DAVID MCCALLUM was disappointed to see his under-17 players lose 3-1 to Aspire Academy at the Alkass International Cup in Qatar this afternoon but Rangers still progress to the quarter-finals.
The young Light Blues have finished top of Group A thanks to their 3-0 victory over Raja Casablanca on Wednesday and they will now face the runners-up of Group C, which will be confirmed tomorrow, in the last eight stage of the competition on Sunday (kick-off 1.45pm GMT). For fixtures and standings click here.
Following today’s defeat to hosts Aspire, in which Matt Yates scored Rangers’ only goal in the 82nd minute, McCallum said: “It’s a good day for us because we are through to the next round, but we are obviously disappointed to lose our game against Aspire and there are parts of it we weren’t happy with.
“In the first half we felt we were pretty passive, we didn’t move well enough off the ball and give the players in possession enough options to go and make a difference.
We had a conversation at half time and from there it was better, but the three goals we lost are areas we need to look at.
“The first comes from the right-hand side and we have three bodies in the box against one of their players who finds space to have an attempt at goal, which Jay Hogarth saves, but he still manages to follow it in and score.
“In the second half we are dominating and then Murray Miller just doesn’t see one of their strikers standing between him and the goal. He passes it back thinking it’s the goalkeeper and the boy scores. Murray has been excellent, he just made that one error.
“After that we have continued to dominate and brought it back to 2-1 and we are thinking we can get at least a draw. But we then switch off literally seconds after our goal and they score their third. So it was frustrating because all three of their goals were avoidable for sure.
But the two group games have shown that when we play we are a good team and that is certainly being recognised by people watching the games. They are very complimentary about our style of play which is important to us.
“We have got a 2004 playing for us in Leon King and half a dozen 2003s playing against a team of 2001s and 2002s, so whilst I am disappointed after our result, but for silly errors on our part we were certainly more than dominant through the game. We just need to make sure we take the chances we create in those spells.
“I would also just like to thank the Rangers fans for their support out here. We had a good number of fans come along from the Doha and Qatar supporters club today and we are frustrated we couldn’t get a win for them. But speaking on behalf of all the coaches and players we all really appreciate their support.”
For more tournament info click here.