Archive for February, 2019

Youth Reach Final

February 22, 2019

Aberdeen 1 Rangers 3

Despite losing an early goal Rangers Under 18’s came back to record a comfortable win in today’s Youth Cup Semi Final at Balmoral Stadium, Cove. Once Josh McPake put the young Rangers side ahead just before the break they were never in any danger of losing the tie.

The home side took the lead in the fourth minute, Danny Finlayson misjudged the bounce of a ball played forward and it allowed Kevin Hanratty to progress to the left hand byline before squaring for Connor Barron to net from the edge of the six yard box. Three minutes later Lewis Duncan cut in from the right and his shot forced Nicky Hogarth to dive to his right to parry.

The game hadn’t reached the ten minute mark when Rangers drew level. Dapo Mebude won possession midway inside the Aberdeen half and passed to Josh McPake who sent Ciaran Dickson breaking into the right side of the box, his first effort was blocked but he followed up to score from the rebound. Midway through the half Ben Williamson’s pass sent Josh McPake breaking into the right side of the penalty area but Archie Mair stood up to parry his powerful shot.

Six minutes before the break Ben Williamson passed to Josh McPake whose pass sent Dapo Mebude racing into the right side of the box but his shot was weak and Archie Mair saved comfortably low to his right. The goal was only delayed by a couple of minutes when Rangers took the lead. Dapo Mebude passed to Josh McPake and he went past Luke Turner and into the right side of the penalty area before slotting past Archie Mair.

Half-Time:- Aberdeen 1 Rangers 2

Aberdeen were first to threaten after the break on fifty-two minutes, Lloyd Robertson passed to Ethan Ross who broke towards Rangers box before playing in Kevin Hanratty on the left side of the penalty area but he shot into the side netting. On the hour mark Lloyd Robertson passed to Kevin Hanratty on the left, he cut inside before shooting from around twenty-five yards that Nicky Hogarth comfortably held under the crossbar.

Five minutes later only a brilliant Archie Mair save prevented Rangers increasing their lead. Harris O’Connor crossed from close to the right hand byline and picked out Josh McPake around eight yards from goal, he seemed certain to score but the Aberdeen keeper dived to his right to parry. The third Rangers goal came seven minutes later, Dapo Mebude in possession on the right cut inside leaving two defenders in his wake and his reverse pass released Nathan Young-Coombes inside the right side of the penalty area and he finished with a sublime dink over the keeper.

Rangers came close to further goals in the final ten minutes, first Kai Kennedy played in Josh McPake inside the left side of the box but was denied when Archie Mair blocked the shot with his foot. With six minutes remaining an exchange of passes on the left allowed Nathan Young-Coombes to reach the left hand byline, his centre reached Ben Williamson at the back post but Archie Mair raced from goal to make the block.

Full-Time:- Aberdeen 1 Rangers 3

Aberdeen:- Archie Mair; Danny Strachan, Luke Turner, Connor Power, Lloyd Robertson; Connor Barron (Max Barry 65 mins), Jack Chesser (Mark McLachlan HT); Lewis Duncan, Ethan Ross, Kevin Hanratty; Kieran Shanks (Michael Dangana 65 mins).

Not Used:- Tom Ritchie (Gk), Tyler Mykyta, Kyle Dalling, Calvin Ramsay.

Rangers:- Nicky Hogarth; Harris O’Connor, Danny Finlayson, Kyle McClelland, Nathan Patterson (James Maxwell 72 mins); Murray Miller; Ben Williamson, Ciaran Dickson (Nathan Young-Coombes 65 mins); Josh McPake, Dapo Mebude (Joao Balde 79 mins), Kai Kennedy.

Not Used:- Brian Kinnear (Gk), Kieran McKechnie, Matty Yates, Chris McKee.

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The Alkass International Cup Squad

February 16, 2019

The profile of the club and the players that participated in the Alkass International Cup has risen markedly over the past week or so. Having watched most of the squad since U13’s  I have seen most of them over 50 times. I thought a brief pen pic of each player would be useful to those who haven’t seen them.

