Just five days before a Scottish Youth Cup semi-final at Kilmarnock Rangers secured a comfortable 3-0 win over St. Johnstone at Airdrie’s Excelsior Stadium thanks to three goals in the opening 45.
Rangers took an immediate lead when Liam Burt opened the scoring after only a few minutes. Some fantastic link-up play down the left involving Burt, Billy Gilmour, Zak Rudden and Myles Beerman eventually creates half a chance for Burt which the wideman took excellently; curling an unstoppable right-footed shot into the far corner of the net.
Burt doubled Rangers’ advantage when he fired home from close distance after great perseverance by Rudden to keep the chance going after a lovely pass by Gilmour. After putting the Saints fullback under pressure the young striker played the ball across goal for Burt to fire into the top corner.
With two early goals on the scoresheet it would have been easy for Rangers to switch off but the Swifts keep probing St. Johnstone’s defence looking for more. Zak Rudden had a handful of chances to get a goal and was incredibly unlucky to be denied by the crossbar when he lobbed the keeper from distance.
Just before the break Rangers did get a third when Jordan Houston cooly sidefooted home off the inside of the post from Atayaki’s cross. The young Finn had showed great resilience to get down the left flank before playing the ball across the box for Houston to pop up and grab a well deserved goal.
The second half was a non-event for long spells. Saints’ struggled to break-down Rangers’ defence on the few occasions they got forward and Rangers were comfortable to retain possession and look for any gaps in the Saints’ backline but real chances were few and far between for either side.
Rangers: Robby McCrorie, Houston, Beerman, Ashmore, Ross McCrorie, Wilson (Bradley 46’), Burt (Jeffries 65’), Barjonas (Kelly 68’), Rudden, Gilmour, Atayaki
Subs: Wright, Abaradan, Dallas, Gibson,
Goals: Burt 2’, 22, Houston 42’