Archive for February, 2022

Academy Weekend Round Up

February 27, 2022

This weekend saw Rangers play Celtic across the age groups, I was able to take in three full games and part of a fourth. Saturday’s double header was at Rangers Training Centre, with the U13’s 9-a side game first up and the Under 15 game following. Sunday the action moved to Barrowfield with the U14’s kicking off at 10AM and the U16’s at 11AM.

I didn’t produce a report for the U13’s game for two reasons, it was a 9-a-side game and this is a new group to me, so my focus was on identifying the players. Celtic established a two goal lead in the first half-hour period but Rangers were the stronger team in the next two periods and probably should have won the game. The outcome was an entertaining 4-4 draw, with Luca Rankin (2), Ty O’Connor and Daniel Owonyomi scoring Rangers goals.

Rangers 0 Celtic 3

The U15’s game followed and Rangers were pretty much second best and only the performance of keeper Colbi McQuarrie kept the scoreline down.

Colbi’s first save in the game was a comfortable one gathering a shot from distance in the second minute. Seven minutes later a corner from the right broke to a Celtic player inside the Rangers penalty area, his shot beat Colbi McQuarrie but Jack Caldwell was well placed to clear from the line, the rebound effort was blocked and a third effort saw Colbi McQuarrie produce a fine point blank save.

A minute later Celtic broke into the right side of the box but again Colbi McQuarrie denied the attacker. Rangers had shown little in attack and on fifteen minutes Murray Shaw turned and shot from the edge of the box but it didn’t seriously trouble the Celtic keeper.

Colbi McQuarrie was soon called into action, saving a shot from the edge of the penalty area. Celtic took the lead a couple of minutes shy of the half-hour, there was a hint of offside when they broke into the left side of the box and the shot found the net despite Colbi McQuarrie getting a hand to it.

A short corner from the left was the source of Celtic’s next chance with Colbi McQuarrie saving the shot low to his left.

Half-Time:- Rangers 0 Celtic 1

Celtic came close to extending their lead early in the second half with an attack into the right side of the box, the shot beat Colbi McQuarrie but rebounded back off the crossbar. Rangers then had their best chance of the came when the ball broke to Aidan McCallion inside the right side of the box and he lobbed the advancing keeper but the ball went narrowly wide of the near post.

Celtic had a further chance with their attacker through one on one with Colbi McQuarrie but again the Rangers keeper came out on top. The visitors second goal came soon after and it was a mistake from a Rangers defender, losing possession on the edge of the box teeing up the Celtic player for a simple finish. Celtic then added a third goal before the end of the game.

Celtic’s three goals came from two players I watched playing for Rangers as trialists in November, but for whatever reason they both ultimately signed for Celtic.

Full-Time:- Rangers 0 Celtic 3

Rangers:- Colbi McQuarrie (Sam Reid); Jack Caldwell (Lyle Hunter HT), Olly Hynd, Matthew McIvor, Thomas Falconer; Sam McLachlan (Lewis Marshall HT), Aiden McCallion, Alex Smith; Flynn O’Brien (Zak Richford HT), Jose Calela (Jayden Fitzpatrick 59 mins), Murray Shaw (Brandon Ramage HT).

The action moved to Barrowfield on Sunday and my intention was to take in the U16 game at 11am, but I went along early and watched a fair bit of the U14’s game. In the part of the game I watched Rangers were the better team and had more and clearer chances. Celtic won the game with the only goal from a free-kick with virtually the last kick of the ball.

Celtic 1 Rangers 2

A Finlay Curtis strike and an Own Goal saw Rangers winning comfortably but a slack defensive pass allowed Celtic to pull a goal back with virtually the last kick of the game.

In the early part of the game goalmouth action was at premium and there was almost a half-hour on the clock when Rangers took the lead. From a free-kick on the edge of the box  and left of centre Finlay Curtis fired a shot into the keepers bottom right hand corner. Five minutes later Lewis Stewart cut inside a defender on the edge of the box before shooting just wide of the keeper’s left hand post.

Celtic had a chance a couple of minutes later, a cross in from the left was knocked just wide of the far post. Six minutes before the break a through ball sent Lewis Stewart racing clear, his shot beat the keeper but went wide of the post.

