SFA Youth Cup, Quarter Final tie - Rangers 0-1 Heart Of Midlothian
As with previous encounters between the sides it was yet another battle in the middle of the park and the strong Hearts side made good use of their physique to out muscle Rangers at times.
It took a quarter of an hour for the first chance to materialise when a Steve Lennon free kick from the edge of the box looked net bound but was well saved from going into the postage stamp corner by Haraldur