A young Rangers side struggled to match their Old Firm opponents as Celtic cruised to victory in tonight’s Youth Cup final at Hampden. Individual errors and a well-drilled opposition made Rangers task near-impossible as they looked to get the better of Celtic for the first time at U20 level this season.
The first real action of that game saw Aidan Wilson pick up a fourth minute booking for a late challenge on Aitchison after a poor first touch left the defender chasing the ball before the young Celtic striker capitalised on it.
Rangers took until 30 minutes to create a real chance at goal when Barjonas’ lofted pass found Atakayi and the Congolese winger took it down and crossed into the six yard box but Sam Wardrop managed to clear the danger before Andy Dallas could get onto the end of it and fire home.
Celtic opened the scoring 8 minutes before the break when captain Sam Wardrop rifled home Calvin Miller’s cross. Tommy McIntyre’s side had had most of the attacking play but, like Rangers, had failed to really threaten the goal.
Just before the break the Hoops made it 2-0. A defensive mix-up gifted Calvin Miller an opportunity from a long ball and the winger rolled the ball into an empty net. Ross McCrorie’s header back to twin Robby was too short and ‘keeper Robby tried and failed to clear before Miller snuck in to double the lead right on the stroke of half-time.
Aidan McIlduff grabbed a third for Celtic just minutes into the second half to effectively seal the win. Miller’s through ball found the full-back but Robby McCrorie couldn’t keep his effort out and it squirmed into the net with Aitchison following up.
There was some concern for Rangers and Scotland when Zak Rudden pulled up with a hip injury and needed replaced by Jordan Gibson. Rudden is part of the Scotland U17 squad for next month’s European Championship and his injury could affect manager Scot Gemmill’s plans.
Rangers: Robby McCrorie, Houston, Lyon, Ashmore, Ross McCrorie, Wilson, Dallas, Barjonas, Rudden, Gilmour, Atakayi
Subs: Wright, Bradley, Gibson, Abaradan, Jeffries, Burt, Krones
Celtic: Hazard, Ralston, McIlduff, Wardrop, Kerr, Hill, Johnston, Thomson, Aitchison, Nesbitt, Miller
Subs: Doohan, Hendry, Archibald, Crossan, McInroy, Duffy, Watson
Goals: Wardrop 37, Miller 45’, McIlduff 52’