1. Lewis Budinauckas (2002 U17) – Lewis is the son of former Partick Thistle keeper Kevin Budinauckas. Lewis has been at Rangers since a young age, he has a really safe pair of hands and a good shot stopper, at the moment not the biggest but hopefully a bit of growing to come. Plays at Under 18’s sharing the goalkeeping slot with Nicky Hogarth and Brian Kinnear.

2. Kyle McClelland (2002 U17) – Another who has been at Rangers a long time Kyle is a regular centre back in the under 18’s. He can also play right-back or in a holding midfield role. After initially featuring at youth level for Scotland Kyle changed his international allegiance to Northern Ireland and is now a regular in their youth squads.

3. Harris O’Connor (2002 U17) – Harris in the nephew of former Kilmarnock defender Ray Montgomerie. Harris was on the books of Charlton Athletic as a young boy, they were keen to come to some arrangement when the family moved back to Scotland but he joined Kilmarnock. After a year at Killie he was pursued by both Rangers and Celtic and opted for Rangers. Ball playing centre-back who can play at full-back, regular in the u18’s and recently trained with the first team.

4. Ryan Muir (2002 U17) – Right Back Ryan is from Dumfries and both he and his family have shown great commitment travelling back and forth to Glasgow over the years. Ryan is a tenacious full-back who has also featured in midfield, regular in the U18 Squad. His father Graeme is a former QOTS player and he was chief executive of Gretna when they reached the Premier League. 

5. Ciaran Dickson (2002 U17)- Box to box midfielder from Erskine, a regular in Rangers U18 side. Came to the fans attention last season scoring a double in the Glasgow Cup Final against Celtic. Scored the equaliser in the final against Roma and is a regular Scottish youth international. 

6. Matty Yates (2002 U17) – Paisley boy Matty has been at Rangers since a young age, prolific striker when he plays as shown in this tournament. Part of the Under 18 squad and has shown patience in waiting for his chance when the older Dapo Mebude has been unavailable.

7. Chris McKee (2002 U17) – Northern Ireland youth international from Carrickfergus he joined Rangers on a full-time basis in the summer from Linfield. A regular visitor to Rangers academy over the years and another striker who shows he knows where the goal is when he gets a chance to play. Another member of the U18 squad.

8. Kai Kennedy (2002 U17) – Player of the tournament who has already been training with the first team. Featured mainly wide on the left but can play across the front or as an attacking midfielder. Glasgow boy and a regular for the U18’s and at various age groups for Scotland. 

9. Murray Miller (2002 U17)- Joined Rangers from Motherwell the year before last with Rangers paying a development fee. Murray is a holding midfielder who keeps the play ticking over and his pass completion stats are impressive. Scottish youth international Murray seemed destined for Rangers with his dad previously on the clubs books and his grandfather having worked as a scout at the club.

10. Leon Thomson (King) (2004 U15) – The fact that Leon is an U15 tells you everything, hasn’t played with his own age group for a while, usually plays U16’s but has played U18 and even made a brief appearance at U20. Two footed centre-back but equally comfortable in midfield. Eligible to play in the Alkass Cup for another two years !! I can only hope Leon is at Rangers a long time and we can watch his development.

11. Cole McKinnon (2003 U16) – Cole played as a trialist for Rangers against Celtic at U13’s scoring a couple of goals,.He resisted the approach to step into pro youth and continued to play with Drumsagard before signing for Rangers about a year ago. Midfield player who has played as a striker on occasions he has progressed under the academy coaching and now a Scottish youth international. He older brother Andy was at Rangers for a short time.

12. Adam Devine (2003 U16) – Adam is the latest in a series of talented right backs from the Rangers youth academy, with  Jordan Houston and Nathan Patterson in the older age groups. Another Scotland youth International and long term Rangers academy player. Useless fact is he is the grandson of singer Sidney Devine.

