Archive for January, 2020

Under 18’s Cruise Into Semi Finals

January 31, 2020

Rangers 4 Partick Thistle 0

Rangers Under 18’s cruised through to a Semi Final away to Aberdeen with a comfortable win over Partick Thistle at The Hummel Training Centre tonight. The officials felt there was an issue with seeing the touchline along one side of the pitch so the game was moved to the artificial surface late in the day.

Rangers tested Luke Scullion in the Thistle goal as early as the fourth minute with an Umaro Balde shot from the edge of the box that the keeper save low to his left. A minute later Kane Ritchie-Hosler broke down the left and got to the byline, his cutback picked out Chris McKee whose effort forced Luke Scullion to turn the ball wide of his near post. From the resultant corner the keeper was called in to action again, stretching to clutch Leon King’s header under his crossbar.

Rangers then suffered a blow in the thirteenth minute when Cole McKinnon left the field with an injury and was replaced by Connor Allan. Rangers made the breakthrough just after the half hour, Kane Ritchie-Hosler attacked through the inside right channel and passed to Chris McKee inside the penalty area, he moved the ball on to Ross McCausland on the left hand angle of the box and he fired a shot into the far top corner of the net.

Half-Time:- Rangers 1 Partick Thistle 0

Rangers doubled their lead in the opening minute of the second half from a clear penalty. Kane Ritchie-Hosler sent off on a solo run that took him past three defenders and into the box where he was pulled back with Chris McKee stepping up to convert from the spot. The third goal came around the midpoint of the half, a short corner was worked on the left and Ross McCausland crossed to the back post where Harris O’Connor rose to head the ball down for Leon King to volley past the keeper.

Thistle battled on but in truth never seriously threatened the Rangers goal once in the ninety minutes. The scoring was completed with four minutes remaining, Robbie Ure collected a Connor Allan flick and sent Kane Ritchie- Hosler clear to continue into the box and shoot past the keeper.

Full-Time:- Rangers 4 Partick Thistle 0

Rangers:- Lewis Budinauckas; Adam Devine, Harris O’Connnor, Leon King, Matthew Henderson; Umaro Balde (Robbie Fraser 72 mins), Murray Miller; Cole McKinnon (Connor Allan 13 mins); Ross McAusland, Chris McKee (Robbie Ure 70 mins), Kane Ritchie-Hosler.

Not Used:- Jay Hogarth (Gk), Krystof Hempl, Dire Mebude.

Another Glasgow Cup Win

January 28, 2020

Rangers 3 Clyde 2

Following on from last week’s  win at Firhill Rangers Development Squad recorded another victory in the Glasgow cup  round robin with a home win against Clyde. The visitors had four players in their starting lineup that were previously on Rangers books.

There was barely two minutes on the clock when Rangers took the lead, Ciaran Dickson went past Ben Duncan to hit the right hand byline and from his cutback Dapo Mebude netted from close range. Clyde had a great chance on the quarter hour, Gregg Wylde picked out Aaron McNeill inside the box where Brian Kinnear came from his to make the block. the ball broke to Darren Smith who shot over.

Rangers response was to double their lead a couple of minutes later, from a free-kick just outside the left side of the box was sent towards the back post by James Maxwell where it was missed by forwards and defenders alike and the ball found the corner of the net. With the half hour mark approaching Ciaran Dickson received a pass from the left and his shot from the edge of the box forced Michael McGhee to tip over.

A couple of minutes later Clyde were back in the game and if Rangers second goal was a bit fortunate Clyde’s goal definitely was. Darren Smith was chasing a long ball with Brian Kinnear coming from his line, the ball hit the striker on the head and diverted past the Rangers keeper. Rangers showed an immediate response Dapo Mebude breaking into the left side of the penalty area where Michael McGhee made the block.

