Archive for the ‘Youth Cup’ Category

“He Played Wae Rangers”

December 15, 2011

As the Youth Leagues go in to their winter break I try to keep the blog ticking over with an article or two related to Rangers youths, so I am always open to suggestions for an interesting topic. The title “He Played Wae Rangers” is me quoting myself, over the years it is something I would say to my mates while watching the first team, referring to someone in the opposition’s side.

These two players have been fairly significant in terms of Scottish football but few people would associate them with Rangers. Where as there are 100’s of players who have played for young Rangers sides over the years, and neither of these players signed professionally at the club, I class these two as Rangers players as both played in the Under 18 youth League and I am pretty sure the SFA Youth Cup for Rangers.

I saw both of them in a Rangers jersey at least a dozen times, they pre-date Murray Park and the majority of these games were at Maryhill Juniors ground, Lochburn Park, which Rangers used on Sunday’s for their young sides,  their appearances for the Under 18’s would have been at Creamery Park home of Bathgate Thistle. Rangers were pretty keen to sign them both but they opted to start their professional careers with clubs in the top tier in England. Were this to happen today Rangers would get a significant sum in compensation for development, back then the club got nothing.

The first player is former Hearts and Hibs midfielder Michael Stewart, currently without a club since leaving Charlton Athletic in the summer. Back in 1996 he was staring in Rangers U16’s  midfield and along with Celtic’s John Paul McBride he was considered among Scotland’s top talents. These two players were rivals in more sense than one, competing to be the play maker in Scotland’s youth teams as well as Old Firm rivals. Rangers tried hard to convince Michael his football future was at Ibrox, but I think his mind was made up long before his 16th birthday and he signed for Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.

Although he did make the first team at Old Trafford on a few occasions, an attitude and petulant streak which I witnessed first hand when I saw him red carded for Scotland U21”s against Northern Ireland, for throwing the ball at the referee, may have been one reason his progress stalled.

In 2004 it looked like he would eventually end up at Ibrox when Alex McLeish took him on the pre-season trip to Austria. When it became apparent that FA regulations required him to sign a formal loan contract in order to allow him to play in friendly matches he was sent back to Manchester. It was also pointed out that the player would need to accept a significant reduction in his weekly wage and free himself from his Old Trafford contract, which has two years to run, before he could consider making a short-term offer.

Of course he then went on to play over 100 games for his boyhood heroes Hearts and over 50 games for their great rivals Hibs.  While at Manchester United he gained three Scotland caps in Berti Vogts cast of thousands in 2002 and was capped once as a Hearts player in 2008 against Northern Ireland by George Burley. He is one player I think should have achieved more than he did.

His rival all those years ago, John Paul McBride, never quite made the break through at Celtic and moved on to St.Johnstone. His senior career took him to Partick Thistle, Stenhousemuir and Stirling albion and he is currently turning out for Wishaw Juniors.

The second player has not had quite as prominent a career as Michael Stewart but was almost as sought after as a youth player. He is due to come up against the Ibrox side when his current club Arbroath meet Rangers in the Scottish Cup. The player is midfielder Brian Kerr, I am not quite sure if he played in the same youth side as Michael Stewart but they were certainly around the same time. If the blog had existed back then I would have had a record of the lineups rather than trying to rely on my memory.

I remember Brian as a wide right player, with occasional appearances in centre midfield. Again Rangers were keen to retain him as a professional but he opted to sign for Newcastle United. Like Michael he did make the break through but failed to establish himself as a regular and he returned to Scotland to sign for his home town club Motherwell. A cruciate injury in a pre-season friendly put his career on hold, but recovered to become an established player in the Motherwell side.

Out of contract in 2007 he made what looked like a good move at the time to Hibs, in hindsight a new deal at Motherwell may have been the better option. A change of manager at Easter Road meant he soon dropped out of favour and after short spells at Inverness CT and Dundee he signed for Arbroath in 2011. And it’s not only Rangers that links these two players, that man Berti Vogts again, Brian gained three Scotland caps all as a substitute under Berti on 2003 /2004 season.

Youths Crash Out Of Cup At Ibrox

November 13, 2011

Rangers 1 Dundee United 3 (After Extra Time)

Rangers youths run to cup finals came to an end when they lost to Dundee United at Ibrox this afternoon. Its been a sticky start to the season for Billy Kirkwood’s side but with United sitting second bottom of the youth league having lost twenty-nine goals in ten games Rangers would be going into the game as favourites.

The game opened quietly and there was seventeen minutes on the clock before any goalmouth action of note, Fraser Aird cut in from the right and sent a pass to Barrie McKay on the opposite flank, he passed the ball inside to Robbie Crawford who shot just wide of the left hand post. Five minutes later McKay again passed inside from the left, this time to Callum Gallagher who turned of the edge of the box and his shot brought out a save from Phillip Anderson low to his right.

A further four minutes had passed when Gallagher laid the ball back into the path of Crawford this time the midfielder’s effort was just wide of Anderson’s right hand post. Rangers then took the lead on thirty-six minutes, from Adam Hunter’s corner from the right Tom Skogrud’s header was parried by Anderson but Callum Gallagher was well placed to knock the ball over the line from close range.

