Following on from the Under 17’s win over Hibs at Ibrox on Monday night all other age groups got the opportunity to play at Ibrox over the weekend. I was able to take in all the eleven-a-side games starting with the Under 12’s game against Hibs on Saturday lunch time.
Rangers 6 Hibernian 6
An incredible high scoring draw that saw Rangers go into a 4-0 lead when Hibs introduced a trialist substitute who was physically bigger and stronger than most of Rangers 2001’s never mind this 2004 age group. The Rangers youngsters struggled to cope with his strength and pace and he looked like scoring anytime he got a run on the defence.
It was Hibs that threatened first midway through the first period and Jack McConnell had to move quickly from his line to save at the attackers feet. Rangers replied when Dire Mebude passed the ball forward to Robbie Ure, his pass inside the left-back released Makenzie Kirk who shot across goal and wide of the far post.
With eight minutes of the first period remaining Rangers took the lead, Makenzie Kirk started the move, passing the ball forward to Jack Scanlan, his pass sent Robbie Ure through to shoot past the keeper. Rangers doubled their lead in the opening minute of the second period, Dire Mebude attacked the penalty area and the ball broke for Leyton Dunlop who found the net from the left hand angle of the box.
As the midpoint of the period approached Hibs broke through the middle but the shot was wide of Gregor MacLeod’s left hand post. Rangers replied immediately when Mackenzie Strachan’s pass sent Makenzie Kirk through on the right side of the penalty area but he pulled his shot wide of the near post. Rangers scored a third barely a minute later, Kelsey Ewan passed in from his right to his brother Harley Ewan who shot over the keeper from the edge of the box.
Hibs then came close to reducing the deficit when they robbed the Rangers defence and broke into the box but the shot came off Gregor MacLeod’s left hand post. Rangers response was to score a fourth, Leyton Dunlop passing forward to Sam Lovie on the left, he went past a defender before making his way along the byline and beating the keeper from a narrow angle.
The visitors then had a period of dominance where the created a few chances, the first saw them break into the right side of the box with Gregor MacLeod saving at the striker’s feet. In their next attack which came down the left when the ball was crossed into the box it was headed past the keeper.
Hibs came forward again, this time into the right side of the box with Gregor MacLeod saving to his left. The visitors then attacked down the left and this time when the cross came in it took a great challenge from Alex King to clear the danger.
In their next attack through the middle they reduced the deficit further, as Gregor MacLeod came from his line the ball was played square to give their attacker a tap in. Rangers relieved a bit of pressure when Dire Mebude was clear through the middle and was pulled back by a defender, Darren McInally took the free-kick which the keeper saved to his right.
Before the period ended Hibs scored a third, breaking through the inside left channel and shooting past the advancing keeper. Rangers missed a great chance in the second minute of the final period, Alex King got to the byline on the left and when his cross reached Leyton Dunlop he shot over from close range.
The goal came around seven minutes later, Darren McInally’s corner from the left was headed out where Gavin Gallagher found the net from just beyond the penalty spot with a superb half volley. Within a couple of minutes Gavin Gallagher attacked the left side of the penalty area and passed inside to Robbie Ure, his shot was blocked by a defender then deflected off another before bouncing off the far post and into the keeper’s arms.
Within eight minutes remaining Rangers scored again, Alex King won possession and played Robbie Ure through on the left side of the box where he was tripped as he headed for goal, Gavin Gallagher making a great job of the spot kick.
Incredibly Hibs the created four chances in the final six minutes, scoring three goals. Their striker powered through into the right side of the penalty area before shooting past the keeper. A corner from the right was then headed past the keeper from close range.
When their striker raced clear through the middle and dragged his shot wide of the keeper’s right hand post it looked like Rangers would hold on for a win. Their was still time for one final attack and this time he outstripped the Rangers defence and found the net to square the game.
Full-Time:- Rangers 6 Hibernian 6
Rangers Squad:- Jack McConnell (Gk), Gregor MacLeod (Gk), Dire Mebude, Sam Lovie, Harley Ewan, Ryan Menzies, Alex King, Makenzie Kirk, Jack Scanlan, Robbie Ure, Gavin Gallagher, Darren McInally, Kelsey Ewan, Leyton Dunlop, Mackenzie Strachan.
Rangers 5 Partick Thistle 1
First up on Sunday morning was the Under 13’s game against Partick Thistle, the main talking points was Rangers dominance in the middle period and the eccentric referee.
