BILLY KIRKWOOD gave his side full marks for their win over FC Copenhagen this afternoon – and reckons it’s the best they’ve played all season.
The club’s Development Squad coach was thrilled with the efforts of his side against an outfit who boasted a highly talented squad packed with youth internationals and UEFA Youth League experience.
Speaking to RangersTV, he said: “I think over the course of the games we have this season, that is probably the best we have played in an entire 90 minutes.
“I think the way we approached the game in the first half, after going a goal down, was excellent. We really took the game to them and thoroughly deserved our lead at half time.
“In the second half, credit to Copenhagen, they changed which was really respectful to our lads and the way they played in the first half.
“So it became more difficult, so it was more about game-management in the second half. They were contrasting halves, but I think the way they approached both of them, I think the lads get 10 out of 10 for that.”
Kirkwood was especially pleased with his side’s pressing game, continuing: “After losing the goal so early, we had to go and put them under real pressure, and I think the goal that we got from Zak Rudden was testament to the lads’ pace, attempts to win the ball and the good structure behind it before winning it and then having the wherewithal to square the ball and put it in the net.
“So that was really good and we showed a really good intensity – but like I say, the second half was completely different – maybe like a more typical European game where we had to control the game and not force our passes, although there was a couple of occasions when we did that.
“But I think they were set up to counter attack us, though we managed the game well.
“I think they had a couple of opportunities but Liam [Kelly] hasn’t had a save to make in the second half, which is credit to our lads and the way they set up.
“They didn’t allow a lot of gaps from the back to the middle, and from middle to front. Yes, we did sit off them a little more in the second half, but we still had good opportunities to get the third goal which I think may have made them change again.
“But we are quite happy with a 2-1 victory.”
Kirkwood was also able to call on Jordan Rossiter this afternoon, and he was delighted with the contribution he made, adding: “It is fantastic for everyone, and testament to Stevie Walker and everyone at the first team that he is getting back again.
“That’s two or three games he has had with us now, and he has been absolutely fantastic with the younger kids in the dressing room.
“You can tell he has been brought up well at Liverpool and has played at a really good level. His knowledge of the game and his talking and organisation, our lads can only learn from that.”