Archive for August, 2022

Three Defeats For The Academy

August 28, 2022

Following on from Friday night’s Under 18 win over Celtic the clubs would meet at various age groups over the weekend. So it was an opportunity to watch the 14’s, 15’s and 16’s games. Not a good weekend results wise, losing one game to the odd goal in nine and suffering two heavy defeats.

I’ve watched academy football since the day it started and I’m well aware that results are not important in the big scheme of things, but it surely must be one of the aspects to measure progress and where you are in the process of developing young players.

Rangers 1 Celtic 6

First game of the weekend was the Under 15’s at The Rangers Training Centre on Saturday mornoing. Rangers were obviously always second best in the game but suffered a late collapse after the third goal just when it looked like they had battled back into the game.

Celtic had a chance in the opening minute with an attack into the left side of the penalty area and Ben Coutts dived to his right to make the save. Two minutes later Celtic took the lead, the ball was moved along the edge of the box from left to right where the shot was fired past the keeper.

Another chance soon followed and a cross from the left hand byline and volley saw another save to his right from Ben Coutts. Rangers first foray forward gave a glimmer of a chance for Brandon Ramage with the keeper saving bravely at the striker’s feet.

Just before the half hour mark Thomas Forrester broke forward and passed to Brandon Ramage who’s shot from the left side of the box forced a save from the keeper. Ten minutes before the break some good play on the right from Aidan McCallion saw him exchange passes with Brandon Ramage but his shot from the right side of the penalty area was wide of the far post.

Right on half time Celtic scored a second,  a free-kick wide on the left and an unchallenged header did the damage.

Half-Time:- Rangers 0 Celtic 2

Rangers had the first chance after the break through Brandon Ramage with the keeper coming from his goal to make the save. Celtic then missed a great chance on the hour, Rangers lost the ball on the right side of their own box and when the ball was centred it was fired over a gaping goal.

Within a minute Rangers were back in the game, the Celtic keeper lost possession outside his penalty area, Murray Shaw knocked the ball goalwards from around twenty-five yards and the keeper couldn’t get back to prevent it crossing the line. Within two minutes Celtic had restored their two goal advantage, Rangers losing the ball on the edge of the box from where it was fired past the keeper.

Celtic then had another chance but on this occasion Colbi McQuarrie blocked the shot with his foot. With twenty minutes remaining Celtic increased their lead, the attack was into the right side of the box from where it was fired into the net.  Five minutes later Rangers lost a fifth, coming from a corner from the right and a header.

The sixth goal soon followed, Rangers cleared to the edge of the box but from there the shot beat the keeper. Rangers had the final effort of the game, Evan Molloy breaking forward from defence through two challenges before shooting just over.

Full-Time:- Rangers 1 Celtic 6

Rangers:- Ben Coutts (Gk), Colbi McQuarrie (Gk), Jack Caldwell, Evan Molloy, Olly Hynd, Thomas Falconer, Lewis Marshall, Aidan McCallion, Alex Smith, Ronald Nimyel, Brandon Ramage, Flynn O’Brien, Zak Richford, Sam McLachlan, Matthew McIvor, Murray Shaw, Jose Calela.

 

Celtic 5 Rangers 4

Next up was the Under 16 game at Barrowfield on Sunday morning. It seemed in the early stages every attack would produce a goal with Rangers 4-2 down after sixteen minutes and the game level at 4-4 after thirty two. From a Rangers point of view they worked hard to create some good goals but would be disappointed at some they lost.

Rangers took the lead on six minutes, a superb run from Lancelot Pollard took him past two defenders on the left, he passed to Finlay Curtis on the right side of the box and he shot across Jamie Meikle and into the net. Three minutes later the Rangers defence was caught out by a long ball allowing Eseosa Sule to race clear and shoot past Greig Thackray.

A further two minutes had passed when a poor pass put Rangers under pressure on the right side of the box where Niall Rogerson tripped the attacker and Eseosa Sule scored from the spot. It took Rangers barely sixty seconds to draw level, Harry Weir providing the through ball for Josh Gentles to shoot past the keeper.

A minute later Niall Rogerson was a bit short with his pass back and the attacker got there before Greig Thackray who brought him down for a second penalty which Eseosa Sule again converted. Back to the other end and Finlay Curtis sent Lyle Wark down the right then received the ball back from his cutback but shot straight at the keeper.

