Archive for the ‘Uefa’ Category

Champions League Youth Teams Draw

November 24, 2009

Rangers 2 VfB Stuttgart 2

When Rangers visited Stuttgart back in September the Bundesliga side agreed to bring a youth side to take on Rangers on the morning of the return game. This is a fantastic development and hopefully the first of many such games, perhaps it is something UEFA might consider including  before some if not all Champions League ties. The game was at the 15’s/16’s age group, with the Rangers squad  in the main under 15’s with a couple a year older and a couple a year younger. Unfortunately the West of Scotland weather meant the game had to be moved from grass to the astroturf pitch at Murray Park and was played over three thirty minute periods.

The Ibrox youngsters  got of to the perfect start, taking the lead in the first minute. Good work wide on the right by Charlie Telfer gave him the space to get in a cross from the byline to find Callum McConnell who fired home from just outside the six yard box. Just over ten minutes and a great move from left to right saw the ball go from Darren McGill  to Andy Murdoch via Callum McConnell and Frankie Owens, Charlie Telfer met Murdoch’s cross at the near post and his effort was deflected on to the post and wide.

Halfway through the first period the Stuttgart youngsters were starting to get their passing game going and their first chance ended with a shot straight at Blair Currie. A minute later they were denied by a fine save by the Rangers keeper, blocking with his legs at close range. At this stage Rangers were finding it difficult to retain possession and the visitors missed another chance when Currie made a comfortable save. It was no surprise when Stuttgart equalised on 24 minutes, a pass through the centre sent their striker through and he ran on to shoot past Currie.

The second period saw no real goal scoring chances although the visitors probably just edged it in term or possession and territorial advantage. Eight minutes into the third period Rangers regained the lead with a well worked goal. Ciaran Summers played the ball in from the left, a neat flick from Danny Hutchinson was dummied by Andy Murdoch and Blair Munn gave the keeper no chance from the edge of the box.

The lead was short lived however and a minute later a good passing move down the right saw the Stuttgart youngster clear inside the penalty area to beat substitute keeper Sam George and tie the scores. From then on the game could have gone either way with Rangers coming closest with ten minutes remaining. A cross from the right by Danny Hutchinson was met on the volley by Charlie Telfer only to see his effort rebound from the post.

Full Time:- Rangers 2 VfB Stuttgart 2

Overall a draw was probably a fair result in what was a great experience for the youngsters. I am sure both sides would have learnt something playing against a side from a different football culture. I look forward to similar initiatives in the future.

Rangers Squad :- Blair Currie, Sam George, Dylan Dykes, Greg Pescezio, Stuart Urquhart, Jordan Wilson, Andy Murdoch, Frankie Owens, Michael Mosson, Darren McGill, Callum McConnell, Charlie Telfer, Blair Munn, Ciaran Summers, Jack Donaldson, Danny Hutchinson, Blair Spittal.

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Youth Team Review Of The Season

June 15, 2009

Regular youth team watchers welcomed the start of the season in anticipation, looking forward to the current squad’s attempt to match the previous two season’s double winning sides.

With only six 1990’s (that is players in their final season at under19’s) in the squad, it was a young group of players set to take up the challenge. With Craig McShea recovering from a broken leg this number was reduced to five and  they were dealt a further blow when another, new signing Tom Miller sustained a serious knee injury in pre-season and was ruled out for almost the entire season.

August

It was a great start to the season for the lads, winning all three league games. With work and first team fixtures getting in the way I only managed along  to the first game, away to Falkirk. A late goal from substitute Rhys McCabe secured a 1-0 win.

This was followed up with a 2-1 home win over Hearts, with goals from Ross Perry and new signing from Tamworth Kane Hemmings. A week later an Archie Campbell hat-trick sealed an impressive 3-1 victory away to Aberdeen.

September

This month only saw two league games, both of which I managed to attend. First up came and Old Firm Clash at Barrowfield, and with several players unavailable it was a great defensive performance from a young Rangers side to pick up a point in a goalless draw, with Scott Durie outstanding in central defence.

They then had to come back from a goal down when former Ranger Lacine Cherif gave Kilmarnock the lead at Murray Park. With our on loan keeper Mark Weir in the Killie goal it took  another Archie Campbell goal and one from Isa Bagci to complete the successful fight back.