Five minutes later United were level from their first meaningful attack, Ryan Ferguson broke from midfield before passing to Robert Thomson at the edge of the box, when he was challenged the ball broke kindly for Scott Smith leaving him free inside the box to shoot past Alan Smith. Just before the break there was a chance at either end, McKay went down the left before passing inside for Lewis McLeod to test Anderson low to his right. At the other end Ryan Gauld made his way across the box from right to left and fed Glenn Hawe who brought out a fine save from Smith high to his left.

Half-Time:- Rangers 1 Dundee United 1

The visitors were first to threaten after the break, Ferguson breaking forward and passing to Hawe on the left, he cut inside Kyle McAusland before shooting across goal and wide of the far post. Rangers then missed a great chance just before the hour, McLeod sent a great pass inside the full-back for the overlapping Tom Skogsrud from his cutback McKay’s shot was parried by Anderson and James Thomson cleared over his own crossbar to safety.

Five minutes later Gallagher got a break of the ball and he was free on the right hand side of the box, his ball across goal found McKay who teed it up for Crawford who looked certain to score but his shot was wide of Anderson’s right hand post. Midway through the half Robert Thomson had the ball out of the left and passed inside to Smith who shot into the side netting.

Rangers were soon back on the attack and a great McKay run on the right took him past two defenders his pass inside gave McLeod a chance from just outside the box which Anderson saved low to his right. Five minutes later McLeod tested Anderson again this time the keeper parried low to his left, Gallagher was first to the ball but the angle was tight and he could only shoot into the side netting.

With only three minutes of normal time remaining United substitute Shane Campbell cut inside on the left of the penalty area with Smith diving to his left to parry his effort.

End Of 90 Minutes:- Rangers 1 Dundee United 1

With the first period of extra time producing little of note Rangers came close at the start of the next period with Anderson diving to his right to divert McLeod’s twenty-five yarder for a corner. When the corner was cleared from the penalty area McAusland sent a shot from the edge of the box just wide of the right hand post.

With six minutes remaining United took the lead, Ferguson won the ball in midfield and broke forward, he passed to Scott Smith on the edge of the box who sent a shot past Alan smith into the corner. With time running out Rangers almost took it to penalty kicks, Kim Skogrud’s long throw from the right broke to Darren Ramsay and his looping shot had Anderson beaten but bounced clear from the cross-bar. The visitor’s then clinched their place in the next round in the dying seconds, the ball was played up Jordan Moore just inside the box and he had time and space to turn and find the net via the underside of the crossbar.

Full-Time:- Rangers 1 Dundee United 3

Rangers:- Aland Smith; Kyle McAusland, Adel Gafaiti, Luca Gasparotto, Tom Skogsrud; Fraser Aird (Kim Skogsrud 116mins), Lewis McLeod, Adam Hunter, Robbie Crawford, Barrie McKay ( Darren Ramsay 99mins); Callum Gallagher (Sam McMahon 112mins).

Not Used:- Blair Currie (GK), Ewan McNeill

Dundee United:- Phillip Anderson; Ross Gilmour, Paddy Barrett, James Thomson, John Young (Greg Whyte 116mins); Ryan Gauld ( Jordan Moore 81mins), Scott Smith, Darren Petrie, Ryan Ferguson, Glenn Hawe ( Shane Campbell 65mins); Robert Thomson.

Not Used:- Dean Easton (GK), Ryan Lundie.

Linesman’s Flag Denies Youngsters

April 27, 2011

Celtic 2 Rangers 1

When Chris Hegarty fired the ball into the net in the final minute of extra time it looked like Rangers had taken the game to  a penalty shoot out only to be wrongly flagged offside by the far side linesman. Rangers went into tonight’s final as underdogs, having won only once in their last six games, while their rivals were on a winning run having clinched the league title at the weekend.

It was Billy Kirkwood’s side that had the first effort on goal after six minutes when Rhys McCabe shot wide from around 25 yards. Ten minutes later Gordon Dick’s cross field pass found Kal Naismith on the left he made his way into the box and his shot from almost on the byline was blocked by the foot of Nick Feely.

Two minutes later Adam Hunter’s free-kick from the right caused problems for the Celtic defence but they managed to scramble the ball clear. It was midway through the half before Celtic threatened the Rangers goal, Patrik Twardzik cutting in from the right although Gary Inglis saved easily.

Ten minutes before the break Gordon Dick  sent the ball forward to Kane Hemmings at the right hand angle of the box where he turned the defender and shot across goal. Three minutes later Inglis gathered Patrik Twardzik’s long-range effort at the second attempt.Right on half-time Dick sent Kyle  McAusland on the overlap and his low cross had Matty Hughes stretching to clear for a corner.

Half-Time:- Celtic 0 Rangers 0

Four minutes into the second-half and Darren Cole had to look sharp to clear Stephen O’Donnell’s low cross. Just before the hour mark Callum McGregor sent Keiran Brennan down the left and his cross come shot just cleared the crossbar.

On the hour Callum Bagshaw got to the byline and Adam Hunter could only divert the ball towards his own goal with Inglis being called into action to save.  A minute later Inglis was beaten when Patrik Twardzik’s 25 yarder came back of the cross-bar and Greig Spence could only knock the rebound wide.