We had only played sixteen minutes when Celtic doubled their lead, Eseosa Sule doing the work on the left hand byline with his ball across goal converted by Aidan Borland. Five minutes later Harry Weir passed to Josh Gentles inside the right side of the box and his well struck shot went through the legs of Jamie Meikle.

The end to end stuff continued with Celtic moving the ball across the eighteen yard box from from right to left finishing with a shot off Greig Thackray’s right hand post. Harry Weir then worked his way along the right hand byline with Jamie Miekle saving his shot from a narrow angle.

Chances at both ends kept coming and when Finlay Curtis crossed from the right hand angle of the box Lancelot Pollard’s header at the back post was deflected wide. Two minutes beyond the half hour a superb Lancelot Pollard pass was the source of Rangers equaliser, Josh Gentles again providing the finish.

Eseosa Sule raced clear three minutes before the break, Greig Thackray forced him wide which enabled him to save the shot from a tight angle. The final action of the half saw a Finlay Curtis twenty-five yarder tipped over by Jamie Meikle.

Half-Time:- Celtic 4 Rangers 4

Ten minutes into the second half Greig Thackray saved at his near post after Celtic broke into the left side of the box. When the ball from the corner broke kindly for the home side Greig Thackray produced a better save from a powerful shot through a crowded penalty area,

Rangers response saw Lewis Stewart cut in from the right before shooting just over. With twenty-five minutes remaining Rangers cleared a corner from their penalty area but Greig Thackray was forced to save low to his right when the shot came in.

Celtic took the lead with a quarter hour remaining, a pass through the inside right channel sent Eseosa Sule clear to continue into the box and shoot past the keeper. A similar chance soon followed but on this occasion Greig Thackray came from his line to spread himself and make the block.

With ten minutes remaining Celtic were reduced to ten men when Aidan Borland received a second yellow and subsequent red card for a rash challenge on Lancelot Pollard. The final effort of the match saw Jack Wylie try his luck from distance but the shot was straight at the keeper.

Full-Time:- Celtic 5 Rangers 4

Celtic:- Jamie Meikle, Cole Crawford, Andrew Kyle, Ronan Ferns, Samuel Isiguzo, Kalvin Bennett, Tom Pickford, Aidan Borland, Eseosa Sule, Robert Rachwal, Rhys Dargie.

Subs:- Marcus Gill, Cruz Dunbar, Finlay Hale, Sean McArdle, Ryan Gaughan, Ryan Hamilton

Rangers:- Greig Thackray, Arran Kerr (Duncan Barlow HT), Jack Wylie, Niall Rogerson (Kenzie McLelland 56 Mins), Connor Campbell; Grant Leitch (Leo Fisher HT); Lyle Wark (Grant Marchant HT), Harry Weir (Lewis Stewart HT); Finlay Curtis, Josh Gentles, Lancelot Pollard.

Not Used:- Ben Coutts (Gk)

 

Celtic 6 Rangers 2

The final game of the weekend was the Under 14’s, watched through a mesh fence on the all weather pitch. With a horror first two periods I wouldn’t have been too disappointed with a more restricted view. If there was a positive they did win the final period but the game was long gone by then.

Celtic took the lead in the opening minute through an own goal, the ball was played across goal from the right hand byline and it was diverted past the keeper by a Rangers defender. Rangers were forced into a change on four minutes where Stevie Nixon appeared to turn his ankle and was replaced by Connor Owen.

Celtic doubled their lead on eight minutes, their attacker going through two challenges into the left side of the penalty area before shooting past Sam Reid. Rangers eventually got into their opponents half, Ben Hutton winning possession on the left side of the box and passing to Callum Young who’s weak shot was comfortably saved.

When Celtic attacked around the quarter hour mark they got the break of the ball and Sam Reid was forced to make the save. Four minutes before the end of the period the Celtic player was pulled back inside the right side of the box and the penalty was converted.

A break of the ball inside the the box allowed them to score a fourth before the period ended. It was Celtic on the attack early in the second period and Arron McAlonan parried a cross from the right then reacted well to save the shot from the loose ball.

Rangers then gave possession away inside the left side of their own box with the shot bouncing off the far post.  A Callum Stewart through ball set up a race between the keeper and Rory McKay with the keeper making a brave save.