Rangers had an opportunity in the opening minute, the ball was played to Alex Lowry on the right hand angle of the box and he forced a save from the keeper, diving to his right. The keeper was called into action again ten minutes later, Aaron Lyall was in possession inside the penalty area and the ball broke for Alex Lowry who was again denied by the keeper this time diving to his left.
As the midpoint of the period approached the referee awarded Thistle a bizarre penalty area, with the ball well outside the box he pointed to the spot for an alleged off the ball incident involving goalkeeper Grant Thackray and the penalty was duly converted. A couple of minutes later Alex Lowry hooked a corner from the left goalwards and the keeper dived to his left to produce a fine save.
In Rangers next attack Adam Devine crossed from the right and the Thistle keeper produced an even better save, diving to his left to claw away Alex Lowry’s header. On nineteen minutes Aaron Lyall crossed from the right and the ball broke to Reegan Aitken who’s shot beat the keeper but came back off his right hand post.
Rangers drew level two minutes later, Reegan Aitken fed Aaron Lyall on the left side of the penalty area and he played the ball across goal for Lewis Robertson to net from close range. Rangers started the second period where they left off, on the attack. Alex Lowry picked out Reegan Aitken’s run into the left side of the box, he rounded the keeper but a defender got back to clear his shot from the goal line.
Rangers took the lead five minutes into the second period, Adam Devine’s ball over the top of the Thistle defence sent Lewis Robertson clear with the keeper diverting the ball for a corner. When the corner from the left was cleared to the edge of the box Lorenzo Giovanazzi’s shot came back off the cross-bar, the ball was played back into the box and Reegan Aitken fired the ball past the keeper. A few minutes later Robbie Fraser’s pass inside the right back released Reegan Aitken who again rounded the keeper and on this occasion the ball came back off the far post.
Rangers next effort on goal came from a Leon King free-kick close to the left hand byline that the keeper saved at the near post. The keeper was called into action again on the midpoint of the period, getting down to his right to save Aaron Lyall’s shot from the edge of the box.
Rangers increased their lead five minutes later, Greg Chalmers pass inside the left-back released Matty Collins inside the right side of the box and he gave the keeper no chance as he shot across him and into the top corner. Number four followed barely sixty seconds later, Matty Collins attacked the penalty area and when the ball was cleared to the edge of the box Rhys Caves fired into the top corner.
The keeper was then tested from a Leon King effort from fully thirty yards that the keeper touched on to the bar. Leon King then turned creator sending Reegan Aitken clear on the left with the keeper saving at the near post.
The fifth goal came before the end of the period, Leon King rising to power a header past the keeper from Matty Collins’s free kick from the right. Rangers continued to dominate and twelve minutes into the final period Adam Devine sent Matty Collins clear on the right side of the penalty area, his shot beat the keeper but came back off the far post.
Just after the turn round Aaron Lyall laid the ball back into the path for Reegan Aitken who’s shot forced the keeper to save to his left hand side. The final chance was created by the visitors with an attack that took them deep into the right side of the box with Jay Hogarth blocking with his legs at the near post.
Full-Time:- Rangers 5 Partick Thistle 1
Rangers Squad:- Grant Thackray (Gk), Jay Hogarth (Gk), Adam Devine, Matthew Henderson, Rhys Caves, Lorenzo Giovanazzi, Leon King, Alex Lowry, Robbie Fraser, Aaron Lyall, Lewis Robertson, Reegan Aitken, Greg Chalmers, Matty Collins, Trialist.
Rangers 3 Partick Thistle 1
Next up was the Under 14’s game against the same opponents, with Rangers again falling behind before turning the game around and winning comfortably.
Rangers created the first chance on eleven minutes when Kai Kennedy broke forward before playing through Owen McGinty who shot wide of the keeper’s left hand post. Just after the midpoint of the period Thistle took the lead, from a free-kick just outside the box the initial effort came back of the wall but the rebound was slammed past Lewis Budinauckas.
Rangers had a chance to equalise when Ally Monro’s clearance sent Owen McGinty through on goal but he shot over. With four minutes of the period remaining Thistle broke through on the left side of Rangers penalty area with Lewis Budinauckas racing from his line to make the block.
Just before the period ended Matty Yates sent in a cross from the left and Aaron Bryson was brave and beat the keeper to it but the ball went just wide of the near post. Rangers equalised in the opening minute of the second period, from Kai Kennedy’s corner from the right Euan Deveney rose to power a header past the keeper.
