Rangers under-19s booked their place in the second round of the UEFA Youth League with an away goals win over Young Boys at Firhill last night – and manager Graeme Murty paid tribute to the Gers players and support as over 900 braved the elements out to cheer on the youngsters.
Murty’s side fell behind twice in the game to strikes from the once again impressive Nico Maier as Nathan Young-Coombes and Daniel Finlayson rescued a 2-2 draw on the night and 5-5 on aggregate.
With the game taking place at Partick Thistle’s sodden Firhill, 917 fans showed up for the Gers’ first-ever home game in UEFA’s main youth competition following a 3-3 draw in Switzerland three weeks ago – and Murty hopes even more fans turn out when the Gers face Slovan Bratislava in the next round.
“It’s brilliant and hopefully they’ll go home and tell everyone how good it was and how well we played and did you see that player,” Murty told Rangers TV.
“The more we can do that and the more that message can spread the bigger crowd we’ll have for the next round and the players deserve it actually they were that good today they deserve to be seen by more people.
“We see them all the time we see them warts and all but tonight I can’t really criticise too much. We’ll pick the bones out of what we can do better later but for now, I just want the guys to celebrate get their awful music on quite frankly and just enjoy their moment.”
The young Gers deserved their progression to the second round and it is further vindication of the work being done at the club’s Academy by Murty, Craig Mulholland and the other staff there.
— Rangers Youth Academy (@RFC_Youth) October 23, 2019
Hopefully, Murty’s side can find a way past the Slovakians in the next round and get the chance to come up against some of Europe’s elite sides as the ‘domestic champions’ and ‘Champions League’ paths merge in the third round.
Getting the youngsters playing in front of sizeable crowds will only help their development and prepare them for the possibility of representing the first-team in front of 50,000 fans at Ibrox.