Rangers doubled their lead two minutes before the break, Jack Wylie progressed on the right and his cross into the penalty area was diverted past the keeper by a defender for an Own Goal.

Half-Time:- Celtic 0 Rangers 2

A couple of minutes into the second half Jack Wylie broke down the right and passed inside to Finlay Curtis and his twenty-five yarder forced the keeper to tip over. The game then entered an extended period where neither keeper was troubled and was only really noted for a series of substitutions.

In the dying seconds a slack pass across the Rangers eighteen yard box allowed Ronan Ferns to break into the box and reduce the deficit. The referee blew for time up on Rangers restarting the game.

Full-Time:- Celtic 1 Rangers 2

Celtic:- Jamie Miekle; Cole Crawford, Robbie Heron, Samuel Isiguzo, Andrew Kyle; Kalvin Bennett (Ryan Hamilton); Aidan Borland, Finlay Hale (Ronan Ferns 61 mins); Tom Pickford, Tyrere McDonnell (Aidan Haddow 61 mins), Rhys Dargle (Ryan Gaughan 61 mins)

Not Used:- Coray Shaw (Gk), Cruz Dunbar.

Rangers:- Alfie Halliwell; Jack Wylie, Kenzie McClelland (Duncan Barlow HT), Connor Campbell, Cameron Scott; Leo Fisher, Callum Adamson; Finlay Curtis; Lyle Wark (Grant Marchant 61 mins), Josh Gentles (Chris Eadie HT), Lewis Stewart (Jayden Fitzpatrick 61 mins)

Not Used:- Colbi McQuarrie (Gk)

Colts Win At Broomhill

February 25, 2022

Broomhill 0 Rangers 2

Goals from Arron Lyall and Juan Alegria ensured Rangers Colts picked up the points in tonight’s Lowland League game Alloa. Although it was a game that Rangers were always likely to win the home side also had their chances and really should have got on the score sheet.

The home side were first to threaten when some slack defensive play from Rangers allowed Darren Smith to progress along the byline inside the right side of the box with his shot from a tight angle being turned wide of the near post by Jay Hogarth. Rangers then took the lead in the ninth minute, Cole McKinnon switched play from right to Arron Lyall on the left, he cut into the box and shot past Stephen Barr.

Broomhill responded immediately and when Josh Cooper fed Finlay Gray his shot from the edge of the box beat Jay Hogarth but rebounded from his right hand post. Just beyond the half hour mark a Broomhill corner fell kindly for Regan O’Sullivan who fired narrowly over.

Half-Time:- Broomhill 0 Rangers 1

Rangers had a couple of chances in the opening ten minutes of the second half and on both occasions they were denied by Stephen Barr. Producing a close range save from Arron Lyall and moments later another from Ross McCausland. Rangers doubled their lead with just under twenty minutes remaining, a fine move released Adam Devine inside the right side of the box, his shot was parried up into the air by Stephen Barr but Juan Alegria was on hand to nod into the net.

The home side were still in the game and when Evan Maley fired in a free-kick from the left hand angle of the box Jay Hogarth got down to hold on to the shot. With six minutes remaining the ball was bouncing around Rangers penalty area and Regan O’Sullivan volleyed against the underside of the bar before the ball was scrambled clear.

Rangers finished on the front foot with shots from Charlie McCann and Darren McInally both going narrowly wide of the keepers left hand post.

Full-Time:- Broomhill 0 Rangers 2

Broomhill:- Stephen Barr; Kirk McKnight, Tony Coutts (Jack MacCalman 85 mins), Regan O’Sullivan, Lewis Crawford; Josh Cooper (Aiden McLaughlin 77 mins), Mark Lamont (Ryan Sinnamon 77 mins), Connor Smith (Ryan Tierney 77 mins), Evan Maley; Finlay Gray, Darren Smith (Jordan Duncan 57 mins).

Not Used:- Adam Moss, Reegan Aitken.

Rangers:- Jay Hogarth; Adam Devine, Kyle McClelland, Johnly Yfeko, Robbie Fraser; Charlie McCann; Cole McKinnon, Kane Ritchie-Hosler (Murray Miller 65 mins); Ross McCausland (Darren McInally 81 mins), Juan Alegria (Tony Weston 75 mins), Arron Lyall.

