Posts Tagged ‘Soccer’

FIFA Under 17 World Cup’s Lone Ranger

November 11, 2009

Andy Milne_1

How many of you know the player pictured above, not many I bet. It is of course Andy Milne, Rangers sole representative at the FIFA Under 17 World Cup in Nigeria. It saddens me to say that the club has not felt that Andrew’s achievement has  been worth even the smallest mention on the Official website. So I will try and do it justice in a little post on the blog.

A few of you may have seen Andy in last season’s Glasgow Cup Final victory over Celtic at Broadwood, where he had an excellent game at left back.  In the month before that game Andrew was part of the New Zealand side that won the Oceania Under 17’s Championship, scoring in each of his country’s three games. This victory meant they had qualified for World Finals in Nigeria.

AndrewMilne-side300The Kiwis were drawn in the same group as Costa Rica, Burkina Faso and Turkey. First up was the Central Americans and New Zealand took the lead after 19 minutes, Andy holding the ball up and fending off several defenders to set up Michael Built who blasted home. The Costa Ricans equalised in the first half, and with the second half being goalless it was a creditable start for the New Zealand side.

In their second match they were up against it, going a goal down to Barkina Faso and struggling to get out of their own half. Keeping the score at 1-0 proved to be essential when in a rare attack skipper Gordon Murie got his head to a free -kick to glance the ball home. Just after the hour mark an incredible downpour gave the referee no option but to take the players from the field. This may have helped the Kiwis, as when the game resumed almost two hours later, they managed to hold out to record their second 1-1 draw.

The final group match was against  the group favourites Turkey, but a positive was the Turks had won their two games and had already qualified for the next phase, so left out four of their regular starters for this game. The Turkish side were still the dominant team and took an early lead in the first half. Once again the New Zealand side showed their great spirit and hung in there. Just when it looked like they would suffer their first defeat an injury time wonder strike from Jack Hobson-McVeigh gave them their third 1-1 draw and a place in the next round as one of the top third placed sides, a fantastic achievement for a New Zealand soccer team.

Andy Milne_2The last 16 saw them up against the hosts Nigeria and it was a step too far for the young Kiwis. Down 2-0 after 25 minutes they never recovered and went on to lose a further three goals. Some consolation for them is that Nigeria are still in the tournament and face Spain in tomorrow’s semi final. From Andy Milne’s perspective the tournament was agreat success, playing every minute in all four games. The challenge now for Andrew is to kick on with his club career. With preparation and the tournament itself he has been away from Murray Park for a significant amount of time. I am sure he will have benefited from this experience and will be pushing for a starting place in the under 19’s in the coming months.

Footnote:- Andy wasn’t the only Scottish based player in the New Zealand squad, Jamie Doris who featured in three of the for games has recently signed  for Hibs.

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US Visitors Too Strong For Young Gers

August 10, 2009

A young Rangers side took on the Under 18 Academy team from MLS side Houston Dynamo at Murray Park on Sunday afternoon. In what was a close game for the first hour, the US side which was on average two years older, ran out comfortable winners in the final half hour.

Rangers 0 Houston Dynamo 4

The first chance came when the Houston keeper came out of his box and missed his attempted header, Zane Powell appeared to being held back as he tried to shoot goalwards, but his effort lacked power and was easily cleared.

Gary Inglis then had to look sharp to rush from his penalty area to clear a through ball. On 18 minutes a good passing move by the US side saw them move the ball from wide left to wide right but the shot was wide of the goal.

Midway through the half  Dylan McGeough play the ball through to Lee Cochrane, under pressure from the central defender he shot straight at the keeper. With ten minutes of the first half remaining Adam Hunter and Lewis McLeod combined down the right and Hunter’s cross had visitor’s keeper Pat Wall stretching to claw the ball away from under his bar.

Half Time :- Rangers 0 Houston Dynamo 0

A few minutes after the break only a stunning save from keeper Wall prevented Rangers taking the lead. Anthony Marenghi got to the byline on the left, his cross was met by the head of Nicky Main at the back post, it looked like a certain goal till Wall dived across goal and touched the ball on to the post and wide.

On the hour mark Houston took the lead, a long ball out of defence by Sebastien Ibeagha was headed on and substitute Jade George ran on to shoot past Blair Currie in the Rangers goal. A couple of minutes later and the visitors doubled their lead. Abe Matamoros and Ibeagha combined down the right the latter’s shot was ajudged, rather harshly, to have been handled by Stuart Urquhart and the referee pointed to the spot. Abe Matamoros stepped up to beat Currie low to his right.

