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Rangers reach Scottish Youth Cup Final with semi win over Aberdeen

Aberdeen 1

Barron 5

Rangers 3

Dickson 9 McPake 41 Young-Coombes 73
  • Friday, 22 February 2019
  • Balmoral Stadium, Cove
  • Under 18´s
  • Scottish Youth Cup

Rangers booked their passage to the Scottish Youth Cup Final on Friday, as they came from behind to advance with a 3-1 win over Aberdeen in Cove. 

Both teams had produced strong runs in the competition to reach this stage, and the match promised to be tightly contested, with a place at Hampden on the line.

It was the young Dons, who saw off Kilmarnock in the last round, grabbing the early initiative here. A goal kick by Rangers stopper Nicky Hogarth was returned by the hosts’ midfield with emphasis, the looping ball evading the jump of centre back Daniel Finlayson. Aberdeen’s Kevin Hanratty raced through on the net, and his low cut back found Connor Barron for 1-0. The young man showing great desire to arrive in the area and slide the ball home neatly through a crowd of bodies.

Winger Lewis Duncan was next to test the Rangers rear-guard with eight played. One on one with Nathan Patterson, he fizzed a dangerous cross in from the right. Hogarth this time displaying smart reactions to get down and push the first danger away across goal. With the ball now on the left of the box, possession was recycled and Jack Chesser had space on the edge, but pulled his effort wide of the post.

In reply to the concession, Rangers were trying to build play up to their own forward players. Striker Adedapo Mebude went hunting several times to get involved, and had done a good job, tasking himself with dropping slightly shorter from the frontline and holding the ball up for his teammates. This work would pave the way for the equaliser on nine. Mebude tracked to steal the ball back from Lloyd Robertson. After a quick exchange with Joshua McPake, the latter weighted a ball for Ciaran Dickson, piercing the defence. Dickson’s first shot was blocked nicely by Archie Mair, but the rebound fell for him to tuck in. The game now level at 1-1.

Beginning to settle into a flow, the chances kept coming for both teams. Hanratty had another left footed effort saved, whilst Rangers forced a pair of quick corners.

What was clear at this stage was an attacking approach adopted by either side on the ball. Nobody was giving an inch, with the intense pressing of the fullbacks pivotal in forcing the ball forward; an escape from the tightness of midfield. Harris O’Connor provided this for Rangers on several occasions throughout. Probing on 19 minutes, his interchange with McPake nearly created the next opening, but was thwarted.

Then it was defensive duty two minutes later. Hanratty this time skipping past O’Connor, but he couldn’t pick out Kieran Shanks as he stabbed the ball to the centre. Chance gone.

Ben Williamson was instrumental in two following opportunities for Rangers. First his clever pass put McPake in the clear. Mair again matched him with the save, and Mebude lashed the bobbling rebound over. Williamson then presented O’Connor with the time to carve out a cross. Plucked out by Mair ahead of McPake.

Aberdeen’s best chances came on the break, with Rangers now beginning to take control of relatively safe possession. On 35, Kieran Shanks, back to goal, had the opportunity to release Lewis Duncan, instead opting to lay the ball off for Ethan Ross. Ross then did well to burst forward, but the space to shoot was closed off by Kyle McLelland.

Adedapo Mebude called Mair into action again after a reversed pass from McPake. The keeper denying him. Moments later though, we would close the half with a Rangers goal.

Four minutes from the break, strength from Joshua McPake saw him hold off Aberdeen’s Luke Turner on the edge of the area. Spinning, the forward found a yard to notch the visitor’s second into the bottom corner. 2-1 at the whistle.

  • Half Time:
  • Aberdeen
  • 1-2
  • Rangers

As we entered the second half, Aberdeen brought on Mark McLauchlan. Meanwhile a change of dynamics for Rangers meant Adedapo Mebude was now stationed on the right of the front three.

As tensions rose, the first real opportunity of the half arrived on 53. Ethan Ross picked the ball up on a driving run through the centre. He played it in to Hanratty, whose shot went wide of the near post.  

Over the next ten minutes, the game would swing back and forth, the teams fully aware that the tie was still finely balance. Fast feet by Hanratty orchestrated another shooting chance, whilst Mebude was continuing to threaten with his pace and trickery.

With twenty-five minutes remaining the best chance of the half appeared for the visitors. Mebude won a throw off Robertson down the right. Quick thinking by O’Connor as the ball was tossed in for Ciaran Dickson. His intelligent pull back from the by-line was wiped at by two Aberdeen defenders, leaving the rushing Joshua McPake open to strike. The save by Mair was inspired. Dickson was replaced minutes later by Nathan Young-Coombes.

Lewis Duncan flashed an effort over the bar for Aberdeen following persistence in the midfield by Ethan Ross. Duncan’s overall endeavour in the match was clearly evident. A performance he can be proud of saw him carry the ball forward for the hosts consistently.

On 73, Rangers looked to have put the contest to bed. As Aberdeen looked to push forward, they were caught in midfield. Williamson involved in the retrieval, again the ball was held magnetically by Mebude, who threaded it to Young-Coombes. The stand out goal in the game, the youngster showed terrific composure to flick the ball over Archie Mair for the Glasgow side’s third.

Aberdeen’s immediate response brought a small claim for a penalty as Lloyd Robertson went down. Waved away by the referee.

There were further opportunities for Rangers to extend their advantage towards the end. An angled rasp by McPake was set up by sub Joao Balde, and Ben Williamson saw a snapshot parried.

A final forage by the Dons brought a freekick in a great area, but Ross could only lift the curler over.

Commiserations to Aberdeen. It is David McCallum’s men who will advance to the showpiece though, capping off a strong period for the Academy squad, many of whom recently returned from capturing the Al Kass International Cup in Qatar. The stage is set for what is sure to be an excellent Final.

  • Full Time:
  • Aberdeen
  • 1-3
  • Rangers


1. Archie Mair 2. Danny Strachan 3. Lloyd Robertson 4. Jack Chesser 5. Luke Turner 6. Connor Power 7. Lewis Duncan 8. Connor Barron 9. Kieran Shanks 10. Ethan Ross 11. Kevin Hanratty 12. Tyler Mykyta 14. Mark McLauchlan 15. Kyle Dalling 16. Max Barry 17. Michael Dangana 18. Calvin Ramsay 20. Tom Ritchie
1. Nicky Hogarth 2. Harris O’Connor 3. Nathan Patterson 4. Murray Miller 5. Daniel Finlayson 6. Kyle McLelland 7. Joshua McPake 8. Ben Williamson 9. Adedapo Mebude 10. Ciaran Dickson 11. Kai Kennedy 12. James Maxwell 14. Joao Balde 15. Kieran McKechnie 16. Matt Yates 17. Christopher McKee 18. Nathan Young-Coombes 21. Brian Kinnear
Star Player
Lewis Duncan – excited every time he got the ball. His rapid speed caused problems from start to finish.
Ben Williamson – Not on the scoresheet, so could easily be mistaken as a quiet display. In truth, it may be underrated by some. A mature, controlled performance brought calm to Rangers midfield. Involved in starting many of the team’s attacking moves and showed a range of passing skills.
Magic Moment
Hanratty's weaving run for the opener got the match off to an electric start. Great work to find Barron.
Nathan Young-Coombes delicate chip over the goalkeeper was the pick of their goals.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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