Not Used:- Arron Cervantes (Gk)

Footnote:- Rangers U18’s recorded a 3-0 win over Celtic at The Rangers Training Centre thanks to a Tyler Pasnik hat-trick.

Colts Break Down Gretna

February 19, 2022

Gretna 2008 1 Rangers 5

It took Rangers Colts to almost the midpoint of the second half to break Gretna’s resistance. Despite taking an early lead Rangers were pegged back with the home side’s only real effort on goal over the ninety minutes. Once the second half break through came the young ‘Gers looked like scoring with every attack.

The first real effort of the match came on eight minutes, Ross McCausland attacking the right hand angle of the box, he went past a defender before shooting wide of the far post. Four minutes later Rangers missed a great chance, Arron Lyall crossed from the right, Cole McKinnon looked sure to score but headed wide of the near post.

Rangers took the lead just before the quarter hour mark, Arron Lyall fed Robbie Fraser on the left and from his low cross Juan Alegria slid in to knock the ball into the net. Rangers came close a few minutes later, Juan Alegria just failing to get a touch on Adam Devine’s volleyed cross from the right.

The sides were level on the twenty-second minute, a corner was swung in from the the left and Emile Ngoy headed goalwards, Lewis Budinauckas made a valiant attempt to keep the ball out but the referee correctly judged the ball had crossed the line. Rangers response saw Arron Lyall cut in from the left but shot straight at Sam Henderson.

Rangers missed a great chance to go back in front on twenty-seven minutes, Cole McKinnon’s chipped pass picked out Adam Devine inside the box and close to the byline, he volleyed across the six yard box to the unmarked Juan Alegria who with the goal at his mercy knocked the ball over. Within a minute Kyle McCausland progressed along the right hand byline with Sam Henderson saving at his near post.

Just beyond the half hour mark Arron Lyall attacked the left side of the penalty area where he exchanged passes with Kane Ritchie-Hosler but his shot from a tight angle was blocked by Sam Henderson. The final effort on goal of the first half was another from Arron Lyall, cutting inside from the left he again forced a save from Sam Henderson.

Half-Time – Gretna 2008 1 Rangers 1

Rangers had an early effort in the second half from a Cole McKinnon free-kick on the edge of the box that Sam Henderson matched with a diving save. With the hour mark approaching Juan Alegria headed Robbie Fraser’s corner from the right just wide of the back post.

With twenty-five minutes remaining Rangers took the lead, Kyle McCausland hit the right hand byline and from his cutback Kane Ritchie-Hosler shot past Sam Henderson. Kane Ritchie-Hosler then turned provider, breaking towards the box from midfield he passed to Arron Lyall and his shot from the edge the box brought out a fine save from Sam Henderson diving to his left.

With a quarter hour remaining Rangers increased their lead, Arron Lyall in possession wide on the left took out two defenders with a superb pass that sent Kyle McCausland free to break into the left side of the penalty area shoot across the keeper and into the net. A fourth goal soon followed, Greig Allen rising to head a cross from the right past Sam Henderson.

The scoring was completed with four minutes remaining, Darren McInally with the final pass at the end of a sequence to release Tony Weston inside the right side of the box and he shot past the keeper.

Full-Time:- Gretna 2008 1 Rangers 5

Gretna 2008:- Sam Henderson; Sean Clark, Daniel Martins, Oliver Black, Connor Duffy, Aiden Cassidy; Robbie Ivison, Dean Watson, Griffin Sabatini, Nathan Hendji, Emily Ngoy (Elie Akobeto 65 mins).

Not Used:- Toby Emerson, Kevin Onanu, Kai McCormack, Harry Hay.

Rangers:- Lewis Budinauckas; Adam Devine, Kyle McClelland, Johnly Yfeko (Greig Allen 76 mins), Robbie Fraser; Murray Miller (Tony Weston 62 mins); Cole McKinnon, Kane Ritchie-Hosler; Kyle McCausland (Robbie Ure 85 mins), Juan Alegria (Charlie Lindsay 76 mins), Arron Lyall (Darren McInally 85 mins).

Not Used:- Arron Cervantes (Gk), Connor Allan.