The young Rangers side was now struggling and with just under 20 minutes remaining thy lost a third goal. Josue Morales play the ball forward into the Rangers box, it should have been cleared by Stuart Urquhart, but the 14 year old was out muscled by Jade George who fired past Currie.

With eight minutes left on the clock Jade George completed his hat trick, Another long ball by Ibeagha and a great first touch by George, set him up to beat Currie from just inside the box.

Full Time:- Rangers 0 Houston Dynamo 0

Not a great afternoon for the young Gers, it was a bit disappointing the way they capitulated after losing the first goal. Up to that stage they looked the more likely team to score. Perhaps the opponents were under estimated by the coaches, and in hindsight they may have fielded a few older players.

There were certainly a few players in the American side that impressed. The pick being 17 year old central defender Chibuzo Odenigwe, three goal striker Jade George,  17 year old Sebastien Ibeagha and 15 year old Bryan Celis in midfield. They now taken on Celtic, so it will be interesting to see what side Celtic put out and of course the result. After that they move on to Spain where they take on Barcelona, Real Madrid and Villareal.

Rangers:- Gary Inglis (Blair Currie 46mins); Adam Hunter (Mark Taylor 65mins), Scott Rumsby, Stuart Urquhart, Michael Noble; Christiano Kisuka (Lewis McLeod 27mins), Nicky Main, Dylan McGeough, Anthony Marenghi (Frankie Owens 63 mins), Zane Powell (Lee Cochrane 13 mins( Trialist No. 17 46mins), Trialist No. 9.

Houston Dynamo:- Pat Wall, Reagan Haisler, Chibuzo Odenigwe, Robert Kelley, Benji Saenz (Leo Ayala 80mins), Sebastien Ibeagha, Bryan Celis (Adrian Mandoza 60 mins), Steven Salinas (Christian Camera 55mins), Josue Morales (Sebastian Karpen 75mins), Abe Matamoros (Irvinn Ramirez 75mins), Erik Sanchez (Jade George 75mins).

FIFA World U19’s Chile 1987

November 5, 2008

After covering the 1989 Under 16’s Championships in Scotland, I thought it would be interesting to look at the Rangers connection when Scotland reached the Under 19’s Finals in Chile in 1989. The only Rangers player to make the squad was Scott Nisbet, but there were other less obvious Rangers connections. Some significant and some minor and I will look at these later.

nizzyScotland were drawn in Group with Bahrain, Columbia and the GDR. In their opening game Scotland defeated at GDR side that included Matthias Sammer by 2 goals to 1. The Scotland goals coming from Joe McLeod (Dundee United) & John Butler (St.Mirren).

Next up came Bahrain, who had lost their opening game 1-0 to Colombia,and a Scott Nisbet equaliser securing a 1-1 draw. With the GDRdefeating Colombia 3-1, it meant in those days of 2 points for a win, all teams going in to the final games witha chance of qualifying. Scotland came from 2 down, with goals from Paul Wright (Aberdeen) & Joe McLeod again, meant qualification in second place to the GDR, who clinched top spot on goal difference, beating Bahrain 2-0.

The quarter finals paired Scotland with Andreas Möller inspired West Germany. It was to prove an eventful match for big Nizzy. After scoring Scotland’s equaliser in the 45th minute, he was sent off in 85minutes. The game finished 1-1, but Scotland lost 4-3 on penalties.

gordan_petricThe Germans went on to to defeat Chile 4-0 in the semi final, but lost the final on penalties to Yugoslavia. This brings us nicely to the most significant Rangers connection. He played over 60 games for Rangers and played in the winning Yugoslav side, none other than Gordan Petric. Another Scottish league connection being the Yugoslav keeper Dragoje Lekovićwho of course later played for Kilmarnock.

ally_edwardsThe Australian squad also provided a couple of less obvious Rangers connections. Alistair Edwards was a 6 foot plus winger, who spent at couple of seasons as a youth/reserve player at Ibrox. I remember him scoring at Parkhead for the reserves. Ally then played mainly in the Australian and Malaysian leagues and gained 22 full caps for Australia.

Another member of that Australian squad who made a big impact on their full international side gaining 46 caps, was Paul Trimboli. His senior career was almost exclusively with South Melbourne in Australia, but he did play three games on trial with Rangers.