Celtic’s pressure eventually told on 72 minutes when they took the lead, O’Donnell’s ball into the box saw Greig Spence turn past a defender before shooting beyond Inglis. Rangers replied almost immediately, Kal Naismith picking up a clearance at the edge of the box with Feely diving to his right to divert the ball for a corner.

Brennan then set up a chance for Patrik Twardzik with ten minutes remaining and the striker shot over. With only four minutes on the clock Patrik Twardzik’s cross found Bahrudin Atajic who could only direct his header straight at Inglis. A minute later the Ibrox youngsters grabbed an equaliser to take the game into extra time. McAusland’s cross from just inside the Celtic half was headed back across goal by Chris Hegarty with Rhys McCabe on hand to head beyond Feely.

Full-Time:- Celtic 1 Rangers 1

Celtic came close soon after the restart when Atajic flicked Patrik Twardzik’s right-wing cross just wide of the far post. Ten minutes into extra time Inglis produced a fine save, diving high to his right to claw away O’Donnell’s shot after the full-back cut in from the right.

Five minutes into the second period of extra time Celtic grabbed the lead, substitute Liam Gormley who had only just come on, cut in from the left before shooting past Inglis from the edge of the box. With the game into the final minute,  Naismith made space to shoot from the edge of the box and his shot was fumbled by Feely into the path of Chris Hegarty who fired the ball into the net only to be denied by the linesman’s flag.

After Extra Time:- Celtic 2 Rangers 1

Celtic:- Nick Feely; Stephen O’Donnell, Matty Hughes, Lewis Toshney, Keiran Brennan; Callum Bagshaw, Jackson Irvine, Callum McGregor, Filip Twardzik; Patrik Twardzik (Liam Gormley 109mins), Greig Spence ( Bahrudin Atajic 82mins)

Not Used:- Robbie Thomson (GK), Marcus Fraser, Islam Feruz

Rangers:- Gary Inglis; Kyle McAusland, Chris Hegarty, Darren Cole, Robbie McIntyre; Gordon Dick (Ewan McNeil 62mins), Gregor Fotheringham (Robbie Crawford 51mins), Adam Hunter, Rhys McCabe, Kal Naismith; Kane Hemmings (Andy Mitchell 72mins).

Not Used:- Wayne Drummond (GK), Kamil Wiktorski.

Youths Progress To Fifth Consecutive Final

March 26, 2011

Rangers 1 Hibernian 0

Chris Hegarty’s first half strike was enough to take Rangers under 19’s to their fifth consecutive Youth Cup Final in a close encounter at Ibrox this afternoon.

Rangers took the lead with what was the first real chance of the match in the thirteenth minute. A corner from the right was headed back across goalby Darrebn Cole and his central defensive partner Chris Hegarty was on hand to volley past Callum Artell from the edge of the six yard box. Three minutes later a powerful run down the right by Christiano Kisuka saw him go past a defender and into the box before shooting straight at Artell.

The visitors replied  when Lewis Horner’s shot from arround 25 yards was just wide of Wayne Drummond’s left hand post. Midway through the half David Crawford and Ross Caldwell combined to set up a shooting chance for Danny Handling inside the box and he was denied by a great Cole block at the expense of a corner.

Right on the half-time whistle Rangers broke forward through Rhys McCabe,  he linked with Dylan McGeough to set up a 25 yarder from Gordon Dick that Artell tipped over.

Half-Time:- Rangers 1 Hibernian 0

Five minutes after the break Artel was scrambling across goal and was relieved to see Kamil Wiktorski’s 25 yard effort deflect narrowly wide of his left hand post. Two minutes later Hibs worked the ball out to Callum Burns on the right and Drummond did well to gather his low cross into the box.

The visitors created another chance just before the hour mark Dean Horribine combined with Caldwell to feed Crawford on the right hand side of the box and his shot flashed across goal and wide. On the hour mark Rangers should have doubled their lead, a quick break saw McGeough pass to McCabe who’s run took him towards the Hibs box, a superb reverse pass sent Kal Naismith clear to go round Artell, but the angle was too tight and his shot went across goal and wide.

With just under twenty minutes on the clock Hibs had their best chance, Burns cross from the right was headed down by Horrobine inside the box to Crawford with Hegarty blocking his shot as it looked net bound.  A couple of minutes later McCabe’s pass inside from the left found Ewan McNeil and his shot from distance was scooped wide by Artell.

With seven minutes remaining Rangers looked certain to make the game safe, Kyle McAusland and Naismith combined on the right and when McAusland’s low cross found Robbie Crawford right in front of goal he seemed certain to score but Artell somehow got a touch to divert the ball wide. Rangers saw out the final minutes to book a Hampden date with the winners o tomorrow’s Semi-Final between Celtic and Livingston.

Full-Time:- Rangers 1 Hibernian 0

Rangers:- Wayne Drummond; Kyle McAusland, Chris Hegarty (Andy Mitchell 77mins), Darren Cole, Steven Hetherington; Gordon Dick, Kamil Wiktorski, Rhys McCabe, Dylan McGeough (Robbie Crawford 69mins); Christiano Kisuka (Ewan McNeil 68mins), Kal Naismith.