Seven minutes before the break Clyde had a great chance to draw level when a long ball sent Aaron McNeill racing clear into the box but his shot was weak and Brian Kinnear saved comfortably. The Rangers keeper was called into action again before the break, stretching to clutch Gregg Wylde’s thirty-five yard free-kick under his crossbar.

Half-Time:- Rangers 2 Clyde 1

Rangers first chance of the second half came seven minutes after the break, Dapo Mebude breaking into the right side of the box and forcing a save from the keeper. A chipped pass into the right side of Rangers penalty area was collected by Darren Smith where he turned Rhys Breen but was denied by a Brian Kinnear save at his near post.

The game had passed the hour mark when a free-kick from the right was headed from Clyde’s box where it was collected by Ben Williamson but his shot was straight at the keeper. A similar chance at the other end on seventy minutes saw Chris McStay collect the clearance and shoot just wide of Brian Kinnear’s left hand post.

Within a couple of minutes Rangers restored their two goal lead, Joao Balde went past a defender into the right side of the box where he fired past the keeper. Clyde were not out of it and a Darren Smith long range effort clipped the crossbar.

Their second goal did come with six minutes remaining, their Derek Elder got the the right hand byline and his cutback broke to Chris McStay who found the net from around eight yards. An equaliser was never likely with Rangers coming close in the dying minutes. First up Kieran McKechnie teed up Ben Williamson on the edge of the box with Michael McGhee diving to his left to parry. Then Rhys Breen rose to send a header goalwards from a right hand corner but a defender cleared from the line.

Full-Time:- Rangers 3 Clyde 2

Rangers:- Brian Kinnear; Danny Finlayson, Kyle McClelland, Rhys Breen, James Maxwell; Murray Miller (Leon King 70 mins); Cammy Palmer (Kieran McKechnie 30 mins), Ben Williamson; Ciaran Dickson (Cole McKinnon 84 mins), Dapo Mebude (Chris McKee 84 mins), Joao Balde (Ross McCausland 70 mins).

Not Used:- Lewis Budinauckas (Gk), Kane Ritchie-Hosler

Clyde:- Michael McGhee; Ross Lyon (Derek Elder 69 mins), Barry Cuddihy, Michael McMullin (Luke McNiven 69 mins), Ben Duncan (Nick Mullen 31 mins); Chris McStay, Tony Wallace (????? McNulty 63 mins); Chris Johnston; Aaron McNeill (Fraser Malcolm 63 mins), Darren Smith, Gregg Wylde.


Youngster Nets Late Winner

January 25, 2020

 Rangers 2 Huddersfield Town 1

Rangers Development squad included Greg Docherty in their starting lineup against a tidy but physical Huddersfield Town side at The Hummel Training Centre this morning. But the headlines were grabbed by 15 year old Robbie Ure who nodded in a last minute winner.

The visitors had an early chance when Tim Akinola’s shot from the edge of the box came back off the crossbar. Rangers reply came when James Maxwell won the ball on the left and centred for Glenn Middleton but with Jacob Chapman diving at his feet he shot over.

On the quarter hour mark the Huddersfield defence missed Kieran Wright’s clearance and Glenn Middleton raced clear into the right side of the box but over ran the ball allowing Jacob Chapman to save at his feet. A couple of minutes later Josh McPake went past a defender to hit the right hand byline and centred for Kai Kennedy who was denied at point blank range by Jacob Chapman.

Rangers were having a good spell and when Kai Kennedy sent a free kick from the left hand angle of the box towards the back post Rhys Breen rose and headed downwards but the ball bounced over the bar. Huddersfield took the lead on the half-hour mark, Scott High passed to Aaron Rowe who attacked the centre of the box before playing in Micah Obiero to his right, he stepped in to the box and shot high past Kieran Wright.

Rangers then suffered a blow with Danny Finlayson leaving the field injured and was replaced by Kyle McClelland. Eight minutes before the break Glenn Middleton latched on to a slack pass to break into the right side of the box with Jacob Chapman advancing from his line to make the block. Within a few minutes Rangers lost a second player to injury, following a heavy challenge Kai Kennedy limped off to be replaced by Joao Balde.

