The Alkass International Cup Squad

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.


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