Not Used:- Gary Inglis (GK), Adam Hunter

Hibernian:- Callum Artell; Callum Burns, Jordan Forster, Jack Verth, Scott Smith; David Crawford, Lewis Horner (David Gold 88mins), Harry Monaghan (Mark Lancaster 87mins), Danny Handling, Dean Horrobine; Ross Caldwell (Phil Addison 64mins).

Not Used:- Paul Grant (GK), Jamie Doris

Youth Cup Semi Final Preview

March 23, 2011

Rangers -v- Hibernian, Saturday 26th March 2011

Ibrox Stadium, Kick-Off 2pm.

Billy Kirkwood’s under 19’s take on Hibernian at Ibrox on Saturday in the Scottish Youth Cup Semi Final. The Ibrox youngsters are aiming to make it to their fifth consecutive final, having won the trophy in 2007 and 2008 with victories of Celtic in both finals.

Where as Rangers will go into this game as favourites it will not be an easy match as this season’s league meetings have been close. The first game at Murray Park in October ended in a 1-1 draw, in a game Rangers dominated they fell behind to a freak free-kick from Scott Smith and the now departed Max Wright equalised in the second half.

In the recent meeting at Hibs Training Centre the young Gers ran out 4-1 winners, although the game was closer than the scoreline suggests. Two of Kal Naismith’s goals in his hat-trick coming in the final ten minutes. Rangers opener that day came from Christiano Kisuka with Callum Burns levelling for the Easter Road side.

So who are you likley to see if you go along on Saturday ? In recent weeks Gary Inglis has been between the sticks, Gary started the season as third choice but with injuries to Wayne Drummond and Alan Smith, Gary grabbed his chance. With first choice Wayne Drummond fit again there is a decision to be made there.

The likely back four will be Kyle McAusland, Chris Hegarty, Darren Cole & Robbie McIntyre. The most familiar to the supporters is of course Darren Cole, who made his first team debut in Turkey. A regular at centre-back for the youths he has formed a good partnership with Northern Irish youth international Chris Hegarty. Chris joined in the summer from Millwall, not the biggest central defender I have been impressed with his distribution from the back.

Kyle came to the club as a striker from Ayr United and has grown into the full-back role this season.  Left-back Robbie has made great progress, last season he was playing boys club football with Tynecastle Boys Club. Not only has he pushed into the youth team, he has also established himself in the Scotland under 17’s.

Kamil Wiktorski, Rhys McCabe, Dylan McGeough and Gordon Dick are probably going to make up the midfield. One drawback is that they all would prefer to play central. Polish youth international Kamil is likely to be the more defensive of the four and will be joined by one of the others in the middle, with the other two being expected to provide width.
There has been much speculation over Dylan McGeough, who is arguably the best player at this level in the country. At the moment he is still a Rangers player and may see that this would be the best place to develop his career. Rhys has just signed a new two year contract and has been a regular for a few years now, his incredible “Tim Cahill” type spring makes him a threat in the air. Gordon has been in and out the side, but seems to have established himself in recent weeks in the side and provides drive from midfield.

Up front would almost certainly be Kal Naismith and Kane Hemmings, but Kane appeared to pull a hamstring at the weekend and must be a doubt. Both have been performing at the top of their game in recent weeks. Kane has power, pace and goals, while Kal is either sublime or frustrating. A real talent but sometimes he has his own ideas on how to play. If Kane doesn’t make it his likely replacement would be Christiano Kisuka, it depends which Christiano turns up, unplayable against Celtic or subbed at half-time against Aberdeen.
Others that could feature are Northern Irish midfielder Andy Mitchell and fellow midfielder Robbie Crawford. Adam Hunter, Ewan McNeil and Steven Hetherington who are comfortbale in either defence or midfield and Anthony Marenghi who can play up front or in midfield.

Players to look out for in the visitors side include defender and captain Scott Smith who has been a regular at youth international level. Striker Ross Caldwell is another who has been called into the Scotland under 19 setup.At the younger level Danny Handling has been recognised at under 17’s.

In recent seasons Hibs have had an informal tie with the famous North East England  side Wallsend Boys Club, and Lewis Horner is the latest recruit from that source. Central defender Jordan Forster was previously with Celtic.

In the recent game full-back Callum Burns and midfielders Harry Monaghan and Dean Horrobine also impressed.

Youths Through To Semi Finals

February 13, 2011

Ayr United 2 Rangers 6

Rangers youngsters over came a first-half blip before comfortably progressing  through to the SFA Youth Cup Semi-Final  at Somerset Park today.

The Murray Park  boys got off to a great start when they took the lead after only seven minutes. The ball moved across midfield from left to right via Dylan McGeough and Rhys McCabe to Andy Mitchell, as soon as the ball left the Northern Irishman’s foot it was destined for the net to give Rangers the lead. In Ayr’s first attack Dale Moore got a chance from the edge of the box with Darren Cole blocking his effort.

Rangers were soon back on the attack ,  McGeough and Kal Naismith combined before the later was fouled just outside the box. Naismith then curled a low free-kick round the wall and home keeper Darryl Jones dived to his right to parry.  Midway through the halfway Rangers were shocked when the home side grabbed a leveler. The Rangers defence failed to clear a corner from the right, Ian Aitken’s initial shot was blocked but when it reached Sean Kelly at the edge of the box his effort was deflected to leave Gary Inglis stranded.