Rangers recovered from that to draw level just before the break, Joao Balde gained possession from a slack pass and played in Glenn Middleton who shot past Jacob Chapman.

Half-Time:- Rangers 1 Huddersfield 1

Rangers threatened early in the second half,  Ben Williamson and Kyle McClelland exchaned a series of passes to progress n the right, the ball was moved inside to Glenn Middleton and he played in Joao Balde who was denied when Jacob Chapman made the save. The visitors had a great chance on fifty-five minutes, Aaron Rowe passed to their trialist striker who broke into the left side of the penalty area but shot wide of the near post.

For the rest of the half Rangers edged possession but goalmouth chances were rare and a penalty shootout was looking likely. But with a minute remaining Greg Docherty sent the ball out to Kyle McClelland on the right and from his cross 15 year old Robbie Ure stooped to glance a header into the far corner of the net.

Full-Time:- Rangers 2 Huddersfield Town 1

Rangers:- Kieran Wright; Danny Finlayson (Kyle McClelland 33 mins), Leon King, Rhys Breen, James Maxwell; Ben Williamson, Ciaran Dickson; Greg Docherty; Josh McPake (Robbie Ure HT), Glenn Middleton (Connor Allan 61 mins), Kai Kennedy (Joao Balde 40 mins).

Not Used:- Brian Kinnear (Gk), Murray Miller, Mackenzie Strachan.

Huddersfield Town:- Jacob Chapman; Ilounga Pata, Loick Ayina, Luke Daley, Will McCamley; Josh Austerfield; Micah Obiero (Issac Marriott 52 mins), Scott High, Aaron Rowe; Tim Akinola; Trialist No.9



Late Glasgow Cup Win For Colts

January 21, 2020

Partick Thistle 1 Rangers 2

A nightmare start saw Rangers Colts come from behind with a Josh McPake double, the winner coming five minutes from time securing the points in tonight’s Glasgow Cup sectional tie at Firhill.

The home side took the lead in the opening minute when Kieran Wright’s attempted pass went straight to Lewis Mansell, the first Thistle player to touch the ball, and he dispatched it into the net from around twenty-five yards. Rangers first real chance came just before the quarter hour mark, James Maxwell found himself in possession on the left hand angle of the box and his shot forced Jamie Sneddon to dive to his left to parry.

Around four minutes later Kai Kennedy fired just over from a free-kick around twenty-five yards. Just before the hour mark Kai Kennedy sent a free-kick from the left towards the back post with Joe McDonald just getting there before Rhys Breen to clear for a corner.

A few minutes later Josh McPake collected a loose ball and broke towards the penalty area but his shot goes just wide of Jamie Sneddon’s left hand post. With half-time approaching Kai Kennedy played a one-two with James Maxwell on the halfway line and broke down the left, he cut inside before shooting from the edge of the box and just wide of the far post.

Kai Kennedy was playing with confidence and three minutes before the break he went past two defenders on the left of Thistle’s box, his cutback found Josh McPake whose shot was blocked and when the ball broke to Lewis Mayo on the edge of the box his drive was deflected over by a Thistle head.

Half-Time:- Partick Thistle 1 Rangers 0

Rangers dominated possession in the early stages of the second half but clear chances were at a premium and there was almost seventy minutes on the clock when Kai Kennedy on the left hand angle of the box crossed to the back post where Danny Finlayson nodded the ball inside to Ciaran Dickson, the midfielder returned the ball to Danny Finlayson with Jamie Sneddon blocking the shot with his legs.

Rangers got back on level terms on seventy-seven minutes, James Maxwell got to the left hand byline, from his centre Joao Balde’s effort was blocked but the ball broke to Josh McPake at the back post where he fired into the net. What proved to be the winner came with five minutes remaining, the ball broke to Josh McPake on the edge of the box and he shot into Jamie Sneddon’s bottom right hand corner.

