RANGERS’ Development Squad cruised past Icelandic side Breidablik in the latest of their Games Programme fixtures.
A brace from Glenn Middleton was added to by Myles Beerman and a stunning fourth from Stephen Kelly.
Middleton’s opener after just 15 minutes was perhaps the pick of the bunch as the former Norwich City youngster continues to settle back into life in his native Scotland. That was the only goal of a dominant opening period from Billy Kirkwood’s side.
The Gers took total control in the second-half limiting the visitors to just one solid chance as they netted a further three.
The unlikely figure of Aidan Wilson started the Development Squad off as they meant to go on, heading just over from a corner after only a couple of minutes. The rangey centre-half could be excused for not finding the target such was the ferocity of the drilled set-play.
Serge Atakayi fired another decent chance over minutes later after latching onto some good work from Stephen Kelly, who cut inside to create the chance.
Breidablik had set themselves up to play through the middle and thus created space for the Gers wide men. Atakayi was the first to take advantage of the room when Zak Rudden held the ball up to lay off to the Finnish Under 21 on the left. He got to the by-line to send the ball grazing the white paint but Kelly couldn’t profit to tap the ball over the line and Elias Rafn Olafsson snuffed the chance out.
Atakayi was on the move again on 14 minutes, powering down the left to get himself into a shooting position. He made the angle too tight and the Icelandic keeper once again got the final touch on the Gers chance.
A minute later Middleton managed to find the net though in fine style. The 18-year-old made a great turn out on the right to skip into the box and power the ball off the base of the post to make it 1-0 with a clean strike.
Rangers had managed to keep Breidablik at bay so far but on 19 minutes Stefan Ingi Siguroarson went close when he nearly curled the ball inside the near post with a good effort. Aidan McAdams parried and his defenders cleared the ball to safety.
Atakayi was making good progress down the left and on the half hour mark he got to the by-line to cut back for Rudden. The striker rose highest and should have buried the header a few yards out but somehow he saw his effort graze the crossbar.
The Edinburgh-boy had another chance to add a second three minutes later but again he fired over from a few yards out. This time Jordan Houston played him in.
Middleton could have had more in the Auchenhowie rain but Olafsson denied him with 10 minutes to go until half-time. The winger pounced on a loose ball to drag it into a good area on the right of the box. The keeper went down thinking he was about to pull the trigger but he took his time to side foot his strike. Although already committed Olafsson managed to get a foot to it and the ball nicked away for a goalkick. Jamie Barjonas also hit the post as the whistle for half-time rang.
The second-half began as the first had, with Middleton extending the Gers lead on 51 minutes. Rudden found the Scotland Under 19 unmarked with a cute cut back off the line and he guided it into the net.
On 67 minutes Rangers had their third, this time through substitute Myles Beerman. The left-back started outside the box, skipped into it and played a neat one-two with Rudden before fainting to sell the keeper and tap the ball home. It was a well worked goal from the impressive youngsters.
Atakayi had a good chance with 20 minutes to go, forcing Olafsson to commit after Kelly had played him in down the channel. The number 10 had his legs taken from under him as he played the pass but the referee waved play-on, inviting Atakayi to run onto it. The visitors keeper saved well at feet.
McAdams had little to do during the game but when he was called into action he acted in decisive fashion. 12 minutes from time he made a brilliant reaction save to deny Gabriel Por Stefansson as he leaped to head down a corner from the right. The Gers stopper made himself big at the near post to keep his clean sheet.
Then on 85 minutes Stephen Kelly rounded things off in stunning style. With room to run into on the edge of the box he shaped to strike and curled a delightful strike into the top corner, giving the keeper no chance.
RANGERS: McAdams, Houston (Palmer 74′), Shiels (Beerman 53′), Bradley, Wilson (Mayo 65′), Rossiter (Thomson 65′), Atakayi, Barjonas (Nelson 74′), Rudden, Kelly, Middleton.
Subs not used: Wright (GK)
Goals: Middleton 15′ 51′ Beerman 67′ Kelly 85′