Academy Hosts Carlisle United

February 13, 2022

Rangers Academy hosted Carlisle United in a double header at The Rangers Training Centre today. I only knew about one game, so missed the U14 (2009’s) game which Rangers won 4-2.

Rangers 4 Carlisle United 1

Only found out about the younger group’s game when I arrived for the U16’s (2007’s) which Rangers won comfortably. Despite going a goal behind it always looked likely the young Rangers would be too strong for their English opponents.

Rangers first chance came when the ball was passed forward to Trialist No. 11 on the left, he passed inside to Chris Eadie who forced a save from the keeper. Soon after Jack Wylie came close with a long range effort was only just wide of the keeper’s left hand post.

The visitors then took the lead against the run of play, a good pass released their attacker inside the left side of the penalty area and the ball was slotted past Greig Thackray. Rangers levelled before the end of the first half hour period, Trialist No.3 was the creator with a run and cross from the left that was finished at the back post with a superb Lewis Stewart volley.

Rangers took the lead early in the second period, Josh Gentles shot from inside the right side of the box had decent power but the Carlisle keeper will de disappointed as  the ball slipped through his grasp. The keeper redeemed himself with a superb tip over from a Josh Gentles twenty-five yarder a few minutes later.

An early goal in the third period extended Rangers lead, Lewis Stewart providing the pass to release Chris Eadie who found the net via the keeper’s left hand post. Chris Eadie then had another chance when a ball over the top of the Carlisle defence sent him clear, on this occasion the keeper advanced from his line to make the save.

Rangers fourth goal soon followed, Jack Wylie winning possession then providing the pass into the box for Josh Gentles to shoot past the keeper. Only a superb Alfie Halliwell save kept Rangers three goal lead intact, a corner from the left set up a close range volley at the back post that the Rangers keeper diverted wide.

Rangers were soon back on the attack with Jack Wylie cutting in from the right, his shot was deflected into the path of Josh Gentles who was denied a hat trick by a brilliant point blank save. Josh Gentles then turned provider teeing up the Trialist No.8 who’s shot from around twenty-five yards was turned wide of his right hand post by the keeper. The final chance came when Josh Gentles was played through by Chris Eadie with the Rangers striker again being denied by the keeper.

Full-Time:- Rangers 4 Carlisle 1

Rangers Squad:- Greig Thackray (Gk), Alfie Halliwell, Jack Wylie, Kenzie McClelland, Connor Campbell, Trialist No.3, Trialist No.8, Callum Adamson, Lyall Wark, Lewis Stewart, Chris Eadie, Trialist No.11, Leo Fisher, Cameron Scott, Josh Gentles, Grant Marchant.

18’s Lose At Accies

February 11, 2022

Hamilton Accies 2 Rangers 1

A disappointing night for Rangers U18’s going down to bottom club Hamilton Accies at New Douglas Park. Failure to react to a couple of second balls inside their own penalty area and a few missed chances on the night proved costly.

Rangers first opportunity came in the third minute, Tyler Pasnik’s superb pass released Robbie Ure to break into the right side of the penalty area, the keeper got a touch on his shot to divert the ball onto his right hand post and a defender was on hand to clear for a corner. The quarter hour mark had passed when some good play on the right from Tyler Pasnik saw him attack the right side of the box where he exchanged passes with Robbie Ure before shooting just over.

Midway through the half Rangers took the lead, Zander Hutton hit the right hand byline and laid the ball back to Tyler Pasnik who’s cross was headed past the keeper by Robbie Ure. Just after the half hour Robbie Ure’s pass inside the left-back sent James Graham clear to run into the right side of the penalty area, the keeper advanced from goal to block the shot and a defender threw himself in front of Tyler Pasnik’s effort from the rebound.

The next effort came from an attack on the left, Kyle Semple passing to James Graham who cut inside before shooting narrowly over. With the half entering the last ten minutes the home side equalised, when a cross from the left was headed clear no Rangers player reacted as the ball was fired past Jack McConnell from just inside the box.

Accies the took the lead on the stroke of half time, from a corner from the left Jack McConnell reacted to keep out a header at point blank range but again it was a home player who reacted to knock in the rebound.