Rangers had one last chance to add to their tally when Lewis Mayo won possession and played Robbie Ure through but a Thistle defender got back to deflect the youngster’s shot wide of goal.

Full-Time:- Partick Thistle 1 Rangers 2

Partick Thistle:- Jamie Sneddon; Bradley Renfrew, Ruaridh McIntryre, Joe McDonald, Andy Rodden (James Lyon 82 mins); Craig Slater, Billy Owens; Gary Harkins (Dean Watson 79 mins); Alex Jones (Evan Galasso 70 mins), Lewis Mansell, Mitch Austin.

Not Used:- Luke Scullion (Gk), David McNair, Lorenzo Giovanazzi, Oliver Black.

Rangers:- Kieran Wright; Danny Finlayson, Kyle McClelland, Rhys Breen, James Maxwell; Murray Miller (Joao Balde 76 mins), Ben Williamson; Ciaran Dickson, Josh McPake (Robbie Ure 87 mins), Kai Kennedy.

Not Used:- Brian Kinnear (Gk), Leon King, Mackenzie Strachan, Leyton Dunlop.

Freindly Win For Development Squad

January 12, 2020

Rangers 3 Motherwell 1

A one sided first half saw Rangers Development squad race to a three goal lead by half-time at The Hummel Training Centre this afternoon. The second half was mainly noted for a series of substitutions before Motherwell grabbed a late consolation goal.

Rangers had an early chance when Ciaran Dickson got on the end of Jamie Barjonas’s cross from the right but powered his header straight at the keeper. With the quarter hour mark approaching Jamie Barjonas teed up Ben Williamson for a thirty yard strike that forced the keeper to save high to his right.

Rangers took the lead on seventeen minutes when Josh McPake played a one-two with Ben Williamson to break into the left side of the penalty area and shoot across the keeper into the far corner. Three minutes later Glenn Middleton went for goal from a free kick on the right hand angle of the box. The referee spotted a foul on Nathan Young Coombes in the centre of the penalty area and pointed to the spot which Glenn Middleton converted.

Just beyond the half-hour Josh McPake crossed from a shot corner on he left, the ball was deflected goalwards forcing the Motherwell keeper into a save, when the ball landed at the feet of Ben Williamson just inside the box his shot was deflected wide of the keeper’s left hand post. Rangers third goal came on thirty four minutes when Jamie Barjonas strode forward and beat the keeper low to his right from fully thirty yards.

Half-Time:- Rangers 3 Motherwell 0

The second half was low key by comparison and mainly noted for a series of substitutions. But with the final ten minutes approaching Kieran McKechnie was released inside the box and his attempted poke past the keeper was saved, The ball came to the edge of the box and a pass gave Ross McCausland a chance on the other side of the penalty area but again the keeper saved.

Arron Lyall then got to the right hand byline and his low cross picked out Jamie Barjonas who was denied by the keeper at point blank range. With five minutes remaining  a pass back led to hesitancy in the Rangers defence allowing the Motherwell striker to poke the ball past Brian Kinnear. The final effort on goal came from a Jamie Barjonas effort from fully thirty five yards that the keeper parried high to his left.

Full-Time:- Rangers 3 Motherwell 1

Rangers:- Brian Kinnear; Zac Butterworth, Danny Finlayson, Kyle McClelland ( Leon King HT), Matthew Shiels (Murray Miller 77 mins); Jamie Barjonas, Ben Williamson, Ciaran Dickson; Glenn Middleton (Arron Lyall 49 mins), Nathan Young-Coombes (Ross McCausland 56 mins), Josh McPake (Kieran McKechnie 63 mins).