October

With European Qualifiers taking place and both Under 17’s and Under 19’s it impacted on the youth fixtures and there were only two again this month.

A trip to Hibs impressive new Training Centre saw the youths suffer their first defeat of the season. Over the ninety minutes Hibs were the better side in a game that saw Rangers reduced to nine men. Chris Scott was rather harshly given a straight red, and the home side went in to a 2-0 lead.  Gordon Dick pulled a goal back to give the youngsters hope, only for John Fleck to see red for retaliation.  Despite being down to nine men they almost snatched an unlikely point and only a stunning save by Hibs keeper Thomas Flynn from Danny Wilson’s free kick with the last kick of the game denied them.

In their next fixture away to St. Mirren they bounced back with a comfortable 3-0 win with goals from Campbell, Bagci and Gregg Wylde.

At Under 17’s Darren Cole, Max Wright, Gordon Dick and Kal Naismith were all selected for Scotland’s Qualifiers against San Marino, Slovakia and France. Scotland qualifying in second place, with Gordon Dick scoring in all three games.

At Under 19’s Grant Adam, Ross Perry, Stephen Stirling, Jamie Ness and Danny Wilson were selected for Scotland’s Qualifiers against Azerbaijan, San Marino and Hungary. Stephen Stirling scoring twice against San Marino and the only goal against hosts Hungary, ensuring Scotland topped the group.

In addition Arturs Vacilius and Isa Bagci were part of the successful Latvia and Turkey squads respectively.

November

A busy month, with four league games and the start of their defence of the Youth Cup. It started with a comfortable 4-0 win at home to Hamilton Accies with goals from Wylde, Campbell, Stirling & McAusland.

Six different scorers  saw them ease past Brora Rangers in the cup. Next up came Inverness CT at home and disappointingly Stephen Stirling’s goal was only enough for a point.

They got back on track with narrow victories away to Kilmarnock and home to Motherwell, 1-0(Hemmings) and 2-1 (Bagci & Campbell) respectively.

This month also saw Scotland’s under 16’s Victory Shield campaign live on Sky TV. With Adam Hunter, Michael Noble, Nicky Main, Dylan McGeough & Kyle McAusland providing the Rangers contingent.

December

Only two games before the winter break saw a couple of uninspired performances. Firstly an unspectacular 3-1 cup win over Dumbarton and then more dropped points at home in the league in a 1-1 draw with St. Mirren. The only highlight being Archie Campbell’s three goals over the two games

January & February

January was mainly friendlies to keep the squad ticking over with a league game on the last day, where a last gasp Kal Naismith strike secured the points against Dundee United.

February was a contrast to the disappointment of December. A thrilling 4-3 extra time cup win at Fir Park ( I was watching 1st team draw 0-0 at Parkhead), was followed by an excellent 2-0 victory away to Hearts, having played around an hour with 10 men.

March

As we entered the final stages of the season March looked like a good opportunity to push on, with the first  two games against the bottom two sides. It started well with a 4-0 away to Hamilton. Only to turn in the season’s poorest performance the following week, losing 2-0 at Tannadice.

With leaders Hibs also dropping points around this time it set up an intriguing top of the table clash at Murray Park. After a poor first half the youngsters found themselves 0-3 after 50 minutes. A storming second half performance with goals from Naismith & Campbell saw them back in the match. When former Ranger Ally Park handled on the line in the final minute it looked like they could grab an unlikely point, only for Kal Naismith to blast his penalty high and wide.

The boys put that disappointment behind them two weeks later to book their place in the Youth Cup Final. An easy 6-2 win over Inverness CT, in a match where they could have score even more goals.

March also saw Darren Cole, Gordon Dick & Max Wright represent Scotland Under 17’s in the elite qualifying round of the European Championships. Unfortunately Scotland lost all three games to Georgia, Italy and Austria, Max Wright scoring Scotland’s only goal.

April

The month that would decide the ultimate destination of the prizes started in similar fashion to March. A good performance saw a comfortable 4-0 win over Falkirk, only to be followed with a performance almost as poor as the previous month’s Tannadice show, losing 0-2 away to Motherwell.

