An impressive Rangers side started their UEFA Youth League campaign in positive fashion with a 3-0 victory over Hammarby in Dumbarton.
The Young Gers were without a number of B team regulars, who were ineligible, but David McCallum was still able to field a strong and eager starting XI.
— Rangers B & Academy (@RFC_Youth) September 28, 2021
After Ross McCausland had gone close in the opening stages, Robbie Ure gave the hosts the lead in the 11th minute, hooking a finish into the top left corner from around six yards out following a cutback from Tony Weston.
Rangers huffed and puffed without adding to their lead before the interval, but McCausland doubled the scoreline in the 65th minute, cutting in from the right and bending a left-footed shot beyond the diving William Bjorklund.
In the 81st minute, McCausland grabbed his second of the night and surely put the tie to bed with a composed finish after smart link-up play with Ure.
Here are three things we learned from the game:
Young Gers mirroring first team’s style
It was clear from the first few minutes of the contest that this was a youth side playing with a very similar shape and style to Steven Gerrard’s first team.
David McCallum’s Young Gers played out from the back with composure, the full-backs pushed high and the front three interchanged at will. It was all there.
If anything, this side played with more intensity than the first team have managed in most of their fixtures so far this season.
The style was much better on the eye than the direct approach adopted by the opposition and most importantly, it was effective.
Charlie Lindsay the standout
17-year-old Northern Ireland youth international Lindsay wore the same shirt number as his role model Steven Davis and there were shades of the UK record men’s cap holder in his performance.
Lindsay constantly made himself available for the ball and dictated the tempo, unleashing plenty of quarterback-style passes to pick out the adventurous full-backs.
There was a waspish tenacity without the ball, too. His small stature didn’t stop him from battling much bigger opponents and often coming out on top.
He wasn’t quite as influential in the second half but is very much one to watch going forward.
Exciting attacking talent coming through
Rangers started with a fluid front three consisting of Ross McCausland, Tony Weston and Robbie Ure.
By far the biggest of the trio physically, Ure took his goal confidently and held the ball up well.
Much of Rangers’ best play involved either McCausland or Weston or both, though, with the duo using their low centres of gravity and pace to weave past opponents seemingly with ease.
Weston struck the crossbar with a fierce drive shortly before making way for Alex Lowry but McCausland’s persistence would eventually pay off.
His dynamic display deserved a goal and he eventually grabbed two. The first was a lovely curled effort from the edge of the box and the second a cute dinked finish after leaving a defender for dead.
Lowry also deserves a mention for his bright second-half cameo. He almost scored an incredible goal in the 75th minute after waltzing past several mesmerised defenders.
The future looks bright.