Friendly Win For U18’s

January 10, 2020

Rangers 2 St.Mirren 1

Rangers Under 18’s showed a wee bit of ring rustiness in their first game back after the Christmas/New Year break but done enough to edge out St.Mirren in tonight’s friendly at The Hummel Training Centre.

St.Mirren had a chance on nine minutes when a shot from the edge of the box beat Lewis Budinauckas but bounced off his left hand post before being cleared for a corner. The corner from the left was cleared from the Rangers box but crossed at the second attempt to the back post where it was knocked past Lewis Budinauckas.

Rangers came close just after the twenty five minute mark, Cole McKinnon’s pass sent Ross McCausland breaking into the right side of the box with the keeper saving the shot with his legs. Within a minute Cole McKinnon got on the end of a cross from the left but was denied by the keeper at point blank range.

Rangers equalised just before the half hour mark, Chris McKee cut the ball back from the left hand byline to Ross McCausland who side stepped a defender on the edge of the six yard box before shooting past the keeper. St. Mirren replied with an attack into the right side of the penalty area and Lewis Budinauckas was forced to save low to his right.

Eight minute before the break Rangers were in front, Chris McKee latched on to a long pass to break into the left side of the box,  a combination of defender and keeper initially forced him towards the left hand byline but he turned and shot past the keeper from the left hand side of the six yard box. Four minutes before the break Adam Devine  picked out Cole McKinnon from the right hand byline and he forced a fine save from the keeper who dived to divert the ball over. 

Half-Time:- Rangers 2 St.Mirren 1

The visitors came close three minutes after the break when a cross from the right was headed just wide of the far post. A couple of minutes later the ball broke for Robbie Fraser inside the left side of the penalty area with his shot rebounding off the near post.

Rangers next chance came when Umaro Balde passed to Cole McKinnon on the left hand angle of the box and he cut inside before forcing a save from the keeper low to his left. On the hour mark a long ball saw St.Mirren break into the left side of the box with Jay Hogarth racing from his line to block the shot.

The half had reached the midpoint when Ryan Muir fed Matty Yates inside the right side of the penalty area but his shot bounced off the inside of the far post. From a corner from the left a minute later Lewis Mackinnon’s header bounced up and onto the crossbar.

Rangers came close on a few of occasions in the final ten minutes, first up ColeMcKinnon teed up Matty Yates inside the left side of the box with the keeper standing up to make the save. Next  the Trialist passed to Cole McKinnon inside the left side of the penalty area but he shot just wide of the far post. Then finally Cole McKinnon broke forward and exchanged passes with Matty Yates to break into the right side of the box, from his low cross Umaro Balde seemed sure to score but didn’t connect properly which allowed the keeper to dive high to his left to make a fine save.

Full-Time:- Rangers 2 St.Mirren 1

Rangers:- Lewis Budinauckas (Jay Hogarth HT); Adam Devine, Kyle McClelland (Lewis Mackinnon HT), Leon King (Ryan Muir HT), Matthew Henderson (Robbie Fraser 67 mins); Umaro Balde, Robbie Fraser (Trialist 52 mins); Cole McKinnon; Ross McAusland (Julian Anderson HT), Matty Yates, Chris McKee.

Mercedes Benz Junior Cup

January 7, 2020


I hate the winter break just as I hate the end of season break. My initial thoughts for this break was a trip to London next weekend to tick off Lingfield and Kempton racecourses. Then Rangers spoke of a game in Dubai, but as time went on no confirmation of a game was forthcoming, not sure I won’t have gone to watch us play a team from Uzbekistan anyway. My attention was brought to the Mercedes Benz Junior Cup in Sindelfingen, Germany. As someone who really likes Germany, the idea of a few days there watching a Rangers team appealed to me. So with no details of the Dubai game announced I put a trip together and booked everything before Christmas.

