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Rudden inspires Rangers rout over Queens

Rangers FC 6

Rudden 6, 53, 90, Finlayson 19, Zata 35, Shiels 45

Queens Park 0

Simon Ritchie | YFS West Region Reporter
Articles by Author | Contact Author

Rangers swept aside Queen’s Park in the Glasgow Cup with a Zak Rudden hat-trick inspiring them to a relaxed 6-0 victory. It took Rudden and Rangers just seven minutes to open the scoring and they never looked back from there, with their goalkeeper Billy Kinnear a virtual spectator throughout. The impressive Daniel Finlayson added to an assured and confident performance at the back by getting the second, with Matifadza Zata and Matthew Shiels ensuring that victory was beyond doubt before the half-time whistle. Rudden completed his hat-trick with goals at the start and end of the second half to put some extra gloss on the scoreline.

The opening five minutes gave no indication of the whitewash to follow as both teams probed one another and had a corner apiece, but it didn’t take long before an individual piece of brilliance from Rudden set Rangers on their way.

Skilfully cutting inside down the right, he danced along the by-line, using stepovers to twist and turn between three defender before beating Elliot Anderson at his near post with a fierce shot.

Credit to Queen’s Park, they didn’t let their heads drop at the first sign of trouble and carved out what would be their best opportunity of the match in response. A throw-in down the left hand side went to Ronan McLaughlin who held play up and set-up Declan Walsh on the edge of the penalty box for an effort that looked destined for the far top corner before curling away at the last moment.

Having only narrowly been beaten 2-1 by Rangers earlier in the season, Queen’s would have felt they were capable of getting back into this but it proved to be a costly miss as Rangers began to impress their superiority on the visitors, with Billy Gilmour forcing Anderson into a good save with his legs. The resulting corner should have put Rangers two ahead but Finlayson’s header went just wide.

Even at this early stage, centre back Finlayson looked a tough prospect for Queen’s Park to bypass. A good reader of the game, he was quick to intercept their forward passes and strong in the tackle if it came to it. Although not wearing the captain’s armband, he was talkative, marshalling his teammates, and organising those in front of him.

He was also proving a serious danger from set-pieces and if he improved his heading accuracy he could easily have grabbed three or four goals for himself in this match. As it was he gave Rangers some breathing space by scoring the second from close range. Rudden took a short corner with Gilmour whose shot from the corner of the penalty box looked to be heading in but Finlayson made sure by nodding home under pressure.

Much like the Rangers first team, their u17s played a fluid 4-3-3 formation with Rudden the tip of the spear and Zata and Shiels down the flanks around him but willing to swap sides or drop deeper as the supporting Gilmour and Cameron Palmer came forward.

Zata was the quietest of the front three in the first half but he lit the game up with a magnificent curling effort into the top corner just after the half hour mark. Anderson was at full stretch on the dive but could do nothing about it.

It was hard to see a way back for Queen’s Park from three down and it would have been worse were it not for the heroics of Lewis Magee. The Queen’s captain was proving his worth with a series of important tackles and blocks at the back as Rangers poured forward. Both Rudden and Zata were denied almost certain goals thanks to the intervention of Magee.

Queen’s thought they’d found a lifeline when Andy McLaughlin put the ball in the back of the net but he was ruled offside. Rangers would then also see the linesman’s flag deny them a goal when Shiels looked to be scoring after great skill from Gilmour, only for Zata to be penalised for trying to steal what already looked like a certain goal. It was a half of contrasts for Zata who showed flashes of brilliance and madness in equal parts.

There was nothing but brilliance from Rudden however and he played a major part in the final move of the half, delightfully dummying a through ball, taking out the defence and allowing Shiels to get through one-on-one and finish through Anderson’s legs.

The second half couldn’t compare with the first half in terms of action or intrigue, with both sides seeming to accept that the outcome was already decided. If there was any doubt about that it was quickly extinguished as Rudden’s glancing header from Jordan Houston’s cross made it 5-0.

It’s hard not to think of Harry Kane when you watch Rudden, with the Rangers centre forward an almost identikit player in both look and style of play. Rangy but strong, quick with the ball at his feet and also good in the air, he looks the full package and was a constant thorn in the Queen’s Park’s defence.

A rare foray forward saw Queen’s bring Kinnear into action in the Rangers goal, with the keeper having to call on the help of a defender to stop two shots in quick succession from Andy McLaughlin, the culmination of a good move involving James Grant and substitute Jordan Clitchley. It would prove to be Kinnear’s only real work of the game, which will be of great disappointment to a Queen’s Park side that never got out of first gear in this match.

With the game winding down Queen’s had some pressure in the Rangers box and forced a corner. However this proved to be a better opportunity for the home side than the visitors, with a long punt up field setting Rudden free from the halfway line and despite having to carry the ball a long way he held his nerve, kept his composure, and collected the match ball with a perfectly timed chip.

The result means Rangers overtake Celtic at the summit of the group table and are guaranteed a place in the final. The Hoops require just three points from their final three games (or to avoid defeat in their February tie against Queens Park) in order to make it an all Old Firm final.


Rangers FC
Queens Park
1. Billy Kinnear
2. Jordan Houston
3. Scott Gray
4. Jack Thomson
5. Daniel Finlayson
6. Rhys Breen
7. Matifadza Zata
8. Cameron Palmer
9. Zak Rudden
10. Billy Gilmour
11. Matthew Shiels
12. Carlo Pignatiello
14. Michael Hewitt
15. Zac Butterworth
1. Elliot Anderson
2. Nick McAlistair
3. Cameron Dickson
4. Lewis Magee
5. Anthony McGuire
6. Declan Walsh
7. Arron Black
8. James Grant
9. Ronan McLaughlin
10. Andy McLaughlin
11. Arron Mooney
14. Ross Paton
15. Michael Ruth
16. Ryan Lindsay
17. Jordan Clitchley
18. Lee Whitmore
20. Lewis Sanderson
Star Player
Rangers FC
Queens Park
Name your star player for the home team and explain why you gave the award.
Name your star player for the away team and explain why you gave the award.
Magic Moment
Rangers FC
Queens Park
Matif Zata’s goal to make it 3-0 was a piece of brilliance from the wide man, who despite having a fairly quiet half was clearly capable of the spectacular. Shifting his body to open the space and make the angle for the shot, it was clear that the Queen’s goalkeeper knew what he was doing but it was executed with such perfection that he couldn’t get near it.
Declan Walsh came within a whisker of bringing Queen’s back onto level terms with a curling drive of his own that looked destined for the top corner before narrowly missing it. When Queen’s played Rangers earlier in the season they ran them very close indeed and had this effort found the net it could have been another tough encounter for Rangers.
Club Views
Rangers FC
Queens Park
When you score a hat-trick it’s always likely you’ll be in the running for man of the match but what Zak Rudden offered up front for Rangers was much more than just a goal threat. As the focal point of the attack he was just as adept at holding the ball up and bringing his teammates into play, making him as much of a creative force as a goal scoring one. But the beautifully taken hat-trick also helped.
Lewis Magee was in a tough position as his team were being overrun at almost every opportunity but the Queen’s captain didn’t let his head drop and instead saved his side from conceding several more goals with his fantastic interventions and impressive reading of the play. Whether stepping out of defence to intercept passes or covering for his fellow defenders with last-ditch tackles, Magee certainly proved his worth.

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