Celtic then put a dent in our league hopes when in a game of very few chances they held on for a goaless draw. Both sides finishing the game with ten men, the Celtic red card coming when their defender hauled back Archie Campbell when clean through and likely to score. The only other real chance came in the dying seconds when their keeper denied Campbell.

Rangers then went into the game with Aberdeen knowing a last minute goal for Hibs in the earlier kick off had clinched the title. A Max Wright strike gave Rangers a 1-0 victory in a game that lost any significance in the title race.

The month ended cruelly when Kurtis Byrne’s injury time goal denied them the chance of taking the Youth Cup Final to a penalty shoot out. His earlier goal having been cancelled out by a fine individual effort from Archie Campbell.

On a positive note the Under 17’s cruised past Queen’s Park to set up an Old Firm Glasgow Cup Final. Doubles from Chris Scott & Kyle McAusland and one from Max Wright secured a 5-0 win.

The first step on the international recognition ladder saw three Rangers players selected for Scotland at Under 15’s. George Scott, Lee Cochrane & Gregor Fotheringham taking part in two friendly games against Belgium.

May

The league season came to a disappointing end with a 2-0 defeat away to Inverness CT that saw the Under 19’s slip to third in the final placings.

A magnificent Kane Hemmings double for the Under 17’s ensured that the “youths” would end the season with something to show for their efforts. His volley for the second goal was the highlight in a 2-1 win over Celtic in the Glasgow Cup Final, in what was a much more comfortable win than the scoreline suggests.

The season was not not quite over for Danny Wilson, Ross Perry, Stephen Stirling, Jamie Ness & John Fleck as they were part of the Scotland Under 19 squad just pipped by England in the elite qualifying round. With both Stirling & Ness netting in the win over Slovakia and Perry doing likewise in the win over Bosnia.

Arturs Vailculis also was on international duty for the elite round for Latvia in their group with Romania, France and Norway. The Baltic side finishing bottom of their group.

My overall assessment of the season would be pretty positive for what was a young squad. On the evidence I saw Hibs were probably the best team and deserved their success. I’m slightly disappointed we slipped to third as two league wins and a friendly win of Hearts suggest we should have finished above them.

The squad can look back at where the title was lost. Perhaps it was the two defeats to champions Hibs, disappointing home draws with Inverness CT and St.Mirren, failure to beat what was a poor Celtic side in the two league meetings or the season’s two poorest performances in defeats at Motherwell and Dundee United.

Now we can look forward to next season and one of the unique features of the youth league is the natural squad turnover. Although with Rangers having a young squad this season there are only a handful now too old, and two of those missed most of the season through injury. Rangers will have much the same squad, but they could decide to limit the use of Danny Wilson and perhaps Jamie Ness at this level next season, like this season with John Fleck, who only made one league appearance for the youths.

Where as champions Hibs lose nine of their successful side and all the others clubs fall somewhere in between. So keep this bookmarked and get updated when the new season starts.

Rangers have released one of last season’s squad, goalkeeper Arturs Vailculis. I am sure all Rangers fans wish Arturs all the best in his future career.

Ibrox Youngsters Net For Scots

May 28, 2009

Scoland 2 Slovakia 1

Goals from Stephen Stirling and Jamie Ness gave Scotland a perfect start in their Elite Qualifying round for the European Under 19’s Championships.

Trailing to Spartak Trnava’s Martin Guldan’s first half penalty Scotland equalised from the spot through Rangers Stephen Stirling. Scotland’s winner came midway through the second half when Rangers Jamie Ness volleyed home from 15 yards.

Team line as follows: Michael Andrews(Falkirk), Johnathan Brown (Hearts), Ross Perry (Rangers), Danny Wilson (Rangers), Callum Booth (Hibs); David Wotherspoon (Hibs), Stephen Stirling (Rangers), Jamie Ness (Rangers), John Fleck (Rangers); Johnny Russell (Dundee United), Leigh Griffiths (Livingston).

Subs:- Alex McDonald(Burnley,For Russell 57 mins), Craig King (Leicester City, For Griffiths 73mins), Lee Currie (Hibs for Ness 88mins).

Not Used:- Mark Ridgers (Hearts), Paul Hanlon (Hibs), Bradden Inman (Newcastle United, Jim Forrest (Celtic).