Rangers then had their best effort of the game so far with Euan Gray’s shot from the edge of the box and left of centre forcing the keeper to dive to his left and make the save. Celtic’s response was to add a further two goals, an attack to the right hand byline and cut back providing the first. Then a cross from the left hand angle was knocked past the keeper. The period ended with a cross from the right to the back post being knocked back across goal and Arron McAlonan producing a fine save from close range.

Seven minutes into the final period Rangers got on the scoresheet, Josh Carson’s free-kick from the edge of the box beating the keeper. Josh Carson now had a sight for goal and his next free kick from around twenty-five yards forced the keeper to tip over.

Then another shot from the right hand angle of the box was only just too high. Rangers ended the game with a second goal, good play and cross from Euen Gray on the left found Callum Young at the back post where he knocked the ball into the net.

Full-Time:- Celtic 6 Rangers 2

Rangers Squad:- Sam Reid (Gk), Arron McAlonan (Gk), Jayden Millarvie (Gk), Ashton Patton, Josh Carson, Stevie Nixon, Lewis Smith, Oliver Preston, Ben Hutton, Lewis Moore, Euen Gray, Callum Young, Ally Shaw, Connor Owen, Pedro Chico, Rory McKay, Callum Stewart.

 

Footnote:- Rangers U13’s beat Celtic 12- 4 in what is a 9-a-side game on Saturday, but I wasn’t at the game.

Old Firm Win For U18’s

August 26, 2022

Rangers 3 Celtic 1

It was certainly a game of two halves tonight at the Rangers Training Centre, Rangers had goalkeeper Mason Munn to thank for keeping them level at the break. There was a big improvement after half time and on that showing they deserved their victory even if they weren’t quite as dominant as Celtic had been in the first half.

The Rangers keeper was first called into to action in the fifth minute when Danny Kelly latched on to a loose ball to shoot from the edge of the box with Mason Munn diving to his left to make the save. Two minutes later Celtic broke deep into the left side of Rangers box and Mason Munn blocked Danny Kelly’s shot at his near post.

The visitors came closer still on eleven minutes, Jude Bonnar’s free-kick from the left hand angle of the box coming back off the crossbar. Within a minute Jude Bonnar was cutting in from the left and again Mason Munn was forced to make the save at his near post.

Around the midpoint of the half Jude Bonnar broke into the left side of the box and on this occasion Mason Munn dived left to parry the shot. Rangers had shown very little in attack but just beyond the half hour Bailey Rice picked out Tyler Pasnik inside the left side of the penalty area, he headed across goal and Cameron Cooper’s header had Kai McLean stretching to clutch under the crossbar.

Two minutes before the break Colbi Donovan attacked on the right and played in the overlapping Benny Luyeye Jackson with Mason Munn standing up to make the save at his near post.

Half-Time:- Rangers 0 Celtic 0

Rangers were first to threaten after the break, Cameron Cooper passing to Archie Stevens who broke into the right side of the box and forcing a save from Kai Mclean. Two minutes later Rangers took the lead, Cammy Scott won possession and passed to Tyler Pasnik who shot into the keeper’s bottom left hand corner from the edge of the box.

Just before the hour mark Rangers doubled their lead, Bailey Rice switching play from deep inside his own half and towards the left to Archie Stevens on the right, allowing him to break into the penalty area and shoot past Kai McLean. Archie Stevens then hit the right hand byline and passed to Paul Nsio who laid the ball back to Tyler Pasnik who’s shot from the edge of the box was deflected over.

Rangers then missed a great chance to extend their lead, Mason Munn’s clearance sent Archie Stevens racing clear but his shot was narrowly wide of the keeper’s right hand post. Midway through the second half Celtic reduced the deficit, Colbi Donovan attacked on the right and played in Corey Thomson who’s shot took a deflection and looped over Mason Munn and into the net.

A couple of minutes later when a Celtic corner came in from the right the referee spotted an infringement and pointed to the spot. Lewis Dobbie stepped up but was foiled by a fine Mason Munn save diving low to his right. Rangers capitalised on their keeper’s excellence by extending their lead, Tyler Pasnik’s through ball sending Archie Stevens clear to continue into the box and slot past Kai McLean.

With ten minutes remaining Archie Stevens corner from the right went beyond the back post where Kristian Webster’s header beat Kai McLean but Mitchell Robertson headed from the line. Within seconds Kai McLean spilled the ball but somehow Jack Roberts couldn’t force the ball over the line.

