GRAEME MURTY said he is proud of his players after a 2-0 win in Stranraer saw them progress to the third round of the Challenge Cup for the first time.
The Colts defeated the League One side at Stair Park to go into the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer third round draw tomorrow afternoon.
Murty said: “I am very proud of the players I thought they represented themselves and the club very very well against a team that put us under a lot of pressure with some good quality play, some physical tests and a challenge all the way through the game.
“I have to give credit to our opponents who hosted us really well on a great pitch and you could actually see learning taking place on the pitch for our young players.
“To manage that and to get to the level they managed to get to at times and to come away with a win I am really really proud.”
Rangers went in at half-time 0-0 and Murty said his message to the players was to be patient.
He added: “We needed to have more control I thought we gave the ball away too many times on first contact so we needed to be more secure and shift the ball a little bit faster and when we did it we showed our technical level and we allowed our more technically gifted players to go and then influence the game more.
“I thought we had a lot more control albeit at times we rode our luck and we have to mention that our goalkeeper made a couple of really really good saves but then when we managed to get our chances we took them and we go through and we are thankful for that.”
Murty felt the second goal came at the perfect time for Rangers to see out the tie.
He said: “They were going after us and they were making it more difficult for us to play so it came at a really good time.
“Although he didn’t score tonight I thought Dapo Mebude put a real good shift in for the team he put his body on the line it was a physical challenge for him.
“He is a little frustrated because he didn’t get a goal himself but he sacrificed himself so that others could exploit the spaces that he created so he deserves a special mention for that and I thought he played a really big part in our attacking play today.
“I am proud and I said last week that I expected it to be a step up, and it was they are a good team they play their manner of football really really well but they combine it with some really slick play as well so they are organised they are physical they were in our face for the whole game they didn’t stop at all so the guys had to stand up to that and mentally for young people it is very difficult for them to do so so I thought they did that really well.
“I thought our two centre-half’s Danny Finlayson and Rhys Breen in particular stood up to that and they martialled the defence really well.
“For our young players to come here against a men’s team and stand up to it I think it can do untold good for their confidence but also for their understanding of the game and we are thankful to our oppenents for putting the game on like that it was physical but it was fair and there’s loads and loads of stuff we can take from this and help our players get to that next level that they are all striving for.”
Murty is looking forward to the chance to face another experienced team in the next round of the competition.
He said: They need another challenge they have managed to come here and get a result so that is a good thing to tick off but they want to be satisfied with that that is not the way it is going to work you get the next challenge infront of you and see if we can go and run that one down.
“We will learn from this and we will improve from this but they should take real confidence and real pride in what they did and how they conducted themselves today.
“After we are done patting them on the back we will break down what they need to do better because that is what development is about it’s a long term process we know that but you go into it for long hours and hard days for the chance for them to go and show some of their learning like on a day like today so for all the academy staff all the way down through the academy today is a big day for them and we are really thankful that our players were able to go and pull the result out.”