Friday’s trip from Edinburgh to Stuttgart via Berlin wasn’t the smoothest but eventually arrived at my hotel around 9:30 pm. With the professional tournament kicking off around midday (there is a Mercedes Benz works tournament running in parallel), I had plenty time to collect my tickets then travel to the Glaspalast in Sindelfingen, around 20 km from Stuttgart.

In an impressive 5,000 capacity arena the tournament was under way with Stuttgart taking on Broussia Munchengladbach. The local side was edged out 2-3, but looking back at the tournament end this was a surprise result. Next up was the current UEFA Youth League champions FC Porto who looked a physically powerful side and what looked like a young Man Utd side. The Man Utd squad did include megabucks signing Hannibal Mejbri from Monaco as well as Lukasz Bejger a £500,000 signing from Lech Poznan and Dillon Hoogewerf who was recruited from Ajax. Man Utd came from behind to snatch a 2-1 win.

The first game in Rangers group saw German sides RB Leipzig and Eintracht Frankfurt share the spoils, with neither side looking to be likely winners of the tournament at this stage. Rangers opened against a very impressive  Rapid Vienna side, it was a tough twenty minutes for the young ‘Gers, mainly on the back foot losing 0-3. The impressive duo of Yusuf Demir and Mustafa Kocyigit proving difficult to pin down as they carved out chances. 

I would make a couple of points, this format is pretty alien to the Rangers players but pretty common in Germany, Austria and across central Europe. This  was apparent in how these sides used the backboards for “wall” passes to setup chances. They were very slick in player rotation where as in the first game I felt a couple of Rangers changeovers put them under pressure.

Back to the other group and Stuttgart recorded a comfortable 3-0 win over Porto, with their captain and tournament poster boy Per Lockl really building on his first game performance and looking a top player. In the other game Man Utd made it two wins in two games without really impressing with a 1-0 victory over Broussia Munchengladbach.


Rangers set to take on Eintracht Frankfurt.

Rangers then put the first game behind them with a more comfortable win over Eintracht Frankfurt the the 1-0 scoreline suggests, The goal coming a fine Ciaran Dickson lob. In the other game Rapid Vienna continued to impress with a comfortable 3-1 win over RB Leipzig.

In the final games in Group A  the local Stuttgart side who were growing into the tournament brought Man Utd’s winning run to an end with a 1-0 win. While FC Porto lost three in three games losing 3-1 to Broussia Munchengladbach.

Group B came to a close with Rapid Vienna surprisingly losing a two goal lead to draw 2-2 with Eintracht Frankfurt. Rangers turned in their best performance against a physically big RB Leipzig winning 4-0. After a goalless first half a brilliant Ciaran Dickson flick gave Rangers the lead. After Zac Butterworth added a second a fine move ended with Nathan Young-Coombes firing in a third. The impressive performance was complete when Leon King exchanged passes with Ross McCausland before shooting past the keeper.

At this point the tournament format was confusing for us non German speakers, I knew second and third from Rangers group would join first and fourth to form a new group. So Rangers would be in with Stuttgart, FC Porto and Eintracht Frankfurt, but wouldn’t play Eintracht Frankfurt who they had already played.

One game from each of these groups would be played to end the day’s play. Stuttgart put five past Eintracht Frankfurt and led by Per Lockl were looking like possible tournament winners. Man Utd the produced their best performance so far, taking a two goal lead over Rapid Vienna before being pegged back to 2-2. Up till now refereeing had been pretty lenient with no cards being shown. With forty seconds remaining a Rapid defender hauled back a Man Utd player when clean through and he was sent off.

So at the end of day one Rangers had recovered from a bad start and in Ciaran Dickson they had one of the four players that really caught the eye. Stuttgart’s captain and playmaker Per Lockl was more and more influential as the games progressed. The Rapid Vienna duo Yusuf Dimir and Mustafa Kocyigit were typical No 10’s, if you can have a No, 10 in six-a-side !! Really skilful and seeing the penetrating pass, Oh and Yusuf Dimir actually was No.10 and Mustafa Kocyigit was double that wearing No.20 !