On 28 minutes the home side took a shock lead, again the Rangers defence failed to clear their lines and when Moore played the ball back into the box Ian Aitken turned Cole before firing past Inglis. Unfortunately for the home side their lead was to only last a couple of minutes. Kane Hemmings went up to challenge for Gordon Dick’s cross inside the box and the ball broke for Kal Naismith to poke it passed Jones.

Jones was in action again a minute later  saving Andy Mitchell’s shot low to his right, and when the corner was cleared outside the box Mitchell had another effort this time Jones diving to his left to save.

The home keeper was to surpass that just before the break with two stunning saves inside a minute. Hemmings controlled Kyle McAusland’s cross from the right on his chest inside the six yard box, the big striker looked certain to score but was denied by Jones at point-blank range. With ball then being cleared out to the left, Darren Cole’s cross found his defensive partner Chris Hegarty inside the box and his header looked a certain goal until Jones produced another point-blank save.

The Ayr keeper was finally beaten on the stroke of half-time. The home defence cleared the ball from their penalty area, but only as far as Dylan McGeough who curled a shot into the bottom left hand corner of the net.

Ayr United 2 Rangers 3

Rangers first effort after the break came five minutes in when Mitchell broke forward and shot just wide. Five minutes later  Ayr had a chance on the break following a Rangers corner, Roddy Paterson ran from the halfway line on the left, continued into the box before shooting across Inglis and wide of the far post.

Rangers then contrived to miss three glorious chances in as many minutes just  before the hour mark. A superb McGeough pass created a chance for Hemmings with Jones quick off his line to block.  McGeough them played in the overlapping McAusland, his shot beat the advancing Jones but was cleared of the line by Alan Murdoch. Almost immediately McGeough was again the creator setting up Hemmings,who looked certain to score, this time JJ Hawkshaw was on the line to block.

A couple of minutes after the hour Rangers attained the two goal lead they had been searching. Hemmings turned Hawkshaw out on the left and headed for the byline, his cutback  found Andy Mitchell arriving inside the box to blast past Jones.  With fifteen minutes left on the clock Hemmings had another run down the left, this time Jones blocked his shot from a narrow angle at his near post.

Just over a minute later Rangers increased their lead, good work on the left by McCabe and a superb cross found Kyle McAusland at the back post and his looping header found the net. A Rhys McCabe solo effort completed the scoring in the final minute, picking the ball up at the halfway line near the left hand touch-line he strode forward before cutting in past a defender and shooting past Jones from the edge of the box.

Ayr United 2 Rangers 6

Pictures from today’s game at the link below:-

Ayr United:- Darryl Jones; Gareth Armstrong, JJ Hawkshaw, Alan Murdoch, Kieren MacIntyre; Robbie Crawford (Stuart Milligan 60mins), Dale Moore, Cammy Marlow (Darren Baird 60mins), Sean Kelly; Roddy Paterson, Ian Aitken (Lee Lockhart 70mins).

Not Used:- Daryl Matthews (GK)

Rangers:- Gary Inglis; Kyle McAusland, Chris Hegarty, Darren Cole, Robbie McIntyre; Andy Mitchell (Robbie Crawford 81mins), Dylan McGeough (Kamil Wiktorski 67mins), Rhys McCabe, Christiano Kisuka (Gordon Dick 27mins); Kane Hemmings, Kal Naismith.

Not Used:- Liam Kelly (GK), Lewis McLeod.

19’s Progress In Cup

January 29, 2011

Rangers 3 Hamilton Accies 2

Billy Kirkwood’s side edged past Hamilton Accies in entertaining game at Murray Park. The first half saw few chances with both teams battling for midfield supremecy, but really open up after the break.

A Rhys McCabe long throw gave Kane Hemmings a half chance just before the ten minute mark  but the Accies defence blocked him out. Two minutes later and the home side took the lead from the penalty spot, Dylan McGeough’s ball over the top sent Kane Hemmings clear and he was sent crashing  from Lee Kilday’s challenge for a clear penalty, Kane Hemmings stepped up to beat Andy Kennedy low to his left despite the keeper getting his hand to it.

The only other goalmouth action of the first half came four minutes before the break when Andy Ryan’s effort from 30 yards saw Gary Inglis produce a great save high to his left as the ball to a swerve in flight.

Half-Time:- Rangers 1 Hamilton Accies 0

Just after the break Jordan Kirkpatrick progressed down the left, cut inside and shot just wide of the far post. Rangers went straight up the other end and Kal Naismith released Hemmings who shot across goal from a tight angle. Ten minutes in and Christiano Kisuka went past Conner McGlinchey on the right and his shot was saved by Kennedy, next up came a Naismith shot from the edge of the box that Kennedy gathered at the second attempt.

Good play on the Hamilton left from Kirkpatrick just before the hour mark saw Inglis produce a decent save, almost immediately Kisuka broke from deep inside his own half to setup a chance for Hemmings who’s effort was deflected narrowly over.  With twenty minutes of the half gone Hamilton drew level, Michael Devlin rising to head a corner from the left past Inglis.

