Archive for the ‘Youth League’ 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.

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17’s Held By Falkirk

December 4, 2011

Rangers 1 Falkirk 1

With the 19’s league game clashing with the first team fixture I got my fix of youth football by taking in the 17’s game against Falkirk at Murray Park this afternoon. Falkirk have an excellent youth setup and it wasn’t a real surprise that the game ended all square, the Rangers side included the nine players that signed professional contracts yesterday, which means they will be full-time from the start of next season,

It was Falkirk who had the first chance of the match after six minutes when they broke into the right hand side of the box and the trialist keeper in the Rangers goal stood tall to make the block. Two minutes later at the other end Scott Roberts corner from the right found the head of Craig Halkett and the keeper made a fine save diving to his right. Five minutes later a good passing move involving Tom Walsh and Dylan Dykes setup a chance for Danny Stoney who was denied by a superb block from the central defender to divert the ball wide.

Rangers then took the lead after seventeen minutes, superb play on the right from Scott Roberts saw him take on the full-back and hit the byline, his cutback was fired into the net from close range by Danny Stoney. Six minutes later it was goalscorer Stoney the got to the byline on the right and a combination of keeper and defender just prevented Charlie Telfer from converting.

Four minutes later the visitors created a chance cutting inside from the left flank and Craig Halkett had to make a superb block to clear the danger. A minute later Stoney was quick onto a ball over the top and as he tried to round the keeper he was denied by a brave save at his feet.

With just over ten minutes to the break Dylan Dykes tried his luck from a twenty-yard free-kick which the Falkirk keeper turned round his left hand post. Three minutes later a corner from the right gave the Rangers defence problems but the central defender up for the corner knocked the ball over at the back post.

Just before the interval the Trialist keeper in the Rangers goal was almost caught out from a long-range effort but managed to react and kick the ball clear.

Half-Time:- Rangers 1 Falkirk 0

The home side was first to threaten after the break, Jamie Mills cut in from the left and passed to Danny Stoney inside the box but the Rangers striker’s shot was wide of the keeper’s left hand post. Falkirk grabbed an equaliser on the hour, the replacement Trialist keeper came for a corner from the right only to be beaten to it by a Falkirk player who headed into the net.

Eight minutes later Rangers had a great chance to take the lead, Luke Hammond sent Charlie Telfer clear and as he rounded the keeper he was brought down for a clear penalty, Telfer stepped up to take the kick but saw the keeper dive to his right to make a fine save. The keeper then had a comfortable save five minutes later from a long range shot from Scott Lochrie.

The last real chance of the match came sixty-seconds later, Kjeld McIntyre picked up a slack pass in midfield, broke towards the box before setting up Tom Walsh with the keeper blocking his shot with his legs.

Full-Time: -Rangers 1 Falkirk 1

Rangers Trialist No.1 (Trialist No.21 46mins); Ryan Sinnamon, Greg Pascazio, Craig Halkett, Jamie Mills (Ross Kellock 68mins); Scott Roberts (Kjeld McIntyre 68mins), Dylan Dykes (Scott Lochrie 65mins), Kris Gibson, Tom Walsh; Charlie Telfer, Danny Stoney (Luke Hammond 58mins).

Footnote:- At the same time Rangers 13’s and their Falkirk counterparts played out a goalless draw.

On Saturday Rangers 19’s took on St.Johnstone at Murray Park, as already mentioned the 1pm kick off meant I was unable to attend. Goals from Kyle McAusland, Darren Ramsay, Callum Gallagher (Pen) and Matty Clarke along with a penalty save from Alan Smith saw them run out 4-1 winners.

The official site’s youth coverage has been much better this season and there is a match report at the link below:-

http://www.rangers.co.uk/articles/20111203/youngsters-find-form_2255459_2536380

Youths Lose At Hibs

November 26, 2011

Hibernian 2 Rangers 0

Rangers Under 19’s were second best in today’s youth league clash at Hibs Training Centre. The gale force conditions raised the argument of whether the game should go ahead in such conditions, there was very little football on show and on this occasion the players were blameless as the wind made things almost impossible.

Rangers made one change from last week with Robbie Crawford coming in for Barrie McKay who was ill, the Ibrox side started with the gale force wind at their backs but with both side struggling to cope with the conditions very little of note happened in the early stages. There was almost half an hour gone before there was anything close to what could be called a decent attempt at goal, when Lewis McLeod headed a corner clear it landed at the feet of Adam Mitter who fired just wide of Alan Smith’s right hand post.