Broxi makes an appearance in day two, wows the crowd and meets Bulli Der Bulle

By the start of day two I had kind of worked out the the points from day one would carry through to these second groups. The opening game of the day saw RB Leipzig beat fellow Germans Broussia Munchengladbach 2-0. Rangers opened the second day against winless FC Porto but they are the current UEFA Youth League champions. A Ben Williamson solo effort brought Rangers level after going a goal behind. Porto edged ahead 2-1 and despite removing keeper Jay Hogarth to play Ciaran Dickson as what was know in my day as “backs-in-goal” or “backie” the Portuguese side held on.

In the next couple of games Man Utd suffered a heavy 4-0 defeat to RB Leipzig and FC Porto put Rangers semi-final place at risk with a 2-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt. Before Rangers final group game Rapid Vienna came very close to losing a game. Equalising with seconds remaining to tie the game with Broussia Munchengladbach 1-1. Rangers went into the final group going knowing anything better than a four goal defeat would see them in the semi finals. They were probably second best in a game they lost 1-0. At one stage they were reduced to five players when Nathan Young-Coombes was sent off, but appeared to be a “sin-bin” rule as we were restored to the full compliment of six a short time later.

So Rangers had made the semi finals where they would play what looked like tournament favourites Rapid Vienna. While Stuttgart and RB Leipzig would contest the other semi final.

Before the semi-finals Man Utd secured 7th place with a penalty shootout win over Eintracht Frankfurt after after 2-2 draw. Fifth place went to Broussia Muchengladbach who beat FC Porto 2-0 in that play off.

It was always going to be difficult against the best team on show and when Rangers found themselves two goals down they gambled by replacing the goalkeeper with Leon King. That move didn’t working out losing a further two late goals. The other semi final was a disappointment for the the tournament. RB Leipzig progressing from a penalty shootout over Stuttgart after a 0-0 draw. That meant the local side didn’t make the final but more importantly the best two teams now wouldn’t contest the final.

Rangers now had to face Stuttgart in the 3rd/4th playoff which the Germans had secured by half-time racing to a three goal lead. There were no further scoring so Rangers finished the tournament in 4th place. 

The final was a bit of an anti-climax with Rapid Vienna beating the surprise finalists RB Leipzig easily by four goals to nil. It was fitting they won the tournament as they were the best team, they were also the closest to Rangers in terms of age. I thought that Leon King was the only 2004 player at the tournament but in Enes Tepecik the Austrians also had an U16 player in their squad.


Worthy winners and the best team, Rapid Vienna ! Choice of strip could have been better through.

So that was the end of a hectic but interesting two days. I felt the young Rangers side acquitted themselves well against what was generally older opponents. The games were really intense and the pace was frantic, rotation of the players had to happen every three or four minutes.

A number of players were unavailable for one reason or another, especially at the attacking end of the pitch. I’m sure if a couple from the following were available it could have made a difference, Kai Kennedy, Dapo Mebude, Josh McPake, Arron Lyall and Kane Ritchie-Hosler.

The best team in Rapid Vienna were worthy winners, it was it pity that the next best side, Stuttgart didn’t get to to contest the final.

Rapid’s Yusuf Demir was the player of the tournament by some distance and as a 2003 he is an U17 player. I believe he was the player of the tournament last year as an U16 player, he recently made his first team debut in a substitute appearance against Admira in the Austrian Bundesliga. 

The others that caught the eye were Rapid Vienna’s Mustafa Kocyigit, older but a very similar player to Dimir. So much so they were rarely on the pitch at the same time. Stuttgart’s captain Per Lockl who is in and around their first team squad. His colleague and tournament top scorer David Hummel got better as the tournament progressed. All three players are 2001’s therefore U19’s.

So to some up it was a great few days in Germany and might be an option in next season’s winter break.