Also Scotland squad players Robert McRobb (Aberdeen), Scott Crabbe (Hearts) and I think, but not 100% sure on this one, Steve Campbell (Dundee), played as guests for Rangers at a continental youth tournament.

The Scotland Squad in Chile was as follows

Goalkeepers :- Kevin McKeown (Motherwell), Alan Main (Dundee United)

Outfield players :- Robert McRobb (Aberdeen), Jim Weir (Hamilton Accies), Brian Welsh (Dundee United, Scott Nisbet (Rangers), Alex Mathie (Celtic), Steve Murray (Celtic), Billy McKinlay (Dundee United), Paul Wright (Aberdeen), Paul Hunter (East Fife), Joe McLeod (Dundee United), Alan Redpath (Hearts), Gary Ogilvie (Dundee), Steve Campbell (Dundee), John Butler (St.Mirren), Derek Cook (Kilmarnock), Scott Crabbe (Hearts).

Only Billy McKinlayfrom this group went on to represent Scotland at full international level, gaining 29 caps. It makes an interesting comparison with eventual winners Yugoslavia, who as well as the fore mentioned Gordan Petric & Dragoje Leković included the following players

Robert Jarni (Juventus & Real Madrid) 7 caps for Yugoslavia & 81 for Croatia.

Igor Štimac (Derby County & West Ham) 53 caps for Croatia

robert_jarni

igor-stimac

Zvonimir Boban (AC Milan) 8 caps for Yugoslavia & 51 for Croatia.

Predrag Mijatović (Valencia, Real Madrid & Fiorentina) 73 caps for Yugoslavia.

zvonomir_boban

predrag-mijatovic

Robert Prosinečki (Real Madrid & Barcelona) 15 caps for Yugoslavia & 49 for Croatia.

Davor Šuker (Sevilla, Real Madrid, Arsenal) 2 caps for Yugoslavia & 69 for Croatia.

robert_prosineckidavor-suker1

Where did Scotland go wrong ?

Claudio Reyna’s Debut In Scotland ?

October 19, 2008

Since Claudio Reyna’s Rangers debut was against Dundee at Tannadice and not Dens Park you may be saying it was a trick question. You would be right that it is a trick but wrong with the answer. Claudio’s first three competitive games in Scotland were at Pittodrie !!

Going back to my previous post “FIFA Under 16 World Cup Scotland 1989”. Claudio played in all the USA’s three games in Group B based at Pittodrie. They opened with a 1-0 win against Brazil, but lost heavily to East Germany by 5-2. The were 2-0 against Australia after 70 minutes only to lose two late goals and miss out on qualification.

So I thought it would be interesting to look at what happened to the Scotland squad from that tournament.

Jim Will (Arsenal) As stated in the previous post Jim was awarded the Adidas Golden Ball for player of the tournament. He never made an impact and left in 1995 to return to Scotland and Dunfermline Athletic. He again failed to make a break through playing only a handful of games and if my memory is correct he joined the police force.

Billy Dolan (Celtic) Never made a break through at either Celtic or St. Mirren, who he Joined in 1994 on a free transfer. I believe he became a postman after leaving full time football.

Jim Beattie (Celtic) Jim never played a first team game at Celtic and was freed in 1993. He has short spells at St. Mirren, Ayr United and Albion Rovers. Then had a long junior career with Petershill.

Eddie Conville (Dundee United) From what I remember he was a pal of Duncan Ferguson, never made a footballing impact at Dundee United though.

Kevin Bain (Dundee) Captained the team at the finals and went on to play first team football at Dundee, including a League Cup Semi Final against Hearts in 1996. A short spell on loan to Portadown was followed by a brief spell with Rotherham United. Kevin went on to make over 200 appearances in a career with Stirling Albion, Brechin City, Peterhead & East Fife.

Gary Bollan (Dundee United) One that needs no introduction to Rangers fans having spent three years at Ibrox. Made of 50 first team appearances with Dundee United before moving to Rangers. Then played for St. Johnstone & Livingston and briefly returned to Tannadice in 2003-04 season. This was followed by spells at Motherwell, Clyde & Brechin. Gary is currently a coach and Head Of Youth Delvelopment at first division Clyde.

Neil Murray (Rangers) Neil played over sixty games in Rangers first team. The highlight was scoring in the 2-1 Scottish Cup Final win over Aberdeen in 1993. He them became a bit of a football nomad, playing in Switzerland, France and Germany as well as spells in the UK with Dundee United, Grimsby Town, Falkirk and Ayr United. Now on Setanta as a summariser on their Bundesliga coverage and is also a football agent.