The final action saw Celtic attack on the left and when the cross came in an attacker and defender attacked the ball and it deflected towards the back post where Mason Munn clawed it away.

Full-Time:- Rangers 3 Celtic 1

Rangers:- Mason Munn; Zander Hutton, Greig Allen (Leyton Grant 58 Mins), Kristian Webster, Jamie Newton (Cammy Scott HT); Cammy Bell, Bailey Rice (Christian Mulindwa 78 Mins); Paul Nsio; Archie Stevens, Cameron Cooper (Jack Roberts 58 Mins), Tyler Pasnik (Kieron Willox 78 Mins).

Not Used:- Sam Kane (Gk), Kerr Robertson

Celtic:- Kai McLean; Benny Luyeye Jackson, Caleb Goldie, Mitchell Robertson, Magnus McKenzie; Evan Easton; Corey Thomson; Danny Kelly; Colbi Donovan, Lewis Dobbie, Jude Bonnar

Accies Double Header

August 21, 2022

Today gave me the opportunity for a double header at Hamilton’s New Douglas Park. The U14’s edged a win thanks to a stunning Josh Carson hat-trick, while the U16’s were on the end of a heavy defeat, having been up against it following keeper Alfie Halliwell’s early red card.

Hamilton Accies 2 Rangers 3

First up this morning was the Under 14’s game and the home side had an early chance breaking through the centre of Rangers defence with Jayden Millarvie saving low to his left. There were seven minutes on the clock when Accies broke into the right side of the penalty area and Jayden Millarvie pushed the shot over.

Six minutes before the end of the period Accies took the lead, from a free-kick on the left hand angle of the box the shot went over the keeper and off the under side of the bar and into the net. Rangers only real chance of the first period came close to the end, Ally Shaw on the right passed inside to Callum Young who played in Luke Moore inside the right side of the box but he shot wide of the far post.

Rangers had a chance at the start of the second period, Louis Shaw crossing from the left and with Callum Young stretching he could only knock the ball wide of the far post. The home side then had a chance breaking into the left side of the penalty area with Sam Reid making the save.

With the midpoint of the period approaching Rangers drew level, Josh Carson stepped up to hit a free-kick on the edge of the box and left of centre which sneaked past the keeper at his near post. Accies had a chance just before the end of the period, breaking through the inside left channel the ball was passed inside to the centre forward who shot just wide of the keeper’s left hand post.

Accies had the first chance of the final period after some good play on the right but the shot was wide of the far post. Within a  minute Pedro Chico passed to Josh Carson and his effort from distance was touched wide of  his left hand post by the keeper. 

The homes side then took the lead when a free-kick from the left was headed past Aaron McAlonan at the back post. With eleven minutes remaining Rangers were awarded a free-kick fully thirty yards from goal, up stepped Josh Carson to give the keeper no chance with an unstoppable shot into his top left hand corner.

Josh Carson then replicated that strike from open play, picking up a loose ball twenty-five yards out and again finding the keeper’s top left had corner with a superb strike. The home side came close to levelling right at the death, breaking into the left side of the box they were denied when Arron McAlonan came from goal to make the block. From the resultant corner from the left the ball was headed against Rangers crossbar before being cleared.

Full Time:- Hamilton Accies 2 Rangers 3

Rangers Squad:- Jayden Millarvie (Gk), Sam Reid (Gk), Arron McAlonan (Gk), Ashton Patton, Josh Carson, Stevie Nixon, Lewis Smith, Aiden Crilly, Ben Hutton, Luke Moore, Ally Shaw, Callum Young, Euen Gray, Pedro Chico, Callum Stewart, Oliver Preston, Louis Shaw.

 

Hamilton Accies 6 Rangers 2

Rangers had the first sight of goal on ten minutes, Connor Campbell breaking forward and receiving the return ball from a neat Josh Gentles flick to continue into the left side of the box before shooting wide of the far post. Rangers were forced into a change just before the quarter hour mark when the injured Jack Wylie was replaced by Kenzie McLelland.

Five minutes later Alfie Halliwell came racing from his box to clatter the Accies forward and was shown a straight red card. Josh Gentles was sacrificed for sub keeper Greig Thackray. Accies then missed a great chance created on the left side of the box but when the ball was squared it was fired over.

