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Youth Cup: St Mirren 2-1 Rangers



by James Hunter at the Paisley 2021 Stadium

The St Mirren Under-20 side booked their place in the 5th round of the Little Big Shot Youth Cup after an impressive 2-1 win over Rangers at the Paisley 2021 stadium. Goals from Lewis McLear and Jack Baird had the Saints on easy street before Rangers scored a late consolation. The Buddies were well worthy of the victory over the Light Blues and can look forward to a tie against Ross County in the 5th round.

St Mirren started the game the brighter of the two sides and caused Rangers problems early on as Jaison McGrath went close but couldn’t quite reach the teasing cross into the box. Barry Cuddihy then sent a searching ball for McGrath who couldn’t beat the Rangers defender to the ball though it broke kindly for Lewis Morgan who burst into the box but drove the effort wide.

Rangers had their first opportunity of the game as Scott Roberts went close but his shot was straight at Dan Wilks. The Light Blues had a few corners that came to nothing and it would prove costly as St Mirren opened the scoring soon after. Morgan, who was causing the Rangers defence all sorts of problems early on, managed to get down the right hand side and sent across a low ball into the danger area where McLear was waiting to fire home. The 19 year-old finished with real aplomb as the venomous strike left Robbie McCrorie in the Rangers goal with no chance.

Buoyed by the goal, the Saints continued to pressure the Gers and Kyle McAllister troubled McCrorie with a long range effort but the goalkeeper managed to get the ball under control.

The Buddies almost got the second half off to the perfect start as Morgan latched on to McLear’s flick but his effort went just wide. It was McLear who went close moments later in search of his, and St Mirren’s second, but he dragged his attempt wide of the far post.

Wilks made a good block to deny Ryan Sinnamon who had broken the offside trap but it was still St Mirren who looked the likelier of the two side’s to score and it proved to be the case just before the hour mark as Jack Baird made it 2-0. It was Kyle McAllister who caused all the problems as he smashed a half volley from outside the box which had McCrorie beaten all ends up. The shot cracked off the post and fell into the path of Baird who slid the ball home.

Rangers attempted to get a foothold in the game but efforts from Jordan Thompson and substitute Tom Walsh caused no problems for Wilks as they went high and wide. The Gers did pull a goal back late on after a mix up in the Saints defence allowed Ryan Hardie to nip in and finish into the empty net. It was nothing more than a consolation though as St Mirren make their way into the next round.

St Mirren: Wilks, Cuddihy, McDonald, Magennis, Whyte, Baird, Morgan (Morrison 86), Stewart, McLear, McGrath (MacPherson 66), McAllister (O’Keefe 73).
Unused Substitutes: McDonald, Willison (GK).

David Longwell said after the match: “We went with a game plan as we’ve watched Rangers quite a lot and it was all about trying to get a positive result. In the first half we played a different system to try and hurt them and we felt it worked as the first goal came through Kyle McAllister, Lewis Morgan and Lewis McLear.

“In the second half we went with a second game plan. We came off the game and allowed Rangers to have it to try and counter on them as we felt that was the easiest way to try and hurt them.

“We made a conscious decision to come off the game as we didn’t need to chase the game, Rangers did and if it weren’t for a wee silly mistake at the end we’d have kept a clean sheet that obviously justified the game plan.

“Fair credit to the kids at that age to go with such a tactical plan and execute it was brilliant. We usually always build from the back but we decided to change it for that game as Rangers knew what we do and we just wanted to do things a bit differently to try and outfox them. The boys deserve enormous credit because it was hard work for them. If you look at the amount of clear cut chances we created more and deserved to win.”

Match report pictures and match gallery pictures © John Millar.

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