Three minutes later Rangers were ahead, Owen McGinty played Aaron Bryson through the inside left channel and he continued into the penalty area to score with a cool finish. Simon Millar then sent Aaron Bryson through inside the left side of the box, the keeper saved to his right with a defender completing the clearance from the goal line.
As the midpoint of the period approached Simon Millar turned inside the box, his shot beat the keeper but rebounded from his right hand post. At the start of the final period Kai Kennedy took on the defence on the left side of the box with the keeper saving his effort at the near post.
Six minutes into the period Rangers increased their lead, Owen McGinty’s twenty-five yard free-kick beating the keeper just inside his left hand post. Simon Millar then latched on to a short pass back but he delayed his shot allowing the keeper to advance from his line to make the block.
Thistle threatened with an attack on the left hand side of the box and it took a great clearance from Kyle McLelland to prevent a goal. A superb Owen McGinty run left three defenders in his wake and he teed up Simon Millar who shot over.
The game ended with a couple of Thistle attacks, the first came with an attack on the right that left two defenders behind and the when the shot came in Jay Hogarth was forced to stretch and tip over. Right on the whistle an attack took Thistle into the right side of the penalty area and Jay Hogarth was forced to save at his near post.
Full-Time:- Rangers 3 Partick Thistle 1
Rangers Squad:- Lewis Budinauckas (Gk), Jay Hogarth (Gk), Ryan Muir, Euan Deveney, Robbie Fraser, Kyle McClelland, Ally Monro, Simon Millar, Kai Kennedy, Aaron Bryson, Owen McGinty, Matty Yates, Blair Rossiter, Trialist No.14, Trialist No.15.
Rangers 4 Motherwell 1
The final game of the day saw Rangers U15’s take on a big physical Motherwell side. It was an entertaining game with Rangers eventually gaining the upper hand and winning comfortably.
In the opening minute Josh McPake collected a slack pass and broke into the right side of the penalty area with the Motherwell keeper saving at his feet. There was a long period where goalmouth incidents were few and it was midway through the half when a long throw in on the right from Motherwell was flicked on and Josh McPake cleared from the line.
A few minutes later Motherwell were awarded a free-kick twenty-five yards from goal and it took a superb diving save, high to his right from Nicky Hogarth to keep Rangers level. On the stroke of half-time Rangers had a free-kick of their own just outside the box, Ben Williamson stepped up to beat the keeper but the ball came back off the underside of the bar.
Half-Time:- Rangers 0 Motherwell 0
The visitor’s threatened in the opening minute of the second-half, a cross from the right broke kindly inside the box and Nicky Hogarth was forced to block with his legs. Rangers replied when Josh McPake switched play to Zac Butterworth on the left he broke into the box and shot across goal and wide of the far post.
Rangers took the lead just before the hour mark, Billy Gilmour switched play to Zac Butterworth on the left, he took on a beat the defender before shooting a cross the keeper and into the far corner of the net. Just over ten minutes later it was two nil, Danny Finlayson broke forward from defence and passed to Billy Gilmour, his pass sent Dapo Mebude clear to continue into the box and shoot past the keeper.
Within a minute Motherwell broke through the centre of Rangers defence and it took a superb Zac Butterworth challenge to play the ball against the attacker and force a goal-kick. With just over ten minutes remaining some good play from Josh McPake created the opportunity for a shot from the left hand angle of the box that the keeper saved.
Motherwell replied with an attack on the right and when a dangerous cross came into the box the danger was cleared with a superb defensive header from Nathan Patterson. The visitors threatened again within a minute a pass sending them through the inside right channel with Nicky Hogarth making a fine save.
Motherwell pulled a goal back with three minutes remaining, their striker turning inside the box to shoot past Lewis Budinauckas. Rangers response was to score two goals in the remaining minutes. The first was started by Ross Young who passed forward to Lewis McGrattan, his pass sent Dapo Mebude through to calmly roll the ball past the advancing keeper. Ross Young then sent Dapo Mebude breaking down the right, from his low cross Josh McPake turned on the edge of the six yard box before shooting past the keeper.
Full-Time;-Rangers 4 Motherwell 1
Rangers Squad:- Nicky Hogarth (Gk), Lewis Budinauckas (Gk), Aiden Gibb, Jamie Walker, Ben Williamson, Danny Finlayson, Jay Mack, Nathan Patterson, Billy Gilmour, Josh McPake, Ross Young, Zac Butterworth, Kieran McKechnie, Dapo Mebude, Lewis McGrattan, Andy Rodden, Niyah Joseph.