14. Matthew Henderson (2003 U16) – Cultured left-back who is the son of former Rangers physio Davie Henderson. He has played further forward on occasions, he missed out on the final after damaging ankle ligaments in the semi final. He has been at Rangers since a young age and another who has represented Scotland at youth level.

15. Alex Lowry (2003 U16) – The Braidhurst High School pupil has fantastic skills who can unlock defences in the attacking midfield role. I think his decision making has improved in the past year and has been selected for recent Scotland Under 16 squads. Featured mainly from the subs bench in the tournament but was impressive in those cameo performances.

16. Ross McCausland (2003 U16) – Northern Ireland youth internationalist has been a regular visitor to Rangers academy and he recently commited to the club and will join full-time next season. Striker Ross started as a kid at Chimney Corner before moving to Ballymena United and then Linfield. Unfortunately got injured in the second game and missed the rest of the tournament.

18. Charlie Allen (2003 U16) – Another Northern Irish youth international who is currently with Linfield. Like all these Northern Irish players linked with Rangers he has been a regular visitor to the Academy. Midfielder Charlie featured mainly as a sub in the games including the final. 

19. Aaron Lyall (2003 U16) – For me Aaron really took a big step forward at this tournament, a talented U16 player he excelled playing against older opponents in the wide right role. Another long term Rangers player and Scottish youth player who has also played in the central striking role on occasions.

20. Nathan Young-Coombes (2003 U16) – Having only joined Rangers from Chelsea in January, I had only seen Nathan in a twenty minute cameo appearance at U20 as a trialist. He has been a revelation is this tournament both in scoring and creating goals. Represented England at youth level it was mentioned in the commentary he had options to remain in the EPL.

21. Jay Hogarth (2003 U16) – Probably the worst position for these tournaments, the second goalkeeper. Jay whose brother Nicky plays for the U18’s and father is former Hearts keeper Myles Hogarth is a talented keeper. He played in the game against Aspire Academy and has already played international level for Scotland.

 

All Square At McDiarmid

February 11, 2019

St.Johnstone 1 Rangers 1

Rangers shared the points with St. Johnstone in this afternoon’s Reserve League match at McDiarmid Park. It was a fair result with an even and decent first half, followed by a second half that was only noted for a series of substitutions until the final couple of minutes.

The home side were first to threaten on ten minutes when Danny Swanson’s pass sent Callum Hendry through on the inside left channel but a heavy touch allowed Kieran Wright to race from his line and save at the striker’s feet. A minute later Saint’s were forced into a substitution when former Ranger Michael O’Halloran had to leave the field and was replaced by Euan O’Reilly.

Rangers first chance came on the quarter-hour mark when Glen Kamara dispossessed Blair Alston and passed to Stephen Kelly on the right hand angle of the box, he cut inside but saw his shot deflected wide of the far post. A couple of minutes later Blair Alston passed to Danny Swanson on the left his return pass setup a chance for Blair Alston that Kieran Wright saved low to his left.

Rangers fell behind in the twenty-fifth minute to what was an avoidable goal, Kieran Wright didn’t appear to be under any real pressure but his attempted clearance rebounded off Danny Finlayson to Jamie McKenzie inside the box and he had the simple task of firing into the net. Rangers were back on level terms three minutes before the break with a well worked goal. Glenn Kamara in possession on the left hand angle of the box passed to Josh McPake inside the penalty area and his first time pass teed up Glenn Middleton to shoot past Cammy Bell.

Half-Time:- St.Johnstone 1 Rangers 1

The bulk of the second-half was only noted for a rash of substitutions until there was only two minutes left on the clock. Rangers had a free-kick twenty-five yards from goal and on the left hand angle of the box, Stephen Kelly aimed for the top right hand corner which had Cammy Bell stretching to tip over. With the game entering injury time Danny Swanson burst into the right side of Rangers box where he was tripped by Aidan Wilson for a clear penalty. Blair Alston stepped up but was denied by a superb Kieran Wright save diving to his left.

