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Classy Celts canter to 15th Youth Scottish Cup win

Celtic 3

Wardrop 37, Miller 45, McIlduff 53

Rangers 0

  • Wednesday, 26 April 2017
  • Hampden Park
  • Under 20´s
  • Scottish Youth Cup

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

It was the second comfortable Old Firm victory at Hampden for Celtic in four days as their u20s side dismantled Rangers with a masterful display in a 3-0 win. Captain Sam Wardrop opened the scoring in the 37th minute before Calvin Miller doubled their lead moments before the break. Flying fullback Aidan McIlduff made sure of Celtic’s 15th win in the competition with their third. They had plenty of chances to add to their lead while Rangers were left chasing shadows.

Celtic came close to opening the scoring three times in the opening ten minutes. Aidan Nesbitt’s cutback was inches away from Calvin Miller who would surely have scored had he made any contact on the slide, while Nesbitt himself was similarly close with a header that went just by.

Rangers were under siege and Robby McCrorie had to be smart to keep out an Anthony Ralston cross that almost snuck in at the near post. A yellow card for a reckless Aidan Wilson challenge was as close as Rangers could come to stamping any authority on the game.

While Rangers eventually settled and managed to halt Celtic’s procession of chances, they were struggling to get the ball forward to mount any attacks of their own. The midfield was being bypassed in favour of long balls which left creative talent like Billy Gilmour as virtual bystanders and they failed to get Zak Rudden or Serge Atakayi to cut in from the wings in support of Dallas. It took until almost half an hour for Rangers to register a shot at goal, a wild effort from Atakayi.

Atakayi did show just what he is capable of moments later, latching on to a Jamie Barjonas ball over the top and forcing a Celtic defender into a last ditch clearance as his cross swung through the danger zone.

But it was a false dawn for Rangers.

Just when it looked like the half was in danger of failing to live up to the opening ten minutes, Celtic took a deserved lead. After winning a corner at the back post and putting a dangerous ball back across goal which no one got on the end of, Celtic captain Sam Wardrop must have thought his chances of helping his side score had faded. But the ball came back in and this time Wardrop took it down in the box himself and drove a low effort into the back of the net through a crowd of players.

Then, in the last piece of action before the half time whistle, they made it two. Rangers captain Ross McCrorie badly misjudged a long ball, only serving to head it perfectly into the path of Calvin Miller who took it round the other McCrorie and made it 2-0.

  • Half Time:
  • Celtic
  • 2-0
  • Rangers

In the opening five minutes Rangers looked as comfortable on the ball as they had all game. With Rudden now through the middle and Dallas wide left, they had some possession in the Celtic third although they didn’t trouble Conor Hazard. And that failure was to be their downfall as Celtic killed the game with a third.

Calvin Miller fed in Aidan McIlduff after a smart run and the full back’s shot proved too powerful for Robby McCrorie, although having got a good hand to it and taken most of the sting out of it, he’ll be disappointed to have seen it drop in.

Celtic should have added to their tally when Joe Thomson ghosted into the Rangers box unseen but he headed over from six-yards when it looked easier to score.

For all Celtic’s flair and skill, and there was plenty, Rangers were just as often the architects of their own defeat.

While Rangers encourage their young players to play short passes into feet, which should be lauded, they repeatedly passed it out from goal kicks almost into their own corner flag due to Celtic pressure, where they were unable to get out and had to kick it aimlessly up field or lose possession.

Yet despite consistently getting into trouble through this tactic they persisted.

For their opposition on the other hand the confidence was flowing. Every touch, every trick, every piece of skill was coming off as though they had rehearsed it all in training. It was a masterful display from a side who looked streets ahead of Rangers.

The only surprise was that Celtic failed to add to their tally, Michael Johnston coming closest with an effort that curled just over.

In the end it was a thoroughly deserved victory for Celtic, who outclassed their city rivals from the first minute to the last. Rangers failed to test Conor Hazard in any way, the keeper leaving the pitch with clean gloves and a clean sheet.


  • Full Time:
  • Celtic
  • 3-0
  • Rangers


1. Conor Hazard
2. Anthony Ralston
3. Aidan McIlduff
4. Sam Wardrop (c)
5. Josh Kerr
6. Mark Hill
7. Michael Johnston
8. Joe Thomson
9. Jack Aitchison
10. Aidan Nesbitt
11. Calvin Miller
12. Regan Hendry
13. Ross Doohan
14. Theodor Archibald
15. Paul Joseph Crossan
16. Kerr McInroy
17. Wallace Duffy
18. Broque Watson
1.Robby McCrorie
2.Jordan Houston
3.Ross Lyon
4.Max Ashmore
5.Ross McCrorie
6.Aidan Wilson
7.Andrew Dallas
8.Jamie Barjonas
9.Zak Rudden
10.Billy Gilmour
11.Serge Atakayi
12.Kyle Bradley
14.Jordan Gibson
15.Amin Abaradan
16.Josh Jeffries
17.Liam Burt
18.Jason Krones
21. Kieran Wright
Star Player
Aidan Nesbitt was one of a number of standout Celtic performers. Rangers simply couldn't handle his pace, acceleration, and skill, bursting by defenders like they weren’t there to get into attacking positions. Doesn’t matter how many were on him he would find space. Rangers midfielder Jamie Barjonas was booked for taking him out after he turned him beautifully and was breaking away to forge another Celtic attack.
When he replaced Billy Gilmour at half-time, Josh Jeffries injected some direct running and attacking play into the Rangers side that had been sorely missed in the first half. But there was little he could do to prevent the defeat.
Magic Moment
The opening goal was the only one not gifted by poor Rangers defending, instead being the mark of some excellent play from Michael Johnston and Calvin Miller to work it back in to captain Sam Wardrop. The defender showed great composure to finish, having already done well to get the ball back in the box earlier in the move.
Rangers only attacking moment of note throughout the game came from a fantastic ball over the top from Jamie Barjonas, something we saw too little of throughout the game. Atakayi latched on to it and gave the Celtic defence a serious headache with his low delivery that was eventually turned away at the back post with Andrew Dallas lurking.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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