A YOUTHFUL Rangers Under-20s side were well beaten by Dundee United this evening in the SPFL Development League.
With no less than seven Academy players away on international duty, it was a rather different looking ‘Gers XI that took the field at Tannadice, but unfortunately they couldn’t manage to take anything from the game.
Rangers actually fashioned the first effort of the game through a 25-yard Josh Jeffries free-kick that only just cleared the crossbar, but that was to be the brightest moment in a scrappy opening 20 minutes punctuated with the constant sound of the referee’s whistle.
But, with virtually their first real attack of the match, United took the lead with 23 minutes on the clock. Picking up after some slack play in midfield from Gers, Matty Smith raced away down the right wing and crossed for Louis Appere who, despite the ball being driven into his feet, did well to launch a drive beyond Kieran Wright in the visitors’ goal.
Wright was brought into action soon afterwards again with a stunning save to deny Appere making it 2-0 with a curling effort that the goalkeeper clawed away from his right postage stamp.
With two minutes to go until half time, the game appeared to be drifting towards the interval without further incident until Amin Bouzaig brought down Appere in the area for a clear penalty for the Tangerines.
Up stepped Brad Smith to take it, and he made no mistake by drilling the ball right down the middle as Wright dived to his right.
Bouzaig was then replaced at the break by Andy Dallas, and he was immediately involved as he set up Sam Jamieson for a shot that United ‘keeper Brett Long did well to turn behind for a goal kick.
At the other end, Wright was again called upon to make two excellent stops in quick succession from Matty Smith before he was picking the ball out of the back of the net again as Coll Donaldson nodded in a Jordan Hornby free-kick.
It was a killer blow to Rangers’ hopes of a comeback, and their night was rounded off in injury time as Jordan Garden poked home a half-cleared Hornby corner.
Despite the loss, there was some good news from earlier in the day as last week’s abandoned Development League match with Hibernian was awarded in Rangers favour.
RANGERS: Wright; Bradley, Wilson, Bates, White; Barjonas (Mouanda, 66), Lyon, Ashmore (Gibson, 76); Jeffries, Bouzaig (Dallas, 45), Jamieson.
SUB NOT USED: Kinnear.