THE INTERNATIONAL break is over and Rangers’ players have returned from their trips around the globe. Here we round up how they got on over the past week.


SCOTLAND

ALLAN MCGREGOR

The Rangers number one was on fine form as Scotland finished top of their UEFA Nations League group. He played both of their games, first keeping a clean sheet in the Tartan Army’s 4-0 rout over Albania over the weekend and then continuing his form into Tuesday night’s decider with Israel.

With the game on a knife edge, when Israel pulled it back to 3-2 late on, McGregor pulled off an extraordinary save in the 88th minute to secure the win for his country. The result landed Scotland a play-off place for Euro 2020 and a promotion to League B of the Nations League.


SCOTLAND UNDER 19s

Rangers had six players in the Under 19 squad who completed a successful week trying to qualify for the UEFA U19 Euro Finals in Armenia next year. Glenn Middleton, Dapo Mebude, Stephen Kelly, Jordan Houston, Matthew Shiels and Zak Rudden all took part in the three games over the international period which saw the U19s reach the elite round of qualifying.

First Scotland beat Wales 2-1 away from home with Houston, Middleton, Rudden, Mebude and Shiels all playing. It was Mebude’s U19 debut.

Next up were San Marino and the Scots brushed them aside in a 5-0 win. Dapo Mebude added to his Scotland account grabbing the first of the five and his first goal in this age group, he also grabbed two assists in the impressive victory. Houston, Shiels and Kelly all started the game too and played 90 minutes.

The 19s finished off the week unbeaten in their group with a 2-2 draw against Sweden. Houston, Rudden and Mebude started the game which sees the youngsters into the next stage of qualifying.

The draw for the qualifying group stage is on December 6. If they can reach 2019’s tournament it would be the first time Scotland have qualified since 2006. That year they reached the final against Spain with Graham Dorrans featuring.


ALBANIA

EROS GREZDA

Grezda had a week of mixed fortunes on international duty as he played in both of Albania’s game. His first the 4-0 defeat to Scotland on Saturday evening but the winger was the one positive in a poor game for his country.

Current Premier League utility man Calum Patterson, who is plying his trade with Cardiff City after moving south from Hearts, was impressed by Grezda. He commented after the game: “Grezda was a handful, but you have to look after yourself, and I didn’t really do that in the first 15-20 minutes.”

He then played 69 minutes of his nation’s friendly 1-0 win over Ryan Giggs’ Wales on Tuesday evening. Scotland’s win in their Nations League group though relegates Albania to League D in the competition.


NORTHERN IRELAND

GARETH McAULEY

The centre-half didn’t feature in Northern Ireland’s friendly against the Republic of Ireland but made his comeback in their Nations League game three days later. The game ended in a 2-1 defeat with Austria getting their winner is stoppage time and the result saw Michael O’Neil’s side relegated to League C in the competition. The positive was that the 38-year-old got 90 minutes of crucial game time to stand him in good stead on his return to domestic action with Rangers.

KYLE LAFFERTY

The striker played 20 minutes against the Republic of Ireland but couldn’t manage a goal in the stalemate. He came off the bench again in the loss to Austria with 15 minutes to go but again failed to make the impact he would have wanted.


MALI

LASSANA COULIBALY

Midfielder Coulibaly had a superb week away with Mali as they qualified for next summer’s African Cup of Nations with a 1-0 win over Gabon. He played the whole 90 minutes as Mali finished second in their group to book their places at the finals. Mali reached the final of the competition in 1972.


CROATIA U21s

NIKOLA KATIC

The centre-half played all 90 minutes of Croatia’s friendly against France. The defender was part of a defence which conceded twice in a 2-2 draw.

 

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