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U20 Northern Ireland Friendly Tour


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RANGERS under-20s jetted out to Northern Ireland this morning ahead of their match with Ballymena at the Showgrounds this evening.

The game with the Sky Blues is the first in a two-game tour for the side, with a match against Coleraine following on Friday night.

Travelling squad:

Max Ashmore

Jamie Brandon

David Brownlie

Robbie Crawford

Dylan Dykes

Calum Gallagher

Luca Gasparotto

Craig Halkett

Josh Jeffries

Tom Lang

Ross Lyon

Robby McCrorie


Andrew Murdoch

Darren Ramsey

Scott Roberts

Ryan Sinnamon

Daniel Stoney

Lewis White

Kieran Wright

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RANGERS under-20s kicked off their two-game tour of Northern Ireland with a 1-1 draw against Ballymena United on Tuesday night.

Rangers complete their tour on Friday night with a match against another Irish Premiership side Coleraine.

RANGERS: Rob McCrorie, Ryan Sinammon (Tom Lang 64), Lewis White (Jamie Brandon 70), Max Ashmore (Dylan Dykes 46), Ross McCrorie (Craig Halkett 46), Luca Gasporotto (David Brownlie 46), Robbie Crawford (Josh Jeffries 64), Andy Murdoch, Calum Gallagher (Daniel Stoney 46), Ross Lyon, Scott Roberts (Darren Ramsay 46).


“In terms of the young boys bedding in, I thought it was a great game,” said Durrant.

“I thought Ballymena were a physical presence and a good test for us.

“In the first half Ballymena were excellent. They put us under pressure and we tried to enforce our passing game which didn't really work in the first half – I thought we were slack in terms of possession.

“I made the conscious decision of playing some of the younger ones in the first half and then brought on some more experienced boys in the second half.

“I thought they matched up to Ballymena in terms of the physicality and I also thought we moved the ball a lot quicker in the second half.

“We're trying to get as much game time into the players' legs as we can and Ballymena was a good workout for us.

“It's a learning curve for our boys to see how they can stand up to tests like that.

“People know the prestige of Glasgow Rangers and teams want to put on a show against us.

“I told the boys not to under-estimate what they were up against because I knew Ballymena were a strong, physical team who would make us work hard.

“I think it was a bit of an eye-opener for some of our young kids but if they want to make it in the game, they'll have to come up against bigger and stronger opponents and that will stand them in good stead.

“It's important to see how some of them can handle coming over here to play. In the football environment now you might have a lot of travelling to do.

“We were invited over here with open arms and we know we have a big support in Northern Ireland but you find out more about people away from their own environment.

“We only have one more game left against Coleraine and then our league starts so we're looking to bed in a starting XI.

“We're not far off that and the team we will put out against Coleraine will be near enough our starting XI.

“We will train on the beach on Wednesday and have a warm-down and then train again in the afternoon.

“On Thursday we'll have a wee bit more intense training session ahead of the game on Friday.

“We'll enjoy the hospitality of Northern Ireland but we're here to work hard – it's not a jolly by any means.”

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Murdoch, like the rest of his team-mates is hoping to do enough to force his way into new first-team manager Mark Warburton's plans.

“He has told the young players if you're good enough, you're old enough and if you do well you can get a shot at the first team and he has laid that out to everyone.

“We're all trying to impress and to earn a place in that team,” added Murdoch.

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I thought Murdoch was good enough to stay and play last night. Really liked the look of him.

I thought he was injured and that was the reason for him playing with the U20, however, now don't think that is the case. Really surprised, and surprised to see him on the tour and not with the main squad; particularly given the fact Hardie was promoted to the main set-up.

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RANGERS under-20s play their latest match tonight in Coleraine as they round-off their mini-tour of Northern Ireland.

Following their 1-1 draw with Ballymena on Tuesday, the light blue youngsters have travelled the 30 miles or so up the A26 for their match at the Showgrounds which kicks off at 8pm.

It’s been an excellent pre-season so far for Ian Durrant’s boys, with 4-0, 6-0 and 5-0 wins over Dumbarton under-20s, Tynecastle and Arbroath’s first-team respectively already under their belts prior to the Ballymena draw where Josh Jeffries secured a result for the youngsters.

Coleraine manager Oran Kearney is very much looking forward to the match, although he expects his side to undergo a thorough examination.

“It will be a good test for us, and I’ve no doubt it will be our toughest workout of pre-season,” he said.

“It will be a good chance for our boys to take on a very good side. The lads have been working very hard in pre-season, I couldn’t ask any more of them. At this stage it’s all about training and working on the fitness levels.

“We are making very good progress and tonight’s game is another step towards the opening fixture against Glentoran on August 8th. We are expecting a large crowd and a great atmosphere on tonight which will make it a special occasion for everyone involved.

“Rangers are a massive draw and everyone is looking forward to it.

“There has been a lot of hard work put in to make this match happen, and I would like to thank everyone who has made it possible.”

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Coleraine 1-2 Rangers


Rangers Under-20 boss Ian Durrant believes his side will have gained valuable experience from their two games in Northern Ireland.

The Ibrox youngsters came back from a goal down to beat Coleraine 2-1 on Friday night much to Durrant's delight.

"I've known the Irish League for a few years and I know how tough it is, especially when you're playing in their own back yard," he said after the game.

"The teams are full of experienced players who know how to play, but it's great experience for our lads in terms of learning how to play against teams like this, and that's the bonus we'll take out of the game.

"Tonight's game was another good workout for us, again it was similar to the Ballymena game.

"Coleraine were excellent in the first half, they knocked the ball about well and we were a wee bit like rabbits caught in the headlights.

"I thought though once the more experienced guys came on in the second half we handled things a lot better.

"We brought Ryan Hardie on at the start of the second half and he showed his class. He's a great goal scorer and right away he showed that by getting the equaliser.

"You could see the confidence growing within the team once we got that goal.

"It was a tough test for us though. I said to the boys when you come over here you get tough games, they are enjoyable games, but tough, it's a good learning curve for them though.

"They know if they want to go far in the game they have to deal with the physicality. In the two games they have been up against men who know how to play the game, but they young players will get used to that and they will get better because of it.

"I think the manager will be impressed with the performances of a number of players in the last couple of games when he watches the matches back."The likes of Andy Murdoch, Robbie Crawford and Ryan Hardie, who grabbed the goal tonight, have all shown up well."

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