John Lindsay (Dundee United) Never made a first team appearance for the Tannadice club. I seem to remember he did player in the lower leagues possibly with Arbroath, I think injury then forced him to retire from playing.

Craig Flannigan (Rangers) No first team appearances for Craig, although he was a regular scorer at youth and West Reserve League level. He played for Clydebank and Albion Rovers after leaving Ibrox. With brief spells at Partick Thistle, Queen Of The South and Queen’s Park.

Kevin McGoldrick (Morton) Looked the part during the tournament and went on to make 15 appearances for Morton. By the age of 19 he was featuring in an article in the Daily Record, a couple of stone heavier and playing amateur football in Paisley.

Paul Dickov (Arsenal) The most successful of the squad, going on to gain 10 full international caps and scoring 1 goal (against The Faroe Islands). Paul has now played over 300 games in the English leagues, most notably with Manchester City, Leicester City and Blackburn Rovers. Returned to Leicester City this season signing a two year contract.

Martin Dickson (Kilmarnock) As second choice goalkeeper Martin had the distinction of being the only player not to feature in the tournament. I’m afraid to say I haven’t a clue what happened to him after the finals.

Brian O’Neil (Celtic) The second of three players to go on and play at full international level, gaining seven caps. Made over 100 appearances for Celtic but struggled a bit when he moved to Aberdeen. A transfer to Vfl Wolfsbug gave his career a spark again. After a brief spell at Derby County he went on to player over 100 games for Preston North End.

Tom McMillan (Dundee United) Like John Lindsay another I can’t remember too much about after this tournament. Dropped into the lower leagues for a spell with Abroath, and maybe it was Tom McMillan who retired through injury. Never played for Dundee United top team.

Ian Downie (Aberdeen) Failed to make the grade at Aberdeen, he had short spells with Forfar Athletic and Arbroath. Ian is now a postman in Kirkcaldy.

Andy McLaren (Dundee United) Okay, who got him as the third player to gain a full international cap ? One cap as a substitute in a friendly international against Poland. Often more in the news for his off field pursuits than on field. His still managed to tot up around 300 games and nearly as many clubs. Well not quite, only Reading, Livingston, Kilmarnock, Partick Thistle, Morton, Dundee, Ayr United as well as Dundee United.

David Hagen (Rangers) Didn’t make a lot of first team appearances, but did play in the Champions League, as a late substitute for Ian Durrant against Club Brugge in 1993. Nearly had as many clubs as Andy McLaren After leaving Rangers. Turning out for Hearts, Falkirk, Livingston, Clyde and Peterhead.

Scott Marshall (Arsenal) Brother of Gordon Marshall former Rangers reserve (and later Celtic) goalkeeper. He made a few first team appearances at Arsenal, his brief loan spell at Celtic is remembered fondly by Rangers fans. His career after that was confined to the lower leagues in England, playing with Brentford and Wycombe Wanderers.

So Claudio Reyna and Luis Figo went on to make a major impact on football after that tournament, were there any others ?


Mark Schwarzer (Australia) Currently in the Premiership with Fulham, having played over 350 games for Middlesbro’. Gained over 60 caps for Australia, playing in the 2006 World Cup Finals in Germany.

Tony Popovic (Australia) Played in the J League before moving to Crystal Palace where he played for 5 years. Another who Played at the last world cup, he is now back playing in Australia with Sydney FC.

Zeljko Kalac (Australia) The third member of that Australian squad to go on and play at the 2006 World Cup. As second choice keeper he never played in any of the games at Pittodrie, but managed to play in the third group game at the last World Cup. Currently at AC MIlan, he has also played in Holland and in England with Leicester City and Wolves.

Victor Ikpeba (Nigeria) Most noted for his time at Monaco under Arsene Wenger, where he played nearly 200 games. Also played with Broussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga. Score the only goal in Nigeria’s win over Bulgaria in the group match at France 1998.

Roberto Abbondanzieri (Argentina) Another goalkeeper and another who played at the last World Cup. Currently with Getafe CF in Spain, was previously with Boca Juniors before coming to Europe.

Mohammed Al Deayea (Saudi Arabia) I know you haven’t heard of him, but he did go to four World Cup Finals. He played in USA ’94, France ’98 and Japan 2002, was in the squad for Germany 2006 but didn’t play. He was capped 181 times by his country and played all his club career in Saudi Arabia. Oh and he was another goalkeeper.