In the group’s other game England beat Bosnia 2-0, with a “Ranger” scoring here too, Newcastle United’s striker Nile Ranger netting the second goal. The first having been scored by Tottenham’s Danny Rose.

Scotland’s next game is on Friday, when they take on Bosnia at Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster, Kick-Off 7pm.

Youngsters Overcome Norwegian Visitors

March 27, 2009

Rangers 3 Viking Stavanger 1

A young Rangers side took on their counterparts from Norwegian side Viking Stavanger at Murray Park tonight. Two goals from Rhys McCabe and one from Dylan McGeough saw the home side run out comfortable winners.

Rangers took an early lead after the Norwegian keeper made a fine save from Cristiano Kisuka to concede a corner. From Dylan McGeough’s resultant corner Rhys McCabe headed past the keeper to make it 1-0 with only 3 minutes on the clock.

Ten minutes later some good work saw the vistors through on Gary Inglis, the Rangers keeper made an excellent save to parry the striker’s shot, the ball broke to another of the visitors and only a fantastic goal line clearance from Nicky Main prevented them drawing level.

On 20 minutes Gregor Fotheringham lost possession at the edge of the box, Scott Rumsby managed to block the strikers shot at the expense of a corner. At the other end a sweeping move involving McCabe and McGeough fed Ewan McNeil on the right, he cut inside and shot across the keeper and just past the far post.

Rangers doubled their lead on 33 minutes, after the ball was cleared to the halfway line. Dylan McGeough robbed the central defender and raced clear. After rounding the keeper he slipped and looked to have lost his chance, but recovered to score from a tight angle.

Five miuntes later the visitors pulled a goal back, Scott Rumsby was caught underneath a long ball and the striker rant through to shoot past Inglis. The two goal advantage was restored a couple of minutes later. Rhys McCabe was fouled at the edge of the Viking box, and the same player scored from the free kick, although the keeper should have done better.

Half Time :- Rangers 3 Viking Stavanger 1

The first opportunity of the second half came on 57 minutes to Lee Cochrane but he was denied by the Norwegian’s substitute keeper who made a fine save. Next effort ten minutes later saw McCabe shoot just wide.

The keeper then denied Rangers on three seperate occasions in the last 15 minutes. Making fine saves from Lee Cochrane (twice) and Mark Taylor. Not to be out done with a couple of minutes left on the clock, a free kick from the right was missed by everyone inside the Rangers box and Blair Currie made a good save low to his right, touching the ball behind for a corner.

Full Time:- Rangers 3 Viking Stavanger 1

Rangers Lineup:- Gary Inglis (Blair Currie 60mins); Scott Durie (Lee Cochrane 46mins), Scott Rumsby, Chris Scott (Mark Taylor 46mins), Gregor Fotheringham; Ewan McNeil, Nicky Main, Dylan McGeough, Rhys McCabe; Cristiano Kisuka, Anthony Meringhi (Frankie Owens 55mins).

Footnote:- Three Rangers youngsters have been representing Scotland in the EUFA Under’s 17’s qualifiers this week. Unfortunately Scotland lost all their games, 1-0 to Georgia, 3-1 to Italy and 2-0 to Austria. Darren Cole, Gordon Dick and Max Wright were involved in all three games, Max Wright scoring Scotland’s only goal.

Scotland 17’s Win Malta Double Header

January 23, 2009

Scotland’s Under 17’s took on Malta in a double header last week as part of their preparation for the upcoming Elite Round European Qualifiers. There were four young Gers in the squad, Darren Cole, Gordon Dick, Kal Naismith and Max Wright.

Malta 1 Scotland 4

First game was on Monday 19th January at the Centenary Stadium. Scotland took the lead in the 5th minute through Callum McRobbie after he was put through by Scott Smith.  It was 2-0 after 38 minutes after a good move was finished by Jamie Pollock. A minute later it was 3-0, the Maltese keeper failing to hold a Gordon Dick shot. Michael Magginson scored from the rebound.

In the second half Malta pulled a goal back after 53 minutes through Sacha Borg.  The scoring was completed in the 73rd minute when Graeme McGregor scored Scotland’s fourth.

