MATTHEW SHIELS had plenty of reasons to be cheerful as Rangers defeated Dundee United 2-1 in the Reserve League at St Andrews – not long after he penned a new three-year deal at Ibrox.
Jack Thomson broke the deadlock after nine minutes with a stunning low drive leaving the goalkeeper with little chance to prevent it from finding the back of the net.
Rangers were looking comfortable after a good first half showing and raced into a 2-0 lead early in the second half, Andy Dallas breaking forward and striking the ball into the net from the right side of the danger area.
A Lewis Toshney header gave Dundee United hope after 75 minutes but the Gers held out for the three points and add further delight for the versatile Shiels, who signed up alongside Stephen Kelly for at least three more years at Rangers only last week.
The 18-year-old said: “I’m delighted to sign my new deal. I’m really happy to see what the future holds for me and get a pathway to the first team. I think Steven Gerrard is a lot more interested in the youth so it’s a really good time to be coming through the youths and progress up to the first team.”
Rangers got the full points on a blustery and wet day, with typical Scottish weather throwing in some sunshine as well, with Shiels playing the first 45 minutes of the encounter. Featuring on the left side of a front three, Shiels showed his worth to the team despite having recently been converted to a left-back.
He was pleased with his side’s endeavour on the ball and purpose in the first half but having come off at the interval and missing Gers’ best spell in the first half of the second period, Shiels felt his team mates were shaky in the final stages and was glad to come away with the Reserve League victory against a United side fielding first team players Fraser Fyvie and former Gers loanee Billy King.
Shiels added: “It was a good game. I felt second half we started panicking a bit. In the first half we were patient, when the spaces opened up we played through them.
“After going off I didn’t really see the start of the second half but I got told we were really good then. By the time I got out it just looked like Rangers were panicking a wee bit.
“Dundee United played a lot of first team players so I thought we did really well considering that. We obviously had Lee Wallace up helping us so it was good for the boys to get a good result today.”