Livingston Double Header

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.

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