Scotland:- Andrew Kennedy (Celtic), Darren Cole (Rangers), Jordan Lowdon (Celtic), Kieran Duffie (Falkirk), Scott Smith (Hibs), Nicky Low (Aberdeen), Max Wright (Rangers), Gordon Dick (Rangers), Callum McRobbie (Aberdeen), Jamie Pollock (Motherwell), Mitchel Megginson (Aberdeen).

Subs:-  Ross Smith (Dundee Utd (For Duffie)), Graeme McGregor (Falkirk (For Cole)), Andrew Gardiner (Ross County(For McRobbie)), Kal Naismith (Rangers (For Megginson)), Fraser Fyvie (Aberdeen( For Lowdon)), Dale Hilson (Dundee Utd (For Low)), Grant Mosson (Celtic (For Wright)).

Not Used :- Marc McCallum (Dundee Utd), Graham Hutchinson (Lincoln City), Cameron Howie (Dundee Utd), Jordan Kirkpatrick (Hamilton Accies).

malta

Malta 0 Scotland 4

The second game was on Wednesday 21st January, Scotland winning 4-0. The goals coming from Callum McRobbie (8 mins), Mitchel Megginson (19 & 56 mins) and Ross Smith (73 mins).

Scotland:- Andrew Kennedy (Celtic), Darren Cole (Rangers), Jordan Lowdon (Celtic), Grant Mosson (Celtic), Scott Smith (Hibs), Fraser Fyvie (Aberdeen), Max Wright (Rangers), Gordon Dick (Rangers), Callum McRobbie (Aberdeen), Jamie Pollock (Motherwell), Mitchel Megginson (Aberdeen).

Subs:-  Ross Smith (Dundee Utd (For Scott Smith)), Graeme McGregor (Falkirk (For Dick)), Kal Naismith (Rangers (For Pollock)), Nicky Low (Aberdeen (For Wright)).

Not Used :- Marc McCallum (Dundee Utd), Graham Hutchinson (Lincoln City), Cameron Howie (Dundee Utd), Jordan Kirkpatrick (Hamilton Accies), Kieran Duffie (Falkirk), Andrew Gardiner (Ross County),Dale Hilson (Dundee Utd) .

Scotland Under 19’s Face England

December 5, 2008

The Rangers youngsters likely to be involved in the Scotland Under 19’s and Under 17’s squads learned their fate with the elite rounds draw yesterday. 

The Under 19’s face a short trip down south, after being drawn with England, Slovakia and Bosnia. England are the group hosts, with games on 27th, 29th May and 1st June. With only the group winners going through to the finals in the Ukraine in July next year.

Their club colleague Isa Bagci’s Turkey look to have a tough task, travelling to Portugal, to face the hosts along with Denmark and Greece.

The younger group travel to Austria in March. There they have to overcome Italy, and Georgia as well as the hosts to take their place in the finals in Germany in May. The dates for these games are 20th, 22nd and 25th March.

Here’s hoping both sides can top their group and do Scotland proud in the summer.

Bagci’s Turkey Qualify

November 17, 2008

Rangers under 19’s striker Isa Bagci has missed the last two games while away on international duty. The good news is he was a member of the Turkey Under 19’s squad that qualified with maximum points in a group that included Andorra, Wales and Romania. Isa came on as a half time substitute in their opening game against Andorra, scoring the third goal in a 4-0 win.

isa_bagci

Next up came Wales and Isa played the whole ninety minutes in Turkey’s 3-0 victory. By the time the final game came round, Turkey and Romania had qualified as they had both beaten Andorra and Wales. Turkey secured top spot with a 2-1 win over the Romanians, Isa started the match, playing until he was substituted in the 59th minute. He can now look forward to the possibility of being drawn against some of his Rangers team mates in the next qualifying stage.

Scotland 19’s Qualify As Group Leaders

October 25, 2008

Scotland’s Under 19’s Today qualified for the next phase of the UEFA Championships. They defeated hosts Hungary 1-0 to top their group with a 13th minute goal from Rangers, Stephen Stirling. So Scotland go through with the second placed Hungarians. In the other game Azerbaijan beat San Marino 5-0.

