luke Donnelly.
Not Used:- Colin McCabe (Gk), Mark Hill.