The home side took the lead on thirty-eight minutes, Sam Stanton sent a free-kick into the box, Smith came from his line but didn’t get close to gathering and the ball fell to Jordan Forster who shot into the unguarded net. Four minutes before the break Dean Horribine had  a chance from deep inside the right side of the area with Smith turning the ball round the post.

Two minutes later Mitter made progress down the right, passed to Phil Addison who moved it on to Euen Smith and the substitute’s shot was just too high. Just before the half-time whistle Fraser Aird sent a free-kick in from the right and it broke to Callum Gallagher who miscued his shot and the Hibernian defence cleared.

Half-Time:- Hibernian 1 Rangers 0

There was twenty minutes of the second-half gone when Horribine cut into the left side of the penalty area, his shot was parried by Smith into Stanton’s path, the midfielder looked certain to score but was denied when Tom Skogsrud made a great block to deflect the ball over. Ten minutes later Rangers carved out a great chance with a superb passing move, the ball was moved from McLeod to Gallagher onto Kyle McAusland who passed inside to Kamil Wiktorski and he sent Nicolaj Kohlert through but he was  denied an equaliser when Paul Grant diverted the ball wide of his left hand post.

Hibs clinched the points with a freak goal five minutes to go, Sam Stanton’s free-kick from wide on the right touchline was carried by the wind over everybody and found the top corner of the net.

Full-Time:- Hibernian 2 Rangers 0

Hibernian:- Paul Grant; Adam Mitter, Jordan Forster, Jack Verth, Jamie Doris; Phil Addison (Alex Harris 55mins), Dean Horribine, David Gold, Sam Stanton; Danny Handling (Euan Smith 30mins), Ross Caldwell.
 

Rangers:- Alan Smith; Kyle McAusland, Josh Robinson, Adel Gafaiti (Kim Skogsrud 86mins), Tom Skogsrud; Fraser Aird, Robbie Crawford (Kamil Wiktorski 63mins), Nicolaj Kohlert, Lewis McLeod, Darren Ramsay (Matty Clarke 81mins); Callum Gallagher.

Not Used:- Blair Currie (GK)

Youths Win Against Caley

November 18, 2011

Rangers 4 Inverness Caley Thistle 0

Rangers Youths recorded a much-needed win against bottom club Inverness Caley Thistle at Murray Park this afternoon. Once they made the breakthrough fourteen minutes before the break the result was never in doubt. With Luca Gasparotto away on international duty Josh Robinson took his place in central defence, Nicolaj Kohlert and Darren Ramsay replaced Robbie Crawford and Adam Hunter in midfield, Kamil Wiktorski just back from three games in a week for Poland took his place on the bench.

After an early longe range shot from Nicolaj Kohlert that Edward Baldy saved comfortably Rangers continued to dominate possession but were failing to create any clear goal scoring opportunities. It was the visitors who came close after twenty-six minutes, Alan Smith produced a fine save diving to his left to parry Calum Dingwall’s twenty-five yarder, when the ball was cleared from the penalty area Liam Polworth’s net bound shot was headed clear just in front of goal by Josh Robinson.

Rangers took the lead when Darren Ramsay’s corner from the right landed at the feet of Adel Gafaiti and his shot from near the penalty spot through a crowd of players found the net. Three minutes later Kohlert played the ball up to Callum Gallagher who turned and fired a shot that only just cleared Baldy’s crossbar.

Eight minutes before the break Barrie McKay picked up a loose ball midway inside the Caley half and he found Lewis McLeod in space inside the box his shot had Baldy stretching low to his left to make a fine save.

Half-Time:- Rangers 1 Inverness Caley Thistle 0

Only three minutes of the second period had elapsed when Rangers doubled their lead, Darren Ramsay and Tom Skogsrud combined on the left and from the latter’s cross Lewis McLeod was determined and beat a hesitant defence to score from close range with a brave header. Gallagher then latched on to a slack Jack Sutherland headed pass back and Baldy did well to tip his powerful shot over.