Scotland Team

1 Michael Andrews (Falkirk

2 Jonathan Brown (Hearts)

16 Callum Booth (Hibs)

3 Paul Hanlon (Hibs)

6 Danny Wilson (Rangers)

8 Jamie Ness (Rangers)

15 Stephen Stirling (Rangers)

10 Leigh Griffiths (Livingston)

14 Michael Tidser (Celtic)

13 Alex McDonald (Burnley)

11 Johnny Russell (Dundee United)

Substitutes

12 Grant Adam (Rangers)

4 Jonathan Crawford (Aberdeen)

5 Ross Perry (Rangers)

18 Jim Forrest (Celtic) For McDonald 65 minutes.

17 Stewart Murdoch (Falkirk)

7 Lee Currie (Hibs) For Tidser 82 minutes.

9 Gary Glen (Hearts)

Final Group Table

Scotland 3 2 1 0 10 1 7
Hungary 3 2 0 1 7 1 6
Azerbaijan 3 1 1 1 6 2 4
San Marino 3 0 0 3 0 19 0

Scotland 19’s blitz San Marino

October 22, 2008

Scotland’s Under 19’s ran up 8 goals in an easy win over San Marino in the Uefa Under 19’s Qualifier today in Hungary. Scotland went in at the break 6 goals up, Alex McDonald (Burnley) scored for the second game running in the 5th minute, Johnny Russell (Dundee United) made it 2-0 after 14minutes. Stephen Stirling (Rangers) then converted penalties in the 18th and 30 minutes, and completed his hat trick in 33rd minute. McDonald completed the first half scoring in the final minute.

Five minutes after half-time Johnny Russell made it 7-0 and Lee Currie (Hibs) completed the scoring in the final seconds.

In the other game Hungary scored in injury time to beat Azerbaijan 1-0. If Scotland avoid defeat against Hungary in Saturday’s game they will qualify for the next phase.

Scotland Team

1 Michael Andrews (Falkirk)

2 Jonathan Brown (Hearts)

16 Callum Booth (Hibs)

3 Paul Hanlon (Hibs)

6 Danny Wilson (Rangers)

8 Jamie Ness (Rangers)

15 Stephen Stirling (Rangers)

7 Lee Currie (Hibs)

18 Jim Forrest (Celtic)

13 Alex McDonald (Burnley)

11 Johnny Russell (Dundee United)

Substitutes

12 Grant Adam (Rangers)

4 Jonathan Crawford (Aberdeen) For Ness 46 minutes.

5 Ross Perry (Rangers)

14 Michael Tidser (Celtic)

17 Stewart Murdoch (Falkirk)

10 Leigh Griffiths (Livingston) For Booth 77 minutes.

9 Gary Glen (Hearts) For McDonald 47minutes.

Group Table

               
Hungary 2 2 0 0 7 0 6
Scotland 2 1 1 0 9 1 4
Azerbaijan 2 0 1 1 1 2 1
San Marino 2 0 0 2 0 14 0

UEFA Under 19’s Scotland 1 Azerbaijan 1

October 20, 2008

Scotland started their UEFA Under 19’s Qualifying with a 1-1 draw with Azerbaijan in Hungary this afternoon.

Trailing 1-0 after 4 minutes, Burnley’s Alex McDonald equalised in the 30th minute.

Scotland team was as follows

  • 1 Michael Andrews (Falkirk)
  • 2 Jonathan Brown (Hearts)
  • 16 Callum Booth (Hibs)
  • 3 Paul Hanlon (Hibs)
  • 6 Daniel Wilson (Rangers)
  • 8 Jamie Ness (Rangers)
  • 15 Stephen Stirling (Rangers)
  • 14 Michael Tidser (Celtic)
  • 10 Leigh Griffiths (Livingston)
  • 13 Alex McDonald (Burnley)
  • 11 Johnny Russell (Dundee United)

Substitutes

  • 12 Grant Adam (Rangers)
  • 4 Jonathan Crawford (Aberdeen)
  • 5 Ross Perry (Rangers)
  • 7 Lee Currie (Hibs)
  • 17 Stewart Murdoch (Falkirk) For Tidser 79 mins
  • 18 James Forrest (Celtic) For Griffiths 61 mins
  • 9 Gary Glen (Hearts) For Russell 73 mins

In the section’s other game Hungary beat San Marino 6-0.