Celtic Under 19s vs Rangers Under 19s
Scottish FA Youth Cup Final. Hampden Park
27th April 2011
Author: Robert McCracken
Celtic retained the Scottish FA Youth Cup with a battling victory in extra time against city rivals Rangers at Hampden Park.
It was Celtic who opened the scoring in the second half when Greig Spence turned and beat the Rangers ‘keeper, Gary Inglis, with a measured shot.
With the green and white ribbons almost on the cup, Celtic slipped up. Rhys McCabe put the ball into the Celtic net with only a few minutes left on the clock.
With the match in extra time, it was Liam Gormley who came off the bench and only a minute later produced a moment of magic. The winning goal, a truly sublime strike that could win any match.A looping 25 yard strike to send the cup to the green side of Glasgow.
In front of almost 10,000 at the National Stadium, Rangers started the match negatively; striker Kane Hemmings had the task of breaking down a resilient Celtic defence on his own as Rangers lined up in a 4-1-4-1. And break it down he did, Hemmings made a nice run when Gordon Dick released him with a clever ball through the Celtic defence. Hemmings, who’s been so important to Rangers league campaign, squeezed a weak shot out that troubled no one.
Celtic on the other hand played much more freely and were keen to use the full width of the
Hampden pitch. Their mixed passing game spreading the play to the players on the flanks who caused Rangers real trouble; Kieran Brennan, Celtic’s left back was a threat going forward, his directness and penetration had Rangers on the ropes.
Celtic’s PatrikTwardzik saw his 30yard pile driver rattle the crossbar as Celtic continued to pressure Rangers who, by now, had been pinned into their own half for 20 minutes.
After 72 minutes the breakthrough finally came for Celtic. Right back, Stephen O’Donnell played in Greig Spence. The striker turned and put the ball over Gary Inglis who was stranded off his line.
Rangers finally kicked into life and changed their play in the last 15 minutes of the match.The,until now, largely anonymous Kal Naismith forcing an excellent save from Nicholas Feely in the Celtic goal.
Feely, who had very little to do throughout the match soon was picking the ball from his net. Kyle McAusland launching the ball forward finding Chris Hegarty who in turn played in Rhys McCabe. McCabe, with three minutes left on the clock found the net with the equaliser and the goal that forced extra time.
By this point, Rangers had used all three subs to Celtics one and as the players regrouped before the kick-off for extra time the Rangers side looked to be struggling. Celtic on the other hand looked fresher and sharper.
This proved itself in the second period of extra time. As Celtic exercised their remaining subs, it was the fresh legs of Liam Gormley cutting inside from the left. Looking up, 25 yards from the goal he hit a wonderful looping strike that sailed into the back of the Rangers net. No better way to use your first touch in a cup final.
The Celtic team and the support were rapturous and for the second time in the match it seemed the cup was theirs.
With moments remaining on the clock it looked like Rangers had done it again. This time, Chris Hegarty had the ball in the net. Rangers’ fans and players alike celebrated at the thought of forcing penalties but referee John Beaton, who had an uneventful game, blew straight away. The linesman’s flag was up to signal an offside and any hopes Rangers had of penalties were dashed.
In front of almost 10,000 at Hampden Celtic lifted the Scottish FA Youth Cup and completed the league and cup double for the second year running. Billy Kirkwood’s Rangers side carried themselves with the utmost dignity in defeat and have now gone two seasons without any silverware.
YFS Man of the Match: Keiran Brennan. This could have gone to either Celtic full-back, but Brennan’s fearless attitude to attacking pushed Rangers back and was vital to Celtic’s overall play.
Celtic Under 19s: Feely, Toshney, Brennan, Hughes, O'Donnell, Bagshaw, Irvine, P. Twardzik (Gormley), Spence (Atajic), F. Twardzik, McGregor.
Unused subs - Thomson, Fraser, Feruz.
Rangers Under 19s: Inglis, McAusland, McIntyre, Cole, Hegarty, Hunter, Fotheringham (Crawford), Dick (McNeil), Hemmings (Mitchell), McCabe, Naismith.
Unused subs - Mitchell, Wiktorski, Drummond.
Official Attendance – 9427
Referee: John Beaton. Assistants: Gavin Duncan, Steven Reid. Fourth Official: Barry Cook.