Rangers were soon back on attack and Rhys McCabe tested Kennedy when he strode forward from midfield, the Accies keeper touching his shot wide for a corner. On 67 minutes Kisuka cut in from the right and was fouled right on the edge of the box by Kilday, the Rangers substitute couldn’t continue and was replaced by Andy Mitchell. From the resultant free-kick Rangers regained the lead, Naismith’s original effort rebounded from the wall to Max Wright who’s lob saw Kennedy at full stretch to touch the ball onto the bar, Kyle McAusland’s diving header from the rebound looked netbound, and Kane Hemmings was there just to make sure form a couple of yards.

Barely four minutes had elapsed when Rangers scored again, Andy Mitchell sent Hemmings clear on the right and his low cross found Max Wright on hand at the back post to net from close range. The visitors then made sure of a grand stand finish when they grabbed a second with twelve minutes remaining, again Devlin got his head to a corner, this time from the right and Andy Ryan forced the ball over the line.

Accies now sensed the possibility of forcing extra-time and came close when Kirkpatrick’s cross into the box was only cleared as far as Scott Pittman who shot just wide. Kirkpatrick again was the source on the left, this time Ryan was just too late to connect with his ball across the six-yard box. Their final chance game with four minutes remaining, following a free-kick on the right Kieran Millar played in Andy Ryan and Inglis was quick off his line to block, with the ball spinning high in the air Lee Kilday headed over under pressure from the Rangers defence.

Billy Kirkwood’s side will now travel to Somerset Park to face Ayr United in the Quarter Finals.

Full-Time:- Rangers 3 Hamilton Accies 2


Rangers:- Gary Inglis; Kyle McAusland, Chris Hegarty, Darren Cole, Robbie McIntyre; Dylan McGeough, Gordon Dick (Max Wright 57mins), Rhys McCabe, Robbie Crawford (Christiano Kisuka 46mins (Andy Mitchell 67mins)); Kane Hemmings, Kal Naismith.

Not Used:- Liam Kelly (GK), Lewis McLeod

Hamilton Accies:- Andy Kennedy; Ziggy Gordon, Lee Kilday, Michael Devlin (Jordan McCue 82mins), Conner McGlinchey; Chris Roxburgh (Euan Lindsay 57mins), Scott Pittman, David Hopkirk, Kieran Millar, Jordan Kirkpatrick; Andy Ryan.

Not Used:- Darren Dolan (GK), Ryan Finnie, Gary Fraser

An added bonus was a game in the afternoon with Alan Kernaghan’s under 17’s taking on Queen’s Park in a friendly.

Rangers 3 Queen’s Park 0

The game had a tame start and it was midway through the first half before any action of note, and it was the visitors that had Chris Johns under pressure from a free-kick out on the left, the Rangers keeper punching clear. A minute later Rangers looked certain to take the lead, Aaron McGregor played a one-two with Darren Ramsay and was in on the keeper but his shot was just wide.

In their next attack Rangers did take the lead when Lewis McLeod played in Gregor Fotheringham who shot past the keeper. On the half-hour mark Fotheringham tested the keeper with a long range effort that the keeper saved. The second goal was delayed a minute when a fine move carved out the second. McGregor sent the ball out to McLeod wide on the right and his low cross was converted by Freddy Espling at close range.

At the other end a great defensive challenge from  Stuart Urquhart cleared the danger when a cross came in from the left.  Rangers were soon back on attack and Aaron McGregor saw his long range effort saved by the Queen’s Park keeper.

Half-Time:- Rangers 2 Queens Park 0

A mixup between Urquhart and Johns gave the visitors a chance but the Rangers keeper recovered to touch wide. A great move from Rangers almost produced a third, McLeod’s crossfield pass saw Andy Murdoch control the ball instantly and cut back for Ramsay who was denied with a superb save from the Queens keeper.

The visitors then  carved out a chance after a break down the left and with the striker through on goal Chris Johns produced a great block with his left foot. Midway through the half a superb turn and pass from McLeod created an opening for Ramsay which the keeper saved.

With three minutes remaining Rangers got a fortuitous third, Callum Gallagher played the ball inside to Darren McGill, his shot from just outside the box took a massive deflection of a Queen’s Park defender to leave the keeper stranded. Before the end Rangers substitute keeper Filip Nilsson  had to stretch to tip over a long range effort.

Full-Time:- Rangers 3 Queen’s Park 0

Rangers:- Chris Johns (Filip Nilsson 55mins); Craig Halkett (Callum Wyllie 55mins), Jordan Wilson (Darren McGill 55mins), Stuart Urquhart, Matty Clarke; Andy Murdoch, Gregor Fotheringham, Aaron McGregor, Lewis McLeod; Darren Ramsay, Freddy Espling (Callum Gallagher 55mins)




Youths Coast Into Next Round

November 7, 2010

Rangers 13 Deveronvale 0

It was a quick dash from New St.Mirren Park to see the Rangers youngsters coast into the next round of the SFA Youth Cup. The final score could have been more but for some last-ditch defending and some great saves from Devronvale keeper Blair Tait. The game kick-off ten minutes late so it meant I didn’t miss quite as much as expected and just arrived as Rangers took the lead on nine minutes. Kal Naismith sent Max Wight clear and he ran on to shoot past keeper Tait.