Greig Thackray was then called into to action twice around the midpoint of the half. First blocking a shot with his legs when Accies broke into the right side of the box. Then stretching to tip over a curling shot from the left hand angle of the box.

Accies took the lead just beyond the half hour, the impressive Cormac Daly hitting the right hand byline and squaring the ball for a simple tap in. When the ball was hooked a cross goal from the right hand byline a second Accies goal looked certain but the header clipped the bar on the way over.

Rangers had a rare venture forward when Lancelot Pollard went past a defender to break down the left before passing inside to Lewis Stewart and his shot forced the keeper to dive to his left to make the save. Accies the doubled their lead with an attack into the left side of the box, taking on a defender and shooting past the keeper.

Half-Time:- Hamilton Accies 2 Rangers 0

The game had a bit of a lull at the start of the second half and it had passed the hour mark when the home side broke quickly into the right side of the box with the shot being straight at Greig Thackray. Midway through the half Rangers got back into the game, Lyle Wark chased the ball to the right hand byline and inside the penalty area where he went past a defender and beat the keeper from a narrow angle.

Within five minutes the home side restored their two goal lead, a fine reverse pass releasing the midfielder inside the centre of the box to shoot past Greig Thackray. Rangers responded immediately with Connor Campbell’s pass freeing Lancelot Pollard inside the left side of the penalty area to poke the ball past the keeper.

Some neat passing on the right side of the box then opened up the Rangers defence and the the striker squared the ball from the right hand byline it was knocked into the net. Another attack on the right and ball across the box provided a fifth goal for Accies.

The scoring was completed when a through ball allowed the home side to break on the right into the penalty area and finish with a shot past the keeper.

Full-Time:- Hamilton Accies 6 Rangers 2

 

Rangers:- Alfie Halliwell; Arran Kerr (Duncan Barlow HT), Jack Wylie (Kenzie McLelland 14 Mins), Leo Fisher, Connor Campbell; Grant Leitch; Grant Marchant, Harry Weir (Lyle Wark HT); Lancelot Pollard, Josh Gentles (Greig Thackray 19 mins), Lewis Stewart (Cammy Scott 79 Mins)

Three Goal Wins For 14’s & 16’s

August 17, 2022

Rangers Under 14’s and Under 16’s both recorded 3-0 wins over Queens’ Park at The Rangers Training Centre tonight. As is the norm when their is a fixture clash I cover the older age group.

Rangers 3 Queens Park 0

Rangers took the lead in the opening minute when Harry Weir provided the pass to send Chris Eadie clear into the left side of the penalty area where he shot across the keeper and into the net. Five minutes later Greig Thackray failed to gather a corner from the left and the ball was about to cross the line when it was cleared.

Rangers were next to come close Lewis Stewart’s pass releasing Chris Eadie, his shot looped off the body of the keeper towards goal but a defender got back to clear. There was twenty minutes on the clock when a Lancelot Pollard solo run took him past a couple of defenders and into the left side of the box but he shot across the keeper was just wide of the far post. 

Rangers doubled their lead on the half hour mark, Grant Leitch passed to Josh Gentles on the edge of the box and he slipped Lewis Stewart through, who found the net despite the keeper getting a touch on his shot. Five minutes later only a brilliant save prevented a third Rangers goal, Harry Weir passed the ball forward and Josh Gentles flick sent Lewis Stewart down the left, his cross was perfect for the head of Harry Weir  but the keeper produced a stunning point blank save.

The visitors came close a couple of minutes later when a corner from the left broke loose inside the six yard box but a block at close range diverted the shot over.

Half-Time:- Rangers 2 Queens Park 0

There was an early chance for Rangers when Josh Gentles latched onto a loose ball to break through the middle with the keeper coming from his line to make the block. Just before the hour Arran Kerr crossed from the right and a superb Lewis Stewart first touch got the ball under control but he knocked the ball just wide of the keeper’s left hand post.

Queens Park created a chance with a break through the centre of Rangers defence, Alfie Halliwell got enough of a block on the shot to allow Jack Wylie to get back and clear from in front of goal. With a quarter hour remaining a good move ended with Lancelot Pollard breaking into the right side of the box where he squared to Lewis Stewart who poked the ball past the keeper but just wide of the keeper’s left hand post.

