Words: Conor Matchett and Gregor Kerr
Two rounds of the prestigious Milk Cup have been played and with Scottish teams represented in both the Senior and the Junior age groups, there have been mixed fortunes for the pro-youth clubs that are playing in Northern Ireland.
In the Junior Section it’s been a positive start for Rangers. With their first game against Sheffield United on Monday at the Coleraine Showgrounds, ending in a solid 1-0 victory over the Yorkshire club with the only goal of the game coming from Zak Rudden’s unstoppable 18-yard finish into the top corner.
In the Senior Section the results have been less positive. Scotland is being represented by two clubs, Motherwell and Partick Thistle, with mixed results for both. Motherwell did not get off to the best of starts in one of the first games of the competition, facing OC Blues of the USA. Playing at a wet and windy Clough in Ballymena, the Steelmen went down 2-1, despite initially leading the match thanks to a Robbie Killpatrick header.
Partick Thistle on the other hand performed much better. Playing against local side County Fermanagh, the Glasgow club prevailed with a 2-1 victory. Goals from Alexander Lynn and Neil McLaughlin put Thistle in charge and despite a late goal from the Northern Irish club, the Scottish club prevailed.
Tuesday saw round two commence in the junior section, and Rangers started the day in style, easing past Northern Irish side County Fermanagh by a 4-1 score-line as Zak Rudden took the headlines, the big striker helping himself to an unforgettable hat-trick at Ballymena Showgrounds, two wins out of two so far for The Gers.
Unfortunately it was a different outcome for Partick Thistle, as the Jags were soundly beaten 5-0 by Milk Cup debutants, Malaga FC, in the Premier section, courtesy of a goal from Brian Rasero Nieto, a brace from Alejandro Escardo Llamas and two other goals.
In another tie in the senior section, Motherwell were able to condemn County Down, from Northern Ireland, to their first defeat of the 2015 Milk Cup. Dillen Faulkner’s opener, a cushioned header into the bottom corner, was then added to by Josh Moore, as his 64th minute strike found the back of the net. Back to the winning feeling for the North Lanarkshire side, as they pick up a 2-0 victory at Rugby Avenue.
Best of luck to the Scottish teams competing in the third stage of the Milk Cup on Wednesday.