Just before the hour the Caley keeper was in action again, Ramsay sent in a cross from the left which was headed to the edge of the box from where McLeod sent a drive goalwards,  Baldy dived to his left to turn the ball round for a corner. Midway through the half Rangers scored again, the ball was worked across the edge of the box from right to left, from McKay via McLeod to Darren Ramsay who shot across keeper Baldy into the far corner.

As the game entered the last quarter of an hour McKay cut in from the right to try his luck with keeper Baldy standing tall to block. Five minutes later Gafaiti sent a cross over from the left which McKay knocked back across goal, a Caley defender appeared to deny Gallagher a few yards from goal although the referee awarded a goal kick. The scoring was complete six minutes from time, a superb McKay run and perfectly timed pass picked out Stuart Urquhart’s run, who continued into the box to shoot past Baldy.

Full-Time:- Rangers 4 Inverness Caley Thistle 0

Rangers:- Alan Smith; Kyle McAusland, Josh Robinson, Adel Gafaiti, Tom Skogsrud; Darren Ramsay (Matty Clarke 84mins), Fraser Aird (Stuart Urquhart 82mins), Nicolaj Kohlert, Lewis McLeod, Barrie McKay; Callum Gallagher.
 
Not Used:- Blair Currie (GK), Kamil Wiktorski, Kim Skogsrud, Robbie Crawford, Adam Hunter.
 
Inverness CT:- Edward Baldy; Jack Sutherland, Harry Stewart (Mark Noble 82mins), Matthew Murphy, Tom Smith; Martin Laing, Liam Polworth, Ryan Christie (Andy Skinner 82mins), Ryan Watson (Stephen McKenzie 82mins); Kevin Buchan, Callum Dingwall.

Easy Glasgow Cup Win For 17’s

November 15, 2011

Clyde 0 Rangers 9

Following last week’s scare against Queen’s Park, Alan Kernaghan’s Under 17’s had a more than comfortable win at Broadwood tonight. Indeed it wasn’t until the closing few minutes that the home side had their first meaningful attempt at goal.

Rangers took an early lead after only five minutes, Charlie Telfer was free inside the right hand side of the penalty area, he could have gone for goal himself but rolled the ball across goal to give Jamie Burrows the simple task of scoring from close range. Four minutes later Rangers were awarded a free-kick on the right hand angle of the box, Stuart Urquhart stepped up and his effort on goal was touched on to the bar and over by keeper Liam Cameron.

On the quarter-hour mark Andy Murdoch sent Danny Stoney through on goal but he shot wide of the left hand post. Stoney looked certain to score two minutes later, Jordan Wilson’s cross to the back post looked perfect but Danny miscued his header and Cameron was allowed to make the save. Rangers doubled their lead on twenty minutes with a fine goal, Stoney played the ball up to Jamie Burrows, a superb touch and turn took him away from a defender and he showed great strength to hold off Fraser McGhee before a neat finish past Cameron.

Four minutes later the striker turned creator when set up Stoney inside the box who was  only denied by a fine Cameron save at point-blank range. Sixty seconds later the home side were hit by a three goal burst in as many minutes, when Cameron failed to hold a Wilson cross from the left, Ryan Sinnamon’s shot crossed the line despite the efforts of two Clyde defenders on the line.

A superb Telfer pass then sent Stoney heading for the byline on the right and his cutback was converted by Darren Ramsay for number four. The fifth goal soon followed this time Tom Walsh was the architect setting up Charlie Telfer to advance into the box and beat Cameron.

The home keeper was to excel in a busy sixty seconds just before the break, when a cross from the left was headed up in the air Cameron reacted to block Stoney’s volley and then dived to his left to turn Walsh’s shot wide for a corner. And he wasn’t finished yet, when the corner found its way to Wilson on the left hand side of the box, it was his turn to be denied as Cameron again threw himself to the left to touch wide.

Half-Time:- Clyde 0 Rangers 5

The second half was soon following a similar pattern and two minutes had passed when Ramsay had an incredible miss, he started the move with a pass to Walsh on the left and made his way into the six yard box to be on the end of Walsh’s low ball across goal but somehow screwed wide from a couple of yards. Two minutes later it was Ramsay that got a flick on to Wilson’s long ball and send Burrows clear, the striker went round keeper Cameron but defender Cameron Love got back to concede a corner.