Full-Time:- St.Johnstone 1 Rangers 1

St.Johnstone- Cammy Bell; Aaron Comrie, Niall Keown, Liam Gordon, Brian Easton (Ciaran Brian HT); Michael O’Halloran (Euan O’Reilly 11 mins), Ali McCann, Blair Alston, Danny Swanson; Jamie McKenzie (Shaun Struthers 65 mins( Cammy Ballantyne 74 mins)); Callum Hendry.

Not Used:- Ross Sinclair (Gk), Jack Wilson, Karl Quigley.

Rangers:- Kieran Wright; Matt Polster, Danny Finlayson, Lewis Mayo (Aidan Wilson 59 mins), Jordan Houston (Nathan Patterson 79 mins); Glen Kamara (Ben Williamson 59 mins); Lasana Coulibaly (Liam Burt 59 mins), Cammy Palmer; Stephen Kelly, Josh McPake, Glenn Middleton (Dapo Mebude 59 mins).

Not Used:- Nicky Hogarth (Gk), Joao Balde.

Strong Reserve Side Hit Five

February 7, 2019

Rangers 5 Morton 0

A belated report on yesterday’s reserve game due to travelling to last night’s game at Pittodrie. A strong Rangers side scored five against a young Morton side at The Hummel Training Centre yesterday afternoon. Once Rangers took the lead just before the twenty-minute mark the result was never in doubt.

Rangers first chance came on four minutes when Danny Finlayson volleyed a Stephen Kelly cross from the right narrowly over. Eight minutes later a Glen Kamara pass sent Josh McPake through, he was forced wide by keeper Brendan Pearson to the right hand byline, his cutback picked out Cammy Palmer who saw his shot blocked.

Almost immediately Glenn Middleton latched on to a slack pass from Darren Hynes and his powerful shot was parried by Brendan Pearson, Matt Polster latched on to the rebound on the left side of the box and his effort was blocked by the legs of Brendan Pearson. Rangers made the break through on nineteen minutes, Matt Polster passed to Cammy Palmer who played the ball to Glenn Middleton on the edge of the box, he showed great strength to hold off a defender, turn and shoot past Brendan Pearson.

Two minutes later Rangers doubled their lead, Cammy Palmer was the provider with a pass to Josh McPake inside the left side of the penalty area and he shot past the keeper. Just beyond the half-hour mark Glen Kamara won possession and sent Glen Middleton through into the right side of the box where he was denied by a superb Darren Hynes challenge.

Rangers grabbed a third five minutes later, Glenn Middleton’s cross from the right picked out Stephen Kelly inside the left side of the box, his shot was blocked but the ball sat up perfectly for Josh McPake to volley past the keeper from around ten yards. Just before the break a quick free-kick allowed Glenn Middleton to try his luck from around twenty-two yards and Brendan Pearson produced a superb save low to his left to turn the ball wide.

Half-Time:- Rangers 3 Morton 0

The one way traffic continued after the break and there was only four minutes on the clock when Glenn Middleton in possession inside the right side of the box picked out Liam Burt who was denied at close range by Brendan Pearson diving to his right. Another goal came three minutes later, Liam Burt passed to Glenn Middleton on the right, he cut inside and progressed along the eighteen yard line before passing to Josh McPake who curled a shot into the keeper’s top left hand corner.

The game was still a couple of minutes shy of the hour mark when Rangers scored a fifth. Dapo Mebude’s pass inside Lewis Strapp freed Glenn Middleton inside the right side of  box and he beat the keeper from a tight angle. Rangers next chance came when Josh McPake fed the overlapping Nathan Patterson on the left, he lobbed the keeper from inside the box but the ball bounced off the crossbar.

With the midpoint of the half approaching Glenn Middleton delivered a corner from the right and Danny Finlayson rose to head narrowly over. With the game now in the final quarter-hour the ball was played in from the right and Dapo Mebude’s dummy allowed Kieran McKechnie to break into the box where he was denied by a Brendan Pearson save.

