Rangers 3 -1 Queen Of The South

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Rangers 3 – 1 QOTS

Less than a week ago felt like one of the most important midweeks of the season. This one, maybe, less so.

Fast forward a few nights; it’s Game 2/20 in our now well documented 77 hectic days of fixtures following the Eindhoven big night before even bigger European nights and, while this one wasn’t a classic, neither in respect of the quality of fixture or the performance, it’s very much job done as we reach a place in Premier Sports Cup Quarter-Final (which I think is 13th out the 20).

That’s probably very unfair on the likes of Robbie Ure, Adam Devine and the likes, imagine this would be classed as a very big night as far as they were concerned, with Ure and Devine leading the pack of Academy Kids given their big moment to shine under the midweek stadium lights. And they certainly did not let themselves down.

However, there was a sense of slight relief when one of the old guard, Scott Arfield, was able to settle the contest with his second salute to the crowd with 5 minutes to go and finally put plucky Queen’s to bed. Arfield topped off a really industrious showing and was always hungry to get on the end of balls into the box that he could easily have had more than his two goals. And, as an aside, fair play to Queen’s, it’s not a patronising ‘plucky’, they had a go and that’s a lot more than can be said of certain SPL sides who try to bring their team bus onto the 18 yard lines at Ibrox.

Of course, the main takeaway from this game though was the youngsters. And there were a few of them, probably more than most of us had anticipated. Always nice to give a run out to Leon King and latterly as sub Charlie McCann, they’re almost the experienced ones of the newbies. King looked assured, at times he cruised it; hit a shot just wide just after half-hour mark and even when he made a mistake near end of first half losing a ball cheaply in middle of park, he atoned quickly enough winning it back. McCann didn’t get long but his involvement in that final Arfield goal, a beautiful flick in build-up with Jack and fellow sub Zak Lovelace, showed the quality we’ve already seen in flashes.

More encouragement giving Lovelace 15 minutes when he’d come on with McCann, everyone keen to see what the highly rated former Millwall youngster could do, having heard rave reviews about his B team appearances so far. He’s still very young, ‘raw’ as they say, and while he wasn’t involved too much, his part in that goal that lit up a fairly non eventful second half means he’s already contributed to Rangers big team and we’ll seem him get more future first team action, no doubt.

It’s also probably not totally unfair to suggest most of us didn’t know much or anything about 88th minute subs Paul Nsio or Archie Stevens, whose appearances were not necessarily on many folks’ radars pre match, so once again it adds to the sense of belief and excitement in Rangers young boys that Giovanni van Bronckhorst was happy to throw so many into the mix tonight. And no need for Borna, Sands, or Wright to be used ahead of Saturday. Not even seats on the bench for normal ever-presents Goldson and Tav, again, hopefully a helpful leg rest and kept fresh for a very different battle on Saturday at Septic Park.

Others? Felt Davis, Jack and Kamara did what they had to do, while not sure the latter had enough influence on the game as a whole; some nice touches especially first half, but maybe not sufficient to merit a place in first XI on Saturday. Neither has Sakala, who probably wouldn’t have featured anyway, he was full of running as per but the mistake for the Queen’s goal, was to be fair, a stinker, while it was despatched pretty well past McGregor.

The other contrast for me was with the two summer signings on the periphery of the team, Rabbi Matondo and Ridvan Yilmaz. Matondo was just a little bit, meh, again. Look, it’s way too early and unfair to say he’s been disappointing maybe, but know lots of us expecting more and had high hopes. The speed is definitely there, it’s just a pity the pass is not. There were more than a few ‘misplaced’ tonight, really hope he gets it together a but and is early days. However, credit where it’s due, Yilmaz was terrific tonight. I felt, possibly Arfield aside, he was the best player on the park; so full of energy, desperate to get in behind, always looking to receive the pass and make next one a killer; which was highlighted by his sublime touch of skill to take the ball in his path from Sakala’s pass, when he then cut it back to the always available and present to shoot Arfield for Rangers’ 2nd in the 24th minute.

Finally though; last words must go to the two boys who started and looked every inch first team capable; Robbie Ure and Adam Devine. Devine is going to be a very capable back-up to Tavernier and with Mateus Zukowski leaving today on-loan back to Poland, he showed lots of composure in that right-back slot and felt was a little unlucky not to see anyone on the ends of his couple of ventures upfield and nice crosses into the box.

As for Ure; it couldn’t really have gone too much better, eh? Less than nine minutes on the clock and his composed finish following nice interplay between Sakala and Kamara was probably the real takeaway highlight of this game and, without doubt, a really nice moment for Ure to enjoy and savour in front of the home fans.

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