BILLY KIRKWOOD was disappointed his Development side ended the season on a low with defeat to Burnley but reckons there’s plenty of positives to take from their Games Programme.
Rangers entertained the English side at Ibrox and despite Stephen Kelly’s early opener and several opportunities for more, the young Gers fell to a 3-1 defeat to the Clarets.
Kirkwood wanted to round off what has been a challenging but impressive campaign with a win but it was not to be in front of a crowd on Sunday afternoon.
“Unfortunately it was a hard one for the lads but it’s one of the reasons we take these games,” Kirkwood said. “From the high of beating Leicester convincingly to coming here and doing well but to lose the game in the manner we did was disappointing.
“I think we had about 12 efforts at goal in the first half with two or three cleared of the line. Credit to them because it was great defending. But if it had been 4-2 or 5-2 to us at half-time I don’t think anyone could have complained.
“In the second half I felt if we had got the goal, Stephen Kelly’s got a great chance just before the hour mark to get us level pegging. I think the impetus we would have gotten from that would’ve taken us on to go and win the game. But credit to Burnley, they were robust and made it difficult for us and they managed to score a third goal on the breakaway.
Over the piece we’ve had a few dunts but we’ve had some great individual performances and some great team performances. Last week, 6-0 against Leicester was fantastic for everybody. Today, I felt if we had won we would’ve finished the season on a high. Unfortunately it wasn’t but that’s the process these lads have to go through.
“They’ve got to learn sometimes they’ll dominate the game but when you come up against teams that are robust and play for set-pieces you need to learn how to win a game and unfortunately we didn’t do that. I think we beat ourselves today. On another day we would’ve won the game quite convincingly.”
Rangers have beaten the likes of Bayern Munich, Valencia, Villarreal, Copenhagen and Leicester during the season and despite a last-day defeat, Kirkwood reflects over the course of the campaign in a very positive light. The coach also revealed what he hopes comes next for the talented Gers youngsters with Steven Gerrard’s arrival as first-team manager.
He said: “It’s been a great season. We’ve had some great trips and some fantastic results against Valencia and Bayern Munich away. Some great trips and performances and as I say Leicester last week was fantastic for everybody.
“We’ve had a few dunts. Liverpool came here and gave us a hard time of it and today was hard too. But sometimes you learn more as a player and as a coach as well when you come up against it and lose. It’s how they react to it and how they take that forward.
“It’s not all about winning all the time in terms of making it easy for the kids. We need to test them and that’s what we have done with the Games Programme, so it’s worked out well and I’m sure that’ll stand them in good stead.
“There’s things in the pipeline [for next season]. There will be some of these games continuing, there will be a reserve league and it’s changing to Under-18s. There will be a lot of changes but hopefully we can progress these lads to the first-team with the new manager coming along and seeing them under his nose and hopefully trotting out in front of a full crowd.”