On fifty-two  minutes Rangers got their first goal of the second half, Wilson played the ball forward to Ramsay, the midfielder delayed his pass to match the run from Scott Roberts who progressed into the box and shoot past Cameron. Four minutes later Rangers scored again, from a free-kick just outside the box on the right, around ten yards from the byline, Ramsay took everyone by surprise when he shot for goal and when keeper Cameron failed to hold, Jamie Burrows was well placed to net from a couple of yards.

Despite the heroics from Cameron Rangers scored again with twenty minutes remaining, the keeper advanced from his line to save at the feet of Burrows after he was played through by Telfer. The ball broke kindly for Burrows who set up Telfer, his effort was saved by the keeper. But he was out of luck on the third occasion when it broke to Roberts, although he screwed his shot across goal it went straight to Darren Ramsay who fired past the helpless keeper.

Scoring was complete with the goal of the game on eighty-three minutes, when the ball was cleared from the Clyde penalty area Dylan Dykes gave Cameron no chance as he curled a 25 yarder into the bottom right hand corner of the net. The home side never gave up and were denied a consolation by a fine Liam Kelly save, Mark King’s pass released Danny Hendry inside the left hand side of the box, the Rangers keeper stood his ground to block the shot and keep his clean sheet.

Full-Time:- Clyde 0 Rangers 9

Clyde:- Liam Cameron; Conor Paton (Charles McCann 81mins), Fraser McGhee (Josh Robertson 46mins), Cameron Love, Cameron McGhee; Dillan Duddy (Sean Mears 46mins), Dan Smith, Reece Glackin, Danny Hendry; Mark King, Scott Ferguson.

Not Used:- Greg Kane, Cameron Cairney.

Rangers:- Liam Kelly; Ryan Sinnamon (Dylan Dykes 46mins), Craig Halkett, Stuart Urquhart, Jordan Wilson; Danny Stoney (Scott Roberts 46mins), Andy Murdoch, Darren Ramsay, Tom Walsh (Jamie Mills 60mins); Jamie Burrows, Charlie Telfer.

Not Used:- Sam George (GK)

17’s Grab Win From Jaws Of Defeat

November 9, 2011

Rangers 3 Queen’s Park 2

With twelve minutes remaining in tonight’s Glasgow Cup match at Murray Park Rangers Under 17’s were staring at defeat, trailing Queens Park by two goal to nil they managed to turn things around with three goals in an eight minute spell for a unlikley victory. Where as the comeback showed great resilience and spirit it doesn’t hide the fact that for the previous 78 minutes they were second best.

In a first half where the Ibrox youngsters never got going the visitor’s threatened in the thirteenth minute with a break on the right hand side of the box with the shot going across goal and wide. Rangers then had a narrow escape on twenty minutes, Liam Kelly was caught in possession following a pass back and in the ensuing scramble Craig Halkett cleared from the goal line.

Eight minutes later the Hampden side came closer still, a long ball caught out the centre of Rangers defence and the striker was through on goal, his chip over Kelly looked to have given them a deserved lead only for the ball to strike the crossbar. Almost thirty-five minutes had gone before there was any threat from the home side, then Charlie Telfer broke through but his shot lacked power and the keeper saved low to his left.

A minute later and Queen’s Park took the lead,  a free-kick from around ten yards into the Rangers half was sent into the box and missed by defenders and attackers alike and bounced into the corner of the net. Rangers tried to reply immediately and after good work down the right by Scott Roberts, Darren Ramsay fired his cutback wide of the keeper’s left hand post.

Rangers finished the half on the front foot, with three minutes remaining Stuart Urquhart broke forward from defence,played a one-two with Ramsay and sent a shot from the edge of the box just wide of the right hand post. Ramsay the fed the overlapping Jordan Wilson who brought out a fine save from the Queens keeper low to his left.

Half-Time:- Rangers 0 Queen’s Park 1

Rangers started the second half with a flurry but a series of corners failed to create any clear goalscoring opportunities, with Queen’s Park settling into the second half they doubled their lead on the hour mark. From a break down the right hand side Liam Kelly was forced into a fine diving save low to his right, as the ball ran loose Craig Halkett fouled the Queens player inside the box and the resultant penalty was duly converted.

Midway through the half a Ramsay corner from the left broke to Wilson who saw his close range effort deflected wide. Within sixty seconds Telfer created space on the right and his cross was knocked wide of goal at the back post by Tom Walsh. The visitors immediately went to the other end and a shot from the edge of the box forced another save from keeper Kelly.

