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Youth Cup holders Rangers knock St Johnstone out on penalties

Rangers FC 0

St Johnstone 0

  • Rangers win 3-2 on penalties
  • Sunday, 22 February 2015
  • Ibrox Stadium
  • Under 20´s
  • Little Big Shot Youth Cup

Euan Strathearn | YFS Central Region Journalist
Author's Bio | Articles by Author | [email protected]

Rangers progressed to the semi-finals of the Little Big Shot Youth Cup after winning 3-2 on penalties against St Johnstone following a tight 90 minutes.

Rangers dominated the majority of possession, but there were chances for St Johnstone. Despite this, neither team could grab a goal in a fiercely contested match at Ibrox. Kyle Lander and Jason Kerr converted their penalties for the Saints whilst Fraser Aird, Tom Walsh and top-scorer Ryan Hardie ensured the current holders booked their place in the semi-finals.

The rain was beating down relentlessly on the Ibrox pitch and it impacted on the game with a lot of free-kicks being conceded for both sides. St Johnstone made a bright start to the match with Connor McLaren whipping a few crosses into the box but Liam Kelly in the Rangers goal comfortably mopped up everything that came his way.

Rangers dealt with the early pressure well and began to impose themselves on the match. Tom Walsh whisked his way past the St Johnstone defence before pulling the trigger from the edge of the box only for his shot to be beaten away by Mark Hurst.

Free-kicks and wasteful balls were to become a recurring them of the match with Ian Durrant looking especially frustrated in the technical area.

Rangers began to dominate the game as half-time approached but couldn’t find a way to break down a resolute St Johnstone defence. With just over 10 minutes until the break, the ball was bouncing around the St Johnstone penalty area like a ping-pong ball. First Junior Ogens shot was repelled before Hardie had two shots blocked.

The Saints goalie was certainly the busier of the two keepers but there was nothing clear-cut in the first half to separate the two sides.

  • Half Time:
  • Rangers FC
  • 0-0
  • St Johnstone

The half-time team talk seemed to have had an effect on the away side as St Johnstone began to up the tempo. McClaren drove venomously at the Rangers defence before his shot was blocked courageously by Craig Halkett.

With only three points separating the two teams in the SPFL Development League and just one goal for Rangers deciding their last encounter, it perhaps wasn’t surprising how tight the match was proving to be. 

Fraser Aird came close a couple of times as the match wore on, firing shots over on a couple of occasions but neither team were able to find any sort of rythym on a miserable afternoon in the south side of Glasgow.

St Johnstone's best chance of the match came when the ball bobbled to Lander eight yards out who lashed his shot at the Rangers goal, but Kelly threw his legs in the way making a superb reflex save.

The fresh legs of Ross Lyon began to make a difference for the boys in blue as full-time approached. His skill and pace livened up a gritty game in the closing stages as he e danced past the St Johnstone defence with an unbelievable turn before the ball eventually fell to Aird who couldn’t get his shot past the Saints defence.

With the game entering into injury time and Rangers taking control of the match, the pacy Lyon chipped the ball over the defence for Hardie who headed inches wide.

  • Full Time:
  • Rangers FC
  • 0-0
  • St Johnstone
Rangers looked eager to put the match to bed with a spectacular over-head kick effort from centre-back Halkett nearly puting Rangers in-front before the first half of extra time.

St Johnstone nearly made Rangers pay for their reluctance to pull the trigger inside the area as the best chance of extra-time fell to the away side. McClaren fed the ball through to Lander whos shot would have put the Saints in the semis had it not been for a sharp save by Kelly.

The clock ran down as the rain continued to belt the Ibrox surface and the whitle blew meaning the match would go to penalties just as it had done in Rangers victory in the Cup Final last year.

Kyle Lander and Tom Walsh stepped up to give both teams early hope before the confident Kelly saved McLaren's effort giving Rangers the upper hand. Fraser Aird blasted his penalty into the top right corner giving Rangers a 2-1 lead.

Substitute Brodie Gray sent his penalty wide but Scott Robert couldn’t extend Rangers advantage as his penalty was saved by the strong hand of Hurst.

Jason Kerr leveled for the Saints and the pressure turned back onto Rangers when Dylan Dykes had his shot saved by Hurst. St Johnstone could have went in front but Esslemont was denied by Kelly.

Ryan Hardie who had been frustrated all afternoon stepped up and blasted home to put the Ibrox side into the semi-finals and keep their dream of retaining the Youth Cup Alive.

Final Result: Rangers win 3-2 on penalties


Rangers FC
St Johnstone
1.Liam Kelly
2.Ryan Sinnamon
3.Jamie Mills
4.Fraser Aird
5.Craig Halkett
6.Ross McRorie
7.Junior Ogen
8.Darren Ramsey
9.Ryan Hardie
10.Tom Walsh
11.Dylan Dykes
21.Robbie McRorie
12.Ross Lyon
14.Kristian Gibson
15.Scott Robert
16.Greg Pascazio
1.Mark Hurst
2.Aaron Comrie
3.Rhys Evans
4.Matthew Buchanan
5.Alexander Kitchen
6.Jason Kerr
7.Connor McLaren
8.Scott Wilson
9.Kyle Lander
10.Paul Simpson
11.Jack Parr
12.Brodie Gray
14.Morgan Reid
15.Ben Mckenzie
16.Matthew Aitken
17.Paul Esslemont
Star Player
Rangers FC
St Johnstone
Tom Walsh - composed display in midfield and never stopped battling despite the evident frustration amongst the Ibrox ranks.
Mark Hurst - Made some crucial stops which ensured St Johnstone remained in this fixture till the end. Unlucky not to have been on the winning side.
Magic Moment
Rangers FC
St Johnstone
Substitute Ross Lyons incredible turn towards the end of the match. An unbelievable piece of skill which could bamboozle any defender - sheer brilliance.
When Mark Hurst saved Dylan Dykes penalty giving St Johnstone the chance to go into the lead with the next penalty. Unfortunate for Hurst and St Johnstone they couldnt go on from here as it gave the team huge belief.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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