Lewis Stewart then latched on to a poor clearance from the keeper who redeemed himself by saving bravely at the attacker’s feet. Rangers third goal came with eight minutes remaining, another fine move released Lancelot Pollard to break on the right, he continued into the penalty area where he passed to Lewis Stewart who stepped inside a defender before shooting past the keeper.

The final chance came when Josh Gentles won possession twenty-five yards out and he sent Lancelot Pollard clear but was denied by the keeper who came from his line to make the block

Full-Time:- Rangers 3 Queens Park 0

Rangers:- Greig Thackray (Alfie Halliwell HT); Arran Kerr, Jack Wylie, Duncan Barlow (Kenzie McLelland HT), Connor Campbell; Leo Fisher; Grant Leitch (Grant Marchant HT), Harry Weir (Grant Marchant HT); Lancelot Pollard, Chris Eadie (Josh Gentles 25 mins), Lewis Stewart.

Footenote:- The U14’s kicked off a bit earlier and I was able to watch the game to around the halfway mark of the second period with the score still at 0-0. Goals followed from Rory McKay, Ally Shaw & Callum Young two secure the win.

U14’s Snatch Late Win

August 14, 2022

Kilmarnock 1 Rangers 2

Ben Hutton’s header with virtually the last touch of the game gave Rangers Under 14’s victory at The William McIlvanney Campus this morning. It was a bit harsh on the Killie side who would have been well worthy of a draw.

Rangers came close on nine minutes when Ashton Patton played in Callum Young inside the left side of the penalty area, he knocked the ball past the keeper but a defender was on hand to clear in front of goal. Six minutes before the end of the first period Rangers took the lead, the ball was played to Josh Carson right of centre and around twenty-five yards out, his cross come shot sailed over the keeper and into the net.

A couple of minutes later Euan Gray laid the ball back to Ben Hutton on the edge of the box and he shot just wide of the keeper’s right hand post. The second period saw few chances and it was the home side with the best chance early in the period, the ball broke to a Killie player inside and the box and the shot was just wide of the keeper’s right hand post.

Kilmarnock had a great chance to draw level in the opening minute of the third period, the initial attack came onto the left side of the box and when the shot came in Arron McAlonan dived to his let to turn the ball wide. From the corner the ball was handled by a Rangers defender and the referee pointed to the spot, the penalty was hit straight down the middle and Arron McAlonan made the save.

The home side another chance from inside the left side of the penalty area just before the period turn round but shot wide of the far post. The game was inside the final ten minutes when Kilmarnock drew level, a pass sent them through the middle of Rangers defence and the ball was prodded past Arron McAlonan.

With time almost up Rangers had a free-kick just wide of the right hand angle of the box, Louis Shaw swung the ball into the box and Ben Hutton rose to head past the keeper. The referee blew for time up when Killie restarted the game.

Full-Time:- Kilmarnock 1 Rangers 2

Rangers Squad:- Sam Reid (Gk), Jayden Millarvie (Gk), Arron McAlonan (Gk), Rory McKay, Josh Carson, Stevie Nixon, Lewis Smith, Callum Stewart, Ben Hutton, Ashton Patton, Euen Gray, Callum Young, Louis Shaw, Pedro Chico, Oliver Preston, Aiden Crilly, Ally Shaw, Luke Moore.

Challenge Cup Progress For Colts

August 11, 2022

Spartans 0 Rangers 1

Alex Lowry’s superb free-kick was enough to see Rangers progress to the next round of The Challenge Cup where they have a home tie against Dumbarton. Whether that means a “home” tie away from home remains to be seen.

It was just over a week ago when these two sides met in the Lowland League at Dumbarton, a game which Rangers won by three goals to nil. With players dropping down for game time there were four changes to the starting eleven from that game. Mateusz Zukowski, Leon King, Adam Devine and Stephen Kelly coming in for Jack Harkness, Connor Allan, Robbie Fraser and Mackenzie.

It was a disappointing ninety minutes with neither keeper troubled on two many occasions, the first half in particular had me struggling to find any incident of note to report on. There was twenty-five minutes on the clock when Lewis MacKinnon rose to head Alex Lowry’s corner from the right goalwards with Adam Meek saving comfortably. Five minutes later some good play from Adam Devine took him to the left hand byline and from his low cross Robbie Ure was crowded out at the near post.

Another chance quickly followed when Alex Lowry’s pass inside Mikey Allan released Ross McCausland inside the right side of the penalty area but he shot into the side netting. The home side pressurised the Rangers defence on a couple of occasions but failed to trouble Lewis Budinauckas as the half finished goal less.