In a desperate measure to get back into the match central defender Craig Halkett was moved up front to assist in attack and Rangers were thrown a lifeline with twelve minutes left on the clock. Charlie Telfer sent a free-kick in from the right and it was handled by a Queen’s Park defender for a clear penalty which Charlie Telfer stepped up to convert.

Five minutes later only a stunning Liam Kelly save prevented the Hampden side scoring, a low cross from the left looked harmless until it was left by Urquhart with keeper Kelly showing brilliant reactions to save low to his left. Rangers were to capitalise on their keeper’s excellence by grabbing and immediate equaliser, Jamie Burrows rising to head Telfer’s corner from the left past the keeper.

The home side now had the momentum and two minutes later good play on the left and another fine cross from Telfer saw make shift striker Craig Halkett leap to head a winner that only eight minutes earlier looked highly unlikely.

Full-Time:- Rangers 3 Queen’s Park 2

Rangers:- Liam Kelly; Ryan Sinnamon, Craig Halkett, Jordan Wilson, Jamie Mills (Tom Walsh 40mins); Scott Roberts (Danny Stoney 46mins), Andy Murdoch, Stuart Urquhart, Charlie Telfer; Darren Ramsay; Jamie Burrows.

Not Used:- Sam George (GK), Dylan Dykes

Injury Time Goal Stuns Youths

November 5, 2011

Hearts 4 Rangers 3

A free-kick deep into injury time cost Rangers Under 19’s a point at Riccarton this morning, it was hard on the youngsters but the failure to consolidate a two goal lead was to prove to be the side’s undoing.

After some initial Hearts pressure Rangers took the game to the Edinburgh side, Fraser Aird laid the ball back to Kyle McAusland on the right and from his cross Chris Kane headed over own crossbar under pressure. Aird’s corner from the left was returned to him from a Hearts defender and from the winger’s cross Tom Skogsrud headed past Jack Hamilton.  A couple of minutes later Callum Gallagher headed narrowly over from Aird’s free-kick from the left.

The Ibrox youngsters were to double their lead on ten minutes, Fraser Aird fired a free-kick from the edge of the box against the Hearts wall and when the ball came back to him he sent a superb cross into the box for the unmarked Kyle McAusland to head past Hamilton. Six minutes later the home side tested Alan Smith when Jamie Walker cut in from the left, the Rangers keeper saving low to his left.

On twenty-one minutes Chris Tobin picked up a loose ball in midfield, broke forward before firing for goal and clipping the outside of Smith’s right hand post. A minute later Hearts pulled a goal back, Jamie Walker cut in from the left and shot for goal, although keeper Smith will be disappointed as the shot slipped under his body. Two minutes later Rangers restored their two goal lead with a superb goal, Gallagher went past Brad McKay on the right and continued to the byline where he looked up and picked out Robbie Crawford’s run into the box, the midfielder picked his spot shooting past Hamilton.

Only a minute had passed and the home side were handed a lifeline, Jamie Walker went down under a Kamil Wiktorski challenge inside the box and the referee pointed to the spot for what looked like a soft award, the same player stepped up to send Smith the wrong way from the spot. Just after the half-hour mark the sides were level, Tobin got to the byline and when his cross found its way to Brad McKay at the back post he had time and space to control the ball before shooting past Smith.

Rangers replied with a long-range effort from Lewis McLeod after Barrie McKay passed the ball in from the left, his shot was straight at Hamilton who saved comfortably.

Half-Time:- Hearts 3 Rangers 3

The first chance of the second half came nine minutes in, Gallagher played in Aird on the right hand angle of the box and his shot across goal was just wide of Hamilton’s right hand post. The home side replied immediately, Callum Patterson’s header from Ryan Stewart’s right-wing cross was only just over.

On 62 minute Stewart tested Smith in the Rangers goal when the striker cut in from the right with the Rangers keeper saving to his right. The keeper was to better that five minutes later with a stunning save, Hearts worked the ball out to the right and when Stewart got his head to Patterson’s cross a goal looked certain till Smith dived to his right to turn the ball wide for a corner.

With quarter of an hour remaining it was Hearts keeper Hamilton’s turn to excel denying Rangers twice within sixty seconds. Tom Skogsrud got the byline and his cutback found Lewis McLeod  eight yards out and a goal looked likely until Hamilton dived to his left to parry. The  next attack came on the opposite flank, McAusland’s cross found Kim Skogsrud at the back post this time Hamilton was quick from his line to block the substitute’s effort and the Hearts defence cleared.

