Rangers progressed to the final of the SFA Youth Cup after a Jamie Burrows goal was enough to see them edge past Ayr United in the semi-finals at Ibrox.
The Gers were determined to book their place in the final for a second consecutive year from the off, making an intense start which Ayr found difficult to cope with. The away side were camped in their own half, struggling to make their way up the pitch as the hosts pressurised in a dominant opening 20 minutes.
Ian Durrant’s men had the bulk of the possession for the majority of the half and managed to register some early chances, the first falling to Darren Ramsey who drilled a shot wide from 20 yards. Less than a minute later, Rangers were back in the attacking third with Ryan Hardie dribbling past the challenges and making his way into the box, the striker rounded keeper Shaun Newman but was denied by the crossbar from a few yards. The forward has been in terrific form in this competition but failed to add to his three goals on this occasion.
A goal for the Blues looked imminent and on 15 minutes a triple chance looked like it might break the deadlock; Jamie Mills was on the end of a cross by Ryan Sinnamon and was unlucky to see his initial attempt hit the woodwork, then he reacted quickest to fire a snap-shot towards goal but Newman was equal to it. Ayr could not get the ball clear but Sinnamon's shot was deflected over from the edge of the area.
Midway through the half, Craig Halkett headed over from a corner for the home side after beating his marker to the ball as Ayr finally began to look a little more comfortable. The visitors did not offer much attacking threat in the opening 45, finding it difficult to link their play and add rhythm. However, the best chance of the half arguably fell to them when right-back Gordon Young delivered an excellent cross to the back post which picked out the unmarked Sean McKenzie but the number nine failed to direct his header towards target.
At the other end, the pressure was not as relentless as it was earlier on but Rangers still looked more threatening and Hardie was sharp, working hard and he nearly finished off a nice, flowing move but the effort was blocked while Jamie Burrows could not make enough contact from Sinnamon’s cut-back as he tried a flick towards the near post on the stroke of half-time. There were a couple moments for Ayr in between those opportunities, long range drives from Dale Shirkie and Steven McCreadie but neither caused Liam Kelly any problems in the home goal.