PETER LOVENKRANDS believed Rangers were going to grab all three points against Dunfermline Athletic as the Reserves pushed for a winner in the second half of their 1-1 draw in the SPFL Reserve League.
But the goal didn’t arrive despite chances being created by a youthful Ibrox side at New Central Park, home of Kelty Hearts, with Dapo Mebude and Liam Burt going agonisingly close towards the closing stages of the league encounter.
The Reserves coach watched on as Dunfermline scored the first goal of the game from the penalty spot, Callum Smith sending Kieran Wright the wrong way on 30 minutes.
Rangers responded well and were back on level terms four minutes later as Joao Balde’s clinical strike from close range following Mebude’s assist made it 1-1.
And that’s how it finished despite the pressure applied in the second period by Graeme Murty’s young Gers, with Lovenkrands expressing equal amounts of disappointment and how much the coaching staff were encouraged with certain aspects of the team’s performance.
He said: “It’s a wee bit disappointing I have to say. It finishing 1–1 I think we deserved more than that especially in the second half when we played a lot better than we did in the first half. We created a lot more chances but we didn’t take them.
“It could’ve been a lot better. There was some great stuff in between, but also a lot of stuff we need to look at and need to work on. They’re actually doing well, really really well. We’ve got a few boys coming back from injuries that have to get through and get minutes so overall we’re pleased enough with how the game was but we should’ve got more from the game.
“I did think we had it in us to get the goal. Liam Burt’s chance at the end, it was a good shot, good save. But even on our set plays we looked dangerous, we really looked like we could score from a set-piece, especially towards the end where we kept pushing for it.
“It’s a credit for the boys, they never gave up, they kept pushing. We just couldn’t get the last bit to get the win. I did think we were going to end up winning but it wasn’t to be.”
Rangers were unable to call on Lewis Mayo, Jordan Houston and Stephen Kelly for the match with all three Reserve regulars away with Scotland Under-19s over in Spain, with Kelly netting in a 2-0 win over Azerbaijan.
And former player Lovenkrands was really pleased with how the younger element of the squad performed over the 90 minutes, stepping up in their absence and contributing to a display that ought to have resulted in three points being taken back to Glasgow.
Lovenkrands said: “We had a lot of young players but they’re good young players. There’s a lot of players pushing and knocking on the door to be regulars with us, but we were missing a few players being away with the Under-19s and a lot of boys on loan. But that’s no excuse.
“Our boys are here to step up. It gives the young boys an opportunity to go and prove themselves.
“Some of them have been around the first team of late, Dapo and Josh McPake, and they are young boys. So this is the stage where they need to go and produce.
“Today they both worked really hard, it didn’t really fall for them with the chances and opportunities but when we are missing other boys it’s chances for other players to come up and claim their spot and try and show why they should be a part of the squad.
“We need to look at the bigger picture. Yes, we are looking at the younger boys coming through. But when you are having young boys the way we have coming through and actually dominating the game and creating more chances than the opposition, and looking like the team that’s going to go and win it, we need to be that little bit more resilient and go on and close out the game and take the win.
“Go on and take the three points from it and learn from it but unfortunately we only got the draw today.”