Half-Time:-Spartans 0 Rangers 0

Five minutes after the break the home side came close to breaking the deadlock, Cammy Russell’s strike from around twenty-five yards beat Lewis Budinauckas but came back of the crossbar. Rangers went straight to the other end with Mateusz Zukowski going past a defender to the right hand byline and when he crossed to the back post Zak Lovelace looked sure to score but he headed wide.

Rangers next chance came just before the hour mark, Alex Lowry swinging in a corner from the right and Mateusz Zukowski heading narrowly over. A further six minutes had elapsed when Alex Lowry stepped up for a free-kick on the edge of the box and right of centre with his shot on this occasion going straight to Adam Meek.

The deadlock was broken with a quarter hour remaining, another free-kick on the edge of the box, this time left of centre, again up steps Alex Lowry and on this occasion he shoots round the wall and inside the keeper’s right hand post. Neither keeper was troubled in the closing minutes with Rangers comfortably seeing out the game.

Full-Time:- Spartans 0 Rangers 1

Spartans:- Adam Meek; Michael Herd (Alan Brown HT), Jordan Tapping, Calum Burns, Mikey Allan; Ian McFarland (Scott Maxwell 67mins); Gregor Woods (Jamie Dishington 67 Mins), Rhys Armstrong (Blair Henderson 78 Mins), Sam Jones, Cammy Russell; Sean Brown (Brad Whyte 67 Mins).

Not Used:- Blair Carswell (Gk), Chris Inglis.

Rangers:- Lewis Budinauckas (Gk); Mateusz Zirkowski, Lewis McKinnon, Leon King, Adam Devine; Stephen Kelly (Charlie Lindsay 78 Mins); Alex Lowry, Charlie McCann; Ross McCausland (Kane Ritchie-Hosler 58 Mins), Robbie Ure, Zak Lovelace.

Not Used:- Jacob Pazikas (Gk), Jack Harkness, Connor Allan, Robbie Fraser, Kelsey Ewan, James Graham, Connor Young.

Livingston Double Header

August 7, 2022

Today was an opportunity to take in the U14’s and U16’s games against Livingston at The Training Centre. In their previous incarnation Livingston academy teams generally punched above their weight and produced a few good players, but in 2018 a decision was made to scrap their academy teams. So after a four year hiatus they started again in January for the new season, their teams were generally recruited from boys clubs so it has been a challenge for them against more established academy teams.

Rangers 6 Livingston 3

The U14’s were first up with a 10am kick off and the visitors stormed to a three goal lead before Rangers came back strongly to win the game.

Livingston had an early chance when they broke into the left side of the penalty area bit the shot went narrowly wide of the far post. On ten minutes Rory McKay on the right passed inside to Ashton Patton who shot straight at the keeper.

Two minutes later the visitors took the lead, Rangers lost possession and Livingston broke into the right side of the box and the ball was fired past the keeper. Rangers came close on a few occasions in the minutes before the end of the first period, Josh Carson’s effort from a free-kick was scooped wide of the right hand post of the keeper.

Oliver Preston then fed Rory McKay who broke into the left side of the box but shot wide of the near post. Josh Carson then sent Rory McKay down the right and his cross was deflected goalwards by a defender forcing a save from the keeper.

Rangers were awarded a penalty ten minutes into the second period when Ashton Patton was tripped inside the right side of the box, but his penalty was weak and the keeper saved comfortably. When the ball went up the other end the attempted pass from the Rangers keeper went straight to the striker, his initial shot was saved but he followed up to net the rebound.

Rangers responded with Euan Gray in possession on the left and he passed inside to Callum Young who saw his shot saved. Two minutes later Livingston scored a third, a corner on the right was delivered to the back post where it was headed back across goal and knocked into the net from close range.

With ten minutes of the second period remaining the ball broke kindly for Lewis Moore inside the box but his shot came back off the underside of the bar. Five minutes later Euan Gray hit the right hand byline and his cutback found Callum Younghis shot struck the hand of a defender and the referee pointed to the spot, which he duly converted.

A few minutes into the final period Callum Stewart on the left passed inside to Josh Carson who beat the keeper from outside the box. Four minutes later the sides were level, Rory McKay was brought down as he broke into the right side of the penalty area, stepping up to score from the spot.