With almost five minutes of injury time played Hearts were awarded a free-kick on the left hand angle of Rangers penalty area and up stepped Fraser Mullen to give Smith no chance as he found the net via the keeper’s left hand post, Rangers barely had time to kick-off before the referee blew for full-time.

Full-Time:- Hearts 4 Rangers 3

Hearts:- Jack Hamilton; Fraser Mullen, Chris Kane, Brad McKay, Kevin McHattie; Callum Patterson (Billy King 78mins), Callum Tapping (Sam Nicholson 83mins), Chris Kane, Jason Holt, Jamie Walker; Ryan Stewart.

Not Used:- Blair Carswell, Dale Carrick, Michael Thomson, George Scott, Adam King.

Rangers:- Alan Smith; Kyle McAusland, Luca Gasparotto, Adel Gafaiti, Tom Skogsrud; Fraser Aird (Ewan McNeill 77mins), Robbie Crawford (Kim Skogsrud 64mins), Kamil Wiktorski, Lewis McLeod, Barrie McKay (Darren Ramsay 68mins); Callum Gallagher.

Not Used:- Blair Currie, Nicolaj Kohlert, Sam McMahon, Marc Dyer.

Youths Secure Win

October 22, 2011

Dundee United 2 Rangers 3

Rangers Under 19’s secured a more comfortable win than the scoreline suggests at St. Andrews this afternoon, although United’s  second goal meant an edgy closing nine minutes. With Kyle McAusland suspended and Kim Skogsrud on international duty it meant a reshuffle in defence with Luca Gasparrotto coming in to partner Adel Gafaiti.

Rangers started brightly and when Marc Dyer was fouled on the left hand angle of the box Barrie McKay tested Phillip Anderson from the free kick which the keeper saved low to his left. Two minutes later Kamil Wiktorski tried his luck from fully thirty-five yards and only just cleared the United crossbar.

Anderson was again in action after five minutes, Tom Skogsrud passed the ball forward to Dyer and the home keeper held his effort from wide on the left just under the bar. Rangers pressure was to tell when they took the lead on ten minutes, McKay had possession wide on the right and passed inside to Wiktorski who found Dyer breaking into the box, Anderson dived to his left to parry his shot but Callum Gallagher was on hand to knock the ball into the net.

Three minutes later Rangers came close to doubling their lead, McKay cut in from the right and his shot took a double deflection off two United defenders before looping over Anderson and crashing off the crossbar. The home side then equalised with their first meaningful attack of the game, Gafaiti was hesitant allowing Ryan Ferguson to break towards Rangers penalty area before playing in Shane Campbell to shoot past Alan Smith.

Rangers were soon back on attack, and when Gallagher challenged for a Skogsrud cross the ball broke to Nikolaj Kohlert who’s net bound shot was deflected wide. From the resultant corner the ball broke to Josh Robinson and his shot was headed off the line, the United defence managed to clear their area but only as far as McKay who was only just wide from the edge of the box. Midway through the half United came close to taking the lead, former Ranger Michael Noble’s free-kick from the right hand angle of the box had Smith beaten as it came back off the bar, in the ensuing scramble Alan Smith produced two fantastic point-blank saves before the Rangers defence scrambled clear.

Eight minutes before the break Anderson dropped Skogsrud corner from the right, with the ball bouncing a yard from the goal line and several Rangers players close by a goal looked certain before a United defender appeared to hook the ball over the crossbar. This time the corner was from the right and Lewis McLeod’s delivery was perfect for Luca Gasparotto to rise and head into the top corner.

Half-Time:-Dundee United 1 Rangers 2

United almost caught Rangers cold in the opening minute after the break, Gafaiti was again hesitant this time in dealing with a long ball allowing Ferguson in on goal to knock the ball past the advancing Smith, but Gaparotto had time to get back and clear. Rangers then increased their lead six minutes later, following a throw in on the left Skogrud’s ball into the box from the left saw Barrie McKay beat the hesitant Anderson to the ball and roll it into the empty net.

A minute later Robinson played the ball forward to Gallagher and a superb touch and turn took him clear of the defence only to drag his shot across goal and wide. The Rangers striker then had another chance  latching onto a Kohlert ball over the top , the result being the same, dragging his shot across goal and wide.

