RANGERS’ under-20 side defeated Queen’s Park 5-1 in the Glasgow Cup but coach Peter Lovenkrands believes there is plenty of room for improvement for the youngsters.
The Reserve coach observed the win at the Hummel Training Centre as the young Gers recorded their second win of the tournament, winning against the Spiders following a 6-1 win over Partick Thistle earlier in the season.
Two goals from Josh McPake as well as Stephen Kelly, Glenn Middleton and Dapo Mebude ensured the Gers bounced back from a 2-1 loss to Ross County in the Reserve League last week. Despite the emphatic scoreline and comfortable nature of the game, Lovenkrands believes there are plenty of aspects that the squad need to work on and improve going forward.
“Scoring five goals and not particularly playing well was the most pleasing aspect,” he said. “I thought we struggled at times to get the game plan across that we wanted to do. There was a lot of loose passing, giving the ball away so we didn’t play particularly well. But coming away with a win anyway, and a quite comfortable 5-1, was very pleasing.
“There’s a lot of things we can work on now, that we’ve got to go and look at, but the pleasing thing is not playing well but still getting the victory.
“We told the boys at half-time to settle down, keep a calm head and try and get the ball through to the midfield. We struggled a bit in the first half in finding the gap trying to pass through to the middle, they kept getting intercepted. It was more to try and find that, get a better rotation. We also changed it a bit with the system, just with the personnel, and I think it worked a wee bit better second half. Still, there were a lot of times we could’ve done better and the decision making in the final third could be a lot better.
“I think the pitch had a little bit to do with it. It was tough out there. The pitch was quite hard, it was on the astro as well and we haven’t been on that a lot. I think the boys struggled a wee bit to get a handle of it.
“But that’s not a complete excuse, we were just a bit slack in our mindset I think and in the way we played.”
Standards are high at the club through the various levels and that can be symbolised by Lovenkrands’ frustrations at the overall performance despite such a large victory. The coach was particularly impressed though with the displays of some of the younger element of the team, with Graeme Murty naming eight players from the under-17 and under-18 pool.
And Lovenkrands said: “The boys kept grafting, they kept working at it. I thought some of the boys coming off the bench, the younger boys, did really well. Kieran McKechnie did really well and Josh McPake looked a threat all the way through for me, he could’ve maybe scored another three on top of his two. We didn’t play too well and even though we are creating chances to score even more goals, we’re not being clinical in front of goal. So that’s something for us to work on as well but it was pleasing we got the win with a lot of stuff to work on.
“This was a cup game so we’re onto the next one, that’ll take us into the semi finals with this win today so that’s really pleasing. A lot of slack play but still getting a comfortable win in the end even though you’re not playing particularly well, that’s a good sign so we take a positive from that.”