Five minutes later  it was 2-0, good play on the left by Wright saw his pass inside flicked on by Naismith and Rhys McCabe shot home from around the penalty spot. The third goal came less than five minutes later, the ball broke to Wright at the edge of the box and his neat back-heel left Kal Naismith in the clear to shoot past the keeper.

The goals seemed to be coming at five-minute intervals and on 22 minutes McCabe’s pass sent Max Wright clean through, the Rangers striker advanced into the box and rounded keeper Tait before rolling the ball into the empty net. Again it was approximately five minutes that had elapsed when Rangers scored again, a good run and cross by Kyle McAusland on the right saw the Deveronvale defence fail to clear and Kal Naismith shot home from the edge of the box.

The highland side the managed to stem the tide leading up to the break and indeed a nice bit of skill saw Jamie Blackhall create a chance and volley just wide.

Half-Time:- Rangers 5 Deveronvale 0

It took the Ibrox youngsters only three minutes after the break to increase their lead, it was created on the right by Wright and his pass inside was converted by Kal Naismith to complete his hat-trick. Number seven came on the hour mark, Max Wright and Gordon Dick combined on the right and when Wright drove the ball across the six yard box Kal Naismith bundled the ball over the line at the back post.

A few minutes later and Devoronvale almost pulled a goal back, Jordan Cassie’s cross from the right was fumbled by Wayne Drummond and Craig Simpson just failed to force the ball home at the back post being thwarted by a fine Ewan McNeil challenge. The home side when soon back on the attack and scored again with just under twenty minutes remaining, a neat interchange between Ewan McNeil and Robbie Crawford on the right saw Crawford’s pass send Max Wright clear, he beat the defender then crossed for Rhys McCabe head past Tait.

Five minutes later and McCabe and Crawford played a one-two and the edge of the box, Rhys McCabe then went past another defender before firing home. A couple of minutes later and Rangers reached double figures, the visitor’s lost possession inside their own box and Crawford rolled the ball to Max Wright who knocked the ball into the net.

With the Deveronvale youngsters tiring the chances where now coming thick and fast and the next goal came on 81 minutes, a solo run from halfway by Christiano Kisuka saw him go past two defenders, when the third challenged at the edge of the box the ball broke to Robbie Crawford who shot past Tait. With  six minutes to go Max Wright was  sent clear and ran on into the box to grab his fourth.

The final goal came a minute later and it was an unlikely scorer, Ewan McNeil sent in a cross from the right and there was Darren Cole arriving inside to the box to head past Tait, his first for a few years I believe. Despite the scoreline the lads from the highlands did their club proud and I am sure they enjoyed their day out at Murray Park.

Rangers 13 Deveronvale 0

Rangers:- Wayne Drummond; Kyle McAusland (Ewan McNeil 62mins), Chris Hegarty, Darren Cole, Steven Hetherington; Gordon Dick, Dylan McGeough (Robbie Crawford 31mins), Kamil Wiktorski, Rhys McCabe; Max Wright, Kal Naismith (Christiano Kisuka 67mins)

Not Used :- Alan Smith (GK), Andy Mitchell

Deveronvale:- Blair Tait, Calum Wilson, Tom Hutchings, Andy Bain (N0.14 54mins), Liam Forbes; Scott Porter, Jamie Blackhall, Jordan Cassie, Kieran Davidson (Martin Anderson 54mins), Adam Innes; Craig Simpson

Not Used :- Matthew Hancock (GK), Lewis Ingram, Ryan Cameron

Hampden Heartache For Youths

April 28, 2010

Rangers 0 Celtic 2

It was a Hampden disappointment for the second year in succession for Rangers youths, losing to their greatest rivals in the Scottish Youth Cup Final at the national stadium tonight. The first half was a bit of a non event with both sides employing a five man midfield and  lone striker.

Rhys McCabe had an early effort cutting in from the left which keeper Danielle Giordano saved comfortably. At the other end Grant Adam advanced from his box to block Greig Spence as he chased a long ball.

These were really was the nearest to even a half chance in a tepid 45 minutes.

Half-Time:- Rangers 0 Celtic 0

With chances few and far between the first goal was going to be crucial and five minutes into the second half Celtic had a great chance when a Chris Scott slip allowed  Spence to race clear in to the Rangers box where he was denied by a fine Adam save. Rangers then created a shooting opportunity when Kyle Hutton and Kal Naismith set up McCabe who’s shot was straight at Giordano.

On 55 minutes Rangers came close to breaking the deadlock, McCabe picked out Hutton breaking in to the box and his hooked ball across goal found Archie Campbell looked certain to score, his strike from close range was powerful but unfortunately straight at Giordano and the ball bounced clear of the keeper.

The turning point in the game came in the space of two minutes just before the hour mark. A slack pass across the Celtic 18 yard box was picked up by Dylan McGeough and his shot left Giordano stranded only to go narrowly wide. A minute later Celtic were in front, substitute Sean Fitzharris who was formerly on Rangers books, picked the ball up wide on the left and cut inside to send a tremendous shot past Adam.

The goal gave the Celtic youngsters a surge in confidence and Rangers were struggling to make an impact to get back in to the game.  With just less than 20 minutes on the clock their task became harder still. A free kick wide on the right from James Keatings saw the other substitute Filip Twardzik rise unchallenged to head past Adam.