Half-Time:- Hamilton Accies 2 Rangers 1

The home side had the better of the early stages of the second half without really threatening the Rangers goal. But it was Rangers who missed a great chance just after the hour mark, Jack Roberts racing clear on a Jack McConnell clearance, but the home keeper advanced from goal to make the block. Within minutes the keeper was called into action again, Robbie Ure in possession inside the box and close to the left hand byline chipped to the back post where Jack Roberts volleyed goalwards but the keeper somehow managed to divert the ball wide of his right hand post.

The match was inside the final quarter hour when Robbie Ure attacked the right side of the penalty area where he played a one-two with Leyton Dunlop before shooting into the side netting. Rangers had one last effort with three minutes remaining, Robbie Ure on the left hand byline laid the ball back to Jack Roberts who’s shot from inside the left hand angle of the box was straight at the keeper.

Full-Time:- Hamilton Accies 2 Rangers 1

Rangers:- Jack McConnell; Zander Hutton, Kristian Webster, Kelsey Ewan, Kyle Semple; Mackenzie Strachan, Leyton Dunlop; Robbie Ure; Tyler Pasnik, Jack Roberts, James Graham (Christian Mulindwa 74 mins).

Not Used:- Sam Kane (Gk), Harley Ewan, Niall Rogerson, Ryan Duncan, Zak Queen.

Colts Lose To Sevilla

February 8, 2022

Rangers 0 Sevilla 1

It was certainly a closer contest than the last time we met Spanish opposition in the Champions Youth League, but over the ninety minutes Sevilla were the better team and deserved their win. It was also fitting that the winning goal was scored by Carlos Alvarez who was the best player on the pitch.

Rangers started brightly and there were three minutes on the clock when Alex Lowry went past three players in midfield and passed to Cole McKinnon on the right, he played the ball forward to Ross McCausland who burst into the right side of the box with Alberto Flores beating away his shot. A couple of minutes later Cole McKinnon’s shot seemed to be deflecting into Robbie Ure’ path inside the six yard box but a superb challenge from Kike Salas cleared the ball for a corner.

On the quarter hour mark Carlos Alvarez delivered a free-kick from midway inside Rangers half and left of centre, Marcelo Exposito glanced a header just wide of the far post. A couple of minutes shy of the half hour mark Carlos Alvarez burst past three Rangers defenders into the box where the ball broke to Diego Fernandez who was denied by a Jay Hogarth point blank save.

Six minutes later and Carlos Alvarez was threatening again as he attacked the left side of the box, he passed inside to Alexandro Fernandez who’s shot deflected to Antonio Zarazana inside the right side of the box but he shot across goal and wide. In the next attack a cross from the right found Sergio Martinez unmarked inside the left side of the penalty area with Jay Hogarth again producing a fine save at point blank range.

Just before the break Carlos Alvarez received a pass from Juanlu and found his way through the Rangers defence and deep inside the penalty area, he poked the ball towards goal but was denied as Jay Hogarth blocked the effort with an outstretched foot.

Half-Time:- Rangers 0 Sevilla 0

Sevilla started the second half where they ended the first, on the front foot. Their first chance came when Antonio Zarzana on the right passed inside to Carlos Alvarez who’s shot from the edge of the box forced Jay Hogarth to save low to his right. Within seconds Carlos Alvarez found himself with a chance right in from of goal, his initial shot rebounded from Jay Hogarth’s right hand post but he reacted to net the rebound.

Ten minutes into the second half a poor throw out  gave possession to Antonio Zarzana on the right, he passed in side to Juanlu who shot straight at Jay Hogath from around twenty-five yards. The visitors came close again midway through the half, Antonio Zarzana sent a corner from the right towards the back post where Marcelo Exposito’s header forced a save from Jay Hogarth.

The game had just entered the final quarter hour when Sevilla were reduced to ten men, Marcelo Exposito shown a straight red card following an off the ball incident with Alex Lowry. Rangers had their best chance of the game with seven minutes remaining, Tony Weston played the ball inside from the left hand byline, Rory Wilson managed to force the ball past keeper Alberto Flores but Sergio Martinez was well placed to clear from the line.

The impressive Carlos Alvarez relieved the Sevilla defence going past two Rangers players before shooting straight at Jay Hogarth from distance. Rangers exerted a bit of pressure on the Sevilla defence with two minutes remaining with the ball eventually falling to Alex Lowry on the edge of the box but his shot was just too high and wide.