As the final ten minutes approached McKay chased the ball on the left before taking on Ross Gilmour and testing Anderson. A flowing move then created another chance, McLeod and McKay working a one-two on the left before McKay passed inside to Wiktorski who had Anderson diving low to save.  From the keeper’s clearance United got back into the match, Gasparotto failed to deal with the long ball and keeper Smith advanced to find himself in no mans land, the United substitute Glenn Hawe heading over the keeper into the empty net.

In a game they had been in control of the Ibrox youngsters were now hanging on as the game entered the final minute, from a throw down near the byline on the left Robert Thomson managed to turn and Smith blocked his shot from a narrow angle with his legs, from the corner the Rangers defence failed to clear and McLeod had to clear a goal bound shot from the line.  Rangers still had time to have a good shout for a penalty, a solo run from the tireless Gallagher saw him go past a couple of defenders before going down under a challenge, the referee appeared to be about to point to the spot before waving play on.

Full-Time:- Dundee United 2 Rangers 3

Dundee United:- Phillip Anderson; Ross Gilmour, Jim Thomson, John Young, Michael Noble; Ryan Ferguson (Craig Bell 80mins), Scott Smith, Jordan Moore (Glenn Hawe 61mins), Ryan Lundie, Robert Thomson; Shane Campbell (Ryan Gauld 64mins)

Not Used:-  John Soutar,

Rangers:- Alan Smith; Josh Robinson, Luca Gasparotto, Adel Gafaiti, Tom Skogsrud; Barrie McKay, Nikolaj Kohlert (Adam Hunter 76mins), Kamil Wiktorski, Lewis McLeod, Marc Dyer (Ewan McNeil 61mins); Callum Gallagher

Not Used:- Blair Currie (GK), Sam McMahon, Jack Werndly, Aaron McGregor, Robbie McIntyre.

All Square At Bathgate

October 1, 2011

Motherwell 1 Rangers 1

Rangers Under 19’s were held to  a 1-1 draw by Motherwell at Creamery Park , Bathgate this morning. Billy Kirkwood’s side held a half-time lead after controlling the first-half but the second half saw a reversal of that with the Fir Park side in the ascendancy and a share of the points was probably fair.

Rangers were first to threaten after seven minutes when Kamil Wiktorski robbed Steven Hetherington but his effort was just to high and cleared the crossbar. A slack Motherwell free-kick on the halfway line after sixteen minutes allowed Barrie McKay to break  forward and again the shot was just too high.

Midway through the half Kyle McAusland got his head to a Robbie Crawford corner from the right but yet again it cleared the crossbar. A Rangers goal was only delayed and it came  after twenty-six minutes. Lewis McLeod won the ball on the halfway line and sent McKay down the right, when he played the ball across the box Robbie Crawford had timed his run perfectly to net from around ten yards,

Rangers continued to be in control and two minutes before the break a long-range McKay shot had keeper Willie Muir saving low to his left.

Half-Time:-Motherwell 0 Rangers 1

Ten minutes after the break Motherwell has their first real effort on goal when former Ranger Steven Hetherington’s effort from around 25 yards was saved by Alan Smith low to his left. Rangers replied when McKay switched play with a cross field pass from left to right to Callum Gallagher and Muir held his shot at the near post.

Two minutes later a run from midfield took Hetherington past three Rangers players, his pass inside Ewan McNeil set up a great chance for Keiran McGachie who knocked the ball past Smith with McAusland getting back to clear. On the hour a neat back-heel from Lee Erwin sent up another chance for McGachie this time Smith tipping the ball over.

On 71 minutes Motherwell were back on level terms, when Ewan McNeil and Adel Gafaiti both went for a long ball they only succeeded in taking each other out and allowedn Motherwell to break into the left side of the penalty area, when the ball was played across goal Keiran McGachie had a simple task to net at the far post. The home side had a chance to claim all three points in the final minute, following a corner on the right Ewan Murray’s overhead kick sent the ball back across goal but Erwin could only knock the ball over from close range.

