RYAN HARDIE scored two goals as a young Development Squad side drew 2-2 with AZ Alkmaar in Holland this morning.
Graeme Murty’s team were depleted for the match due to injury and first-team involvement, with one Under-16 in Murray Miller, Under-17 Josh McPake and nine Under-18s in the squad.
Liam Burt, Aidan Wilson, Jordan Houston, Jack Thomson, Ross Lyon and Rhys Breen were all unavailable through injury while Ross McCrorie, Myles Beerman, Jordan Thompson and Jamie Barjonas are all needed by Pedro Caixinha this week.
The Light Blues lined up with Aidan McAdams in goal and a back four of Andy Dallas, Lewis Mayo, Kyle Bradley and Scott Gray. The midfield consisted of Cammy Palmer, Stephen Kelly and Matty Shiels with Ryan Hardie, Serge Atakayi and Zak Rudden up top.
The Light Blues were one down within the first fifteen minutes after Keyennu Lont opened the scoring. The Gers went close just five minutes later when Atakayi got on the end of a ball at the back post and shot straight at the keeper.
The Finnish winger was at the heart of it again as it was his cut back to Hardie that brought the Gers level from seven yards out after twenty-five minutes.
With just over half an hour played in the match, Graeme Murty was forced into a change of keeper as Aidan McAdams came off with a slight injury to be replaced by Kieran Wright. Just before the end of the first half, Wright was called into action and produced a great point blank save to deny a certain goal.
With the score tied at 1-1 at the break, there were no changes for either side and it was the Gers who came out strongest in the second half with Hardie grabbing his second goal of the game, rounding the keeper to make it 2:1 Rangers.
Just after the hour mark, AZ had the ball in the back of the net, but it was chopped off by the referee and a couple of minutes later Izaak Ahmed came on to replace Matty Shiels.
McPake came on to replace Rudden with seven minutes left to play before AZ were awarded a penalty after Justin Boss was fouled; dispatched by Furkan Kurban to make it 2-2.
Hardie had a chance right at the end to score a hat-trick but he scooped his effort over the keeper and agonisingly over the crossbar too.
It was a really good work out for a very young Development Squad side who will now look forward to their next fixture, which will be Liverpool at Ibrox on October 27th.
RANGERS: McAdams (Wright), Dallas, Gray, Palmer, Bradley, Mayo, Hardie, Kelly, Rudden (McPake), Shiels (Ahmed), Atakayi.
SUBS Not Used: Hewitt, Miller, Zata, Nelson
Picture via AZ Alkmaar on Twitter.