The Spanish side comfortably saw out the six minutes of injury time to progress to the next round.

Full-Time:- Rangers 0 Sevilla 1

Rangers:- Jay Hogarth; Adam Devine, Kyle McClelland, Leon King, Robbie Fraser; Murray Miller; Cole McKinnon, Charlie Lindsay (Tony Weston 53 mins); Ross McCausland (Arron Lyall 72 mins), Robbie Ure (Rory Wilson 81 mins), Alex Lowry.

Not Used:- Lewis Budinauckas (Gk), Greig Allen, Johnly Yfeko, Connor Allan;

Sevilla:- Alberto Flores; Angel Mancheno, Dario Benavides, Kike Salas, Sergio Martinez; Marcelo Exposito; Antonio Zarzana (Juanan Aguilera 86 mins), Juanlu, Carlos Alvarez; Diego Fernandez (Manu Bueno 72 mins), Alexandro Fernandez (Gonzalo Guzman 89 mins).

Not Used:- Adrian Romero (Gk), Pablo Riviera, Ivan Salguero, Juan Gonzalez.

UEFA Youth League – Sevilla

February 7, 2022

UEFA Youth League Opponents – Sevilla

Looking forward to tomorrow’s UEFA Youth League tie against Seville and I thought it would be interesting to have a look at our opponents. Will they compare with the Atletico Madrid side we face two years ago, who were a level above us on the day.

On paper they don’t look to be at that level, all players who have played in this season Champions Youth League are Spanish with only two young Senegalese players listed in the squad, but neither have featured. Only four players have represented Spain at youth level.

The Spanish side finished second, a point behind Red Bull Salzburg and a point ahead of Lille in Group G, with Wolfsburg who gained their only point in a 1-1 draw at home to Sevilla, the also rans.

Sevilla gained their points with home wins over Wolfsburg and Salzburg, an away win and home draw with Lille and their only defeat coming away to Salzburg.

It seems pretty likely that the keeper will be 18 year old Alberto Flores who played in all six group games conceding three goals. Another 18 year old Adrian Romero has been the substitute keeper for all six ties.

The Spanish side will be without two defenders who started in all their six group games, Diego Jimenez and Diego Hormigo both picked up three yellow cards in the group games so are suspended for tomorrows tie. Centre of defence should consist of Kike Salas and Dario Benevides. Salas is an overage player who played ever minute in the group stage and is a regular with Sevilla Atletico, the reserve side. His centre back partner Benevides will be a goal threat having scored against Lille and Wolfsburg.

Benevides

Dario Benevides

The right back role is likely to be filled by Angel Mancheno who only started one group game but has been a regular sub. Sergio Martinez will be favourite for left back having started in a couple of group games, with Carlos Calero providing back up.

Used sparsely in the UEFA Youth League only starting in one game, Juanlu Sanchez could feature. A regular with the reserve side he played in a Copa Del Rey tie and has four minutes La Liga experience coming on against Barcelona in December. He has 11 Spanish youth caps from U16 through to U19.

Sanchez

Juanlu Snachez

Looking sure to start in midfield are Marcello Exposito and Manu Bueno who has been in international youth squads with out playing a game. Both started in every group match with Exposito playing every minute.

Right midfield probable is over age player Antonio Zarzana  has nine youth caps a various levels and is a regular at Champions Youth League and Reserve level. Pablo Rivera has made six substitute appearances in the six games so the bench beckons I think. Antonio Arcos another overage player was capped at U16 and Carlos Alvarez  who has an impressive twenty-three youth caps, are two players who have featured and will push for a starting slot in midfield. More likely to feature from the subs bench are Daniel Liduena, Jose Antonio Lopez and Gonzalo Guzman.

Zarzana

Antonio Zarzana

The striker role looks like a definite and one from two. Overage player Alexandro Fernandez appears a definite starter, having captained the side in all six games scoring once. The choice for his partner is between Diego Rodriguez (one goal from one start and five sub appearances) or Diego Fernandez (two goals from three starts).

Fwernandez

Alexandro Fernandez

Should be a good test for the Young ‘Gers and hopefully progress to the last sixteen.