Full-Time:- Motherwell 1 Rangers 1

Motherwell:- Willie Muir; Darren Brownlie, Euan Murray, Adam Cummins, Zane Francis-Angol; Josh Watt (Craig Moore 85mins), Hermann Mboa Mekongo (Adam Ashgar 71mins), Steven Hetherington, Keiran Mac Donald; Keiran McGachie, Lee Erwin

Not Used :- Ross Stewart (GK), Michael Lynch, Jack Leitch

Rangers:- Alan Smith; Ewan McNeil (Josh Robinson 71mins), Kyle McAusland, Adel Gafaiti, Kim Skogsrud; Lewis McLeod, Kamil Wiktorski, Robbie Crawford, Tom Skogsrud ( Fraser Aird 69 mins); Barrie McKay ( Nicolaj Kolhert 58mins), Callum Gallagher

Not Used:- Blair Currie (GK), Jack Werndly, Darren Ramsay, Marc Dyer

Dominant 17’s Lose To Only Goal

September 22, 2011

Celtic 1 Rangers 0

Rangers under 17’s will be wondering how they failed to take something from their opening Glasgow Cup section match against Celtic at Lennoxtown tonight. A missed penalty and failure to turn almost total domination in the second half against ten man Celtic into goals proved costly.

Rangers created the first chance after five minutes, Stuart Urquhart played the ball out to Jordan Wilson on the left and when his cross found Danny Stoney inside the box the Rangers striker slipped at the vital moment and his effort was weak which Jordan Hart saved easily. Five minutes later Andy Murdoch came to Rangers rescue, when Luca Gasparotto missed a header Paul McMullen was through on goal he lobbed the ball over the advancing Liam Kelly with the Rangers full-back clearing from in front of an empty net.

Rangers went straight to the other end and Darren Ramsay played Stoney through, keeper Hart parried the striker’s effort from a tight angle wide for a corner.  Hart was again in action seven minutes later this time parrying Fraser Aird’s shot after the midfielder broke forward from midfield.

On the half-hour mark Rangers had a great opportunity to take the lead, Ramsay played the ball to Stoney inside the box his superb turn opened up space and just as he was about to pull the trigger he was brought down by Stuart Findlay for a clear penalty and certain red card for the Celtic central defender. Fraser Aird stepped up to take the kick but keeper Jordan Hart produced a great save diving to his right. Four Minutes later the home side came close when a corner from the right was headed wide of Kelly’s left hand post.

On 36 minutes Rangers fell behind, with little danger Fraser Aird lost possession just outside his own penalty area and Paul McMullen broke into the box to shoot past Kelly.

Half-Time:- Celtic 1 Rangers o

Three minutes into the second half Rangers were denied by the woodwork, Aird’s cross from the right found its way to Darren McGill on the left hand side of the box and his effort from a narrow angle was parried onto the crossbar by keeper Hart. Four minutes later it was the post that rescued the home side, Aird’s free-kick broke to Luca Gasparotto  his volley hit Hart’s left hand post before rolling along the goal line into the keeper’s arms.

With keeper Liam Kelly now a virtual spectator Rangers continued to press forward and when the ball was cleared to the edge of the box Andy Murdoch’s improvised effort was held under the crossbar by Hart. With twenty minutes remaining Rangers had strong penalty claims when Wilson appeared to be pushed as he was about to get his head to an Aird cross but the referee waved play on.

Rangers thought they had grabbed the equaliser they deserved on 83 minutes when Craig Halkett rose to head Ramsay’s cross from the right into the net but the lineman flagged for offside. That was to prove to be the last chance and Celtic defended to hold out and claim the points.

Full-Time:- Celtic 1 Rangers o

Celtic:- Jordan Hart; Paul Hinley, Owen O’Connell, Stuart Findlay, Ross Madden; Adam Brown (Jaison McGrath 68mins), Lewis Kidd, Jamie Lindsay, Tim Mjalby; Denny Johnstone, Paul McMullen ( Paul McLellan 74mins)

Not Used:-  Connor Gaffney (GK), Mark Barman, Liam Henderson, Calum Waters

Rangers:- Liam Kelly; Andy Murdoch, Craig Halkett, Luca Gasparotto, Jordan Wilson; Charlie Telfer (Dylan Dykes 86mins), Fraser Aird, Stuart Urquhart, Darren Ramsay, Darren McGill (Jamie Mills 61mins); Danny Stoney (Ryan Sinnamon 76mins)

Not Used:- Sam George (GK), Greg Pazcazio, Tom Walsh, Scott Roberts