Five minutes later and only a fine save from Adam prevented Richie Towell from adding a third, played in by Fitzharris he went past two defenders inside the box and looked certain to score before Adam saved. Rangers tried to respond and good individual play by Naismith saw him create space at the edge of the box but his shot went just wide.

Full-Time:- Rangers 0 Celtic 2

Rangers:- Grant Adam; Scott Durie (Kyle McAusland 77mins), Chris Scott, Darren Cole, Gregg Wylde; Rhys McCabe (Kamil Wiktorski 84mins), Kyle Hutton, Kal Naismith, Jamie Ness (Gordon Dick 64mins), Dylan McGeough; Archie Campbell.

Not Used:- Mark Weir, Max Wright

Celtic:- Danielle Giordano; Richie Towell, Matty Hughes; Declan Gallagher; Jordon Lowdon; Callum Bagshaw, Grant Gallagher (Stephen O’Donnell 89mins), Darren McAuley (Sean Fitzharris 57mins), James Keatings, James Forrest; Greig Spence (Filip Twardzik 69mins)

Not Used:- Andy Kennedy, Callum McGregor

Youths Make It Four In A Row

March 28, 2010

St.Mirren 0 Rangers 1

The Ibrox youngsters made it to their fourth consecutive Youth Cup Final. In a close encounter at New St.Mirren park this afternoon,  an Archie Campbell strike in the second half separating the sides.

Scott Durie and Rhys McCabe returned from injury and took the place of Ewan McNeil and Max Wright who were on the bench. The home side were first to threaten in the second minute when Graeme Ramage won the ball on the edge of the box and shot narrowly wide.

A few minutes later and the Rangers defence struggled to clear their box and Grant Adam fumbled a deflected shot but Chris Scott was on hand to clear. At the other end a run and cross from Gregg Wylde had keeper Jake Cunningham stretching to tip away.

A couple on minutes later and a further raid down the left by Wylde gave Gordon Dick a shooting chance which brought out a save from Cunningham. Just before the quarter-hour mark a great cross from the left by Ally Love gave Kyle Faulds a chance but he headed narrowly over.

St. Mirren continued to have the better of the first half and on 35 minutes Rhys Devlin gathered a Darren Cole clearance and fired just over from 25 yards.

Half-Time:- St.Mirren 0 Rangers 0

In the first minute of the second half Jon McShane tried his luck from long-range and Adam saved comfortably. At the other end a few minutes later a long throw from Rhys McCabe was flicked on by Kamil Wiktorski, the ball eventually falling to Archie Campbell , he failed to connect properly and his shot looped wide of the post.

On 54 minutes St.Mirren were back on the attack and Sean Burns cross was chested into the path of Faulds by McShane and Adam saved the midfielder’s shot. A minute later and Kyle Hutton was close to giving Rangers lead when he just failed to connect to a Darren Cole free-kick.

Rangers goal was only delayed a few minutes, Gordon Dick won the ball on the halfway line and passed to Rhys McCabe, his forward pass split the St. Mirren defence and sent Archie Campbell clear, he advanced into the box and knocked the ball past keeper Cunningham.

Saints tried to reply on the hour mark and Burns ball into the box was met by Love to force a save from Adam.On 67 minutes McCabe and Kal Naismith carved out a chance which the former fired into the side netting. Five minutes later and an attempted cross from Devlin had Adam stretching to tip over.

A minute later and McCabe released the overlapping Wylde but his low cross along the six yard line found to takers and the St.Mirren defence cleared.  Rangers looked to have doubled their lead a couple of minutes later, Campbell won the ball at the left hand angle of the penalty area and his cross was headed into the net by Naismith only to be ruled out by a linesman’s flag.

St. Mirren were not making any impression on the Rangers defence and in the closing minutes it was the Ibrox youngsters that looked the likelier to score. Keeper Cunningham had to look sharp to save at the feet of Campbell after a one-two with Max Wright threatened to send him clear. With a couple of minutes remaining Max Wright’s low cross was collected by Naismith and a great piece of skill took him past two defenders only to be denied by a brave Cunningham save and his feet.

So it is the Ibrox youngsters who await the winners of Wednesday’s tie between Celtic and Livingston. With wins at Pittodrie, East End Park, Tyncastle and New St.Mirren Park they have certainly done it the hard way this year.

Full-Time:- St.Mirren 0 Rangers 1

St.Mirren :- Jake Cunningham; Mark McLennan (Bradley Coyne 87mins), Iain Gray, Dominic Kennedy, Ally Love; Rhys Devlin, Kyle Faulds, Jamie McKernon, Sean Burns (Fraser Team 82mins); Graeme Ramage (Mark Lamont 84mins), Jon McShane.

Not Used:- Michael McKinven, Craig Little.

Rangers:- Grant Adam, Scott Durie, Chris Scott, Darren Cole, Gregg Wylde; Gordon Dick (Max Wright 74mins), Kyle Hutton, Kamil Wiktorski, Rhys McCabe, Archie Campbell, Kal Naismith.

Not Used:- Michael Weir, Ewan McNeil, Dylan McGeough, Kyle McAusland.