Rangers took the lead immediately after the third period turn round, Ashton Patton breaking forward and shooting past the keeper from outside the box. Rangers were now threatening with every attack and Ally Shaw broke down the left to release Euan Gray inside the box but he shot wide of the far post. 

With four minutes remaining Rory McKay latched on to a loose ball to shoot past the keeper from the edge of the box. The scoring was completed when Rory McKay hit the right hand byline and cut the ball back for Oliver Preston to shoot past the keeper.

Full-Time:- Rangers 6 Livingston 3

Rangers Squad:- Arron McAlonan (Gk), Sam Reid (Gk), Ashton Patton, Josh Carson, Stevie Nixon, Lewis Smith, Oliver Preston, Pedro Chico, Lewis Moore, Rory McKay, Callum Young, Ally Shaw, Euan Gray, Kyle Glasgow, Callum Stewart.

Rangers 4 Livingston 3

The afternoon saw the U16’s game against a Livingston side that have on the wrong end of a few big scorelines. Rangers had ten players unavailable, mostly due to them being part of the U17’s squad at the Helvetia Cup.Going down to ten men after fourteen minutes Rangers had to come from two goals down to edge a win.

On eleven minutes Aiden McCallion took a short corner on the right and Harry Weir’s cross come shot bounced off the top of the cross bar. Three minutes later Rangers were reduced to ten men, keeper Greig Thackray raced from his box and brought down the Livingston attacker and was shown a straight red. Lewis Marshall was sacrificed to allow sub keeper Colbi McQuarrie to come on. From the resultant free-kick from the right hand angle of the box the ball found the net at the near post.

Four minutes later Livingston’s lead was doubled, a cross from the left and a glancing header found the net at the back post. Rangers hit the top of the bar again, this time a corner from the right to the back post and Grant Marchant’s header hit the woodwork.

A few minutes later Grant Marchant ht the right hand byline and ball across goal was miscued by Duncan Barlow and the keeper saved easily. Eleven minutes before the break Livingston broke down the left and when the ball was passed inside Colbi McQuarrie parried the shot, a Livingston player was impeded going for the loose ball and the referee pointed to the spot, Colbi McQuarrie dived to his left to touch the ball on to the post.

Four minutes before the break the ball was moved in from the left to Lyle Wark and his twenty-five yard effort was just wide of the keeper’s right hand post. A stunning thirty yard Harry Weir free kick reduced the deficit just before the break, firing an unstoppable shot into the keepers top left hand corner.

Half-Time:- Rangers 1 Livingston 2

Expecting a big Rangers push but it was Livingston who scored the next goal, a corner from the right and the ball broke inside the box with the shot beating Colbi McQuarrie with the aid of a deflection. Rangers grabbed a second soon after, Olly Goodbrand hit the right hand byline and his cutback broke to Kenzie McLelland on the right hand angle of the box and his shot looped over the keeper and into the net.

Oliver Goodbrand had the next chance breaking into the right side of the penalty area with the keeper coming from his line to block with his legs. The equaliser wasn’t far away and from a superb run and cross from Olly Goodbrand on the left Grant Marchant headed past the keeper.

Another cross from the left, this time from Harry Weir presented a great chance for Jose Calela but he headed wide of the keeper’s right hand post. A Livingston goal seemed certain when Colbi McQuarrie was caught in possession but he recovered to smother the ball in the ensuing scramble.

Rangers then took the lead for the first time when Harry Weir delivered a corner from the left and Kenzie McLelland rose to glance a header in off the far post. In the last action of the match the visitors came close to an equaliser that they probably deserved over the piece, a free kick from the left was delivered into the box and volleyed on to the bar, stretching to reach the rebound it was headed goalwards where Colbi McQuarrie gathered.

Full-Time:- Rangers 4 Livingston 3

Rangers:- Greig Thackray; Arran Kerr, Kenzie McLelland, Leo Fisher, Duncan Barlow (Jose Calela); Aiden McCallion (Olly Goodbrand HT), Grant Leitch; Grant Marchant; Harry Weir, Lewis Marshall (Colbi McQuarrie (Gk) 14 Mins), Lyle Wark.

Footnote:- Rangers U17’s won their 5th/6th playoff game at The Helvetia Cup beating FC Lugano 1-0.

Meanwhile the U15’s beat Livingston 3-1 at Almondvale.