Rangers next chance came when Dapo Mebude held off a defender to force a save from Brendan Pearson with the striker following up to fire the rebound against the crossbar. Morton had shown little as an attacking force but came close to a consolation nine minutes from time, a quick throw sent Shaun Rodgers down the left and his shot from virtually on the touchline had Nicky Hogarth beaten but the ball rebounded off the near post.

Morton were reduced to ten men in the final minute when Ben Eardley was shown a second yellow card for a petulant kick at Cammy Palmer when a word in his ear would have been suffice.

Full-Time:- Rangers 5 Morton 0

Rangers :- Nicky Hogarth; Jon Flanagan, Gareth McAuley, Danny Finlayson, Matthew Shiels (Nathan Patterson HT); Glen Kamara (Liam Burt HT), Matt Polster (Dapo Mebude HT); Cammy Palmer; Stephen Kelly (Joao Balde 59 mins), Josh McPake, Glenn Middleton (Kieran McKechnie 71 mins).

Not Used:- Brian Kinnear (Gk), Ben Williamson.

Morton:- Brendan Pearson; Ben Eardley, Darren Hynes, Nathan Durham Conor Duffy 71 ins), Lewis Strapp; Kiern Brophy, Lewis McGrattan, Reece Lyon, Blair Docherty (Michael Garrity 71 mins); Alexander Easdale (Shaun Rodgers 57 mins), Jack Purdue (Jonathan Lyon HT)

Not Used:- Reece Hamilton.

Easy Glasgow Cup Win

February 3, 2019

Rangers 5 Queens Park 1

Rangers Under 20’s were pretty much in control from start to finish in today’s Glasgow Cup Sectional Tie. Queens Park scored with their only shot on target where as Rangers could easily have doubled their tally.

Rangers took the lead on ten minutes, Stephen Kelly picking out Josh McPake inside the left side of the penalty area and he shot across the keeper into the net. Just after the midpoint of the half Cammy Palmer exchanged passes with Stephen Kelly before passing to Glenn Middleton inside the box but his shot was blocked.

On the half-hour Stephen Kelly swung over a corner from the left and Lewis Mayo rose to head narrowly over. Four minutes later Rangers doubled their lead, Glenn Middleton laid the ball back to Stephen Kelly and his shot from around twenty-five yards caught out the keeper and found the net just inside his right hand post.

Just before the half-time whistle a good move ended with Danny Finlayson crossing from the right and Glenn Middleton’s header clipping the outside of the near post. 

Half- Time:- Rangers 2 Queens Park 0

Midway through the second half Rangers went three up, Stephen Kelly and Josh McPake combined on the edge of the box and the ball broke off a defender to Glenn Middleton around the penalty spot and he shot past the keeper. The next attack saw Glenn Middleton send Josh McPake down the left, he continued into the penalty area but was denied when the keeper blocked his shot with his foot.

The visitors reduced the deficit with just over a quarter-hour remaining,  a free-kick was delivered from the right and an unmarked attacker glanced a header past Kieran Wright from close range. Rangers responded by restoring their two goal lead within two minutes, Kieran McKechnie passed to Josh McPake on the left and he cut inside before finding the net with the aid of a significant deflection.

Within a minute the ball was played  forward to the edge of the box and Kieran McKechnie’s flick released Josh McPake who saw the keeper keep his shot out with his foot. Rangers then completed the scoring with a minute remaining, Jay Mack passed the ball forward to Kieran McKechnie who attacked through the centre, going past two defenders and poking the ball through for Dapo Mebude to shoot past the keeper.

Full-Time:- Rangers 5 Queens Park 1

Rangers:- Kieran Wright; Danny Finlayson, Lewis Mayo (Jay Mack 79 mins), Rhys Breen (Harris O’Connor 58 mins), Matthew Shiels (James Maxwell 69 mins); Ben Williamson (Dapo Mebude HT); Cammy Palmer, Stephen Kelly; Liam Burt, Josh McPake, Glenn Middleton (Kieran McKechnie 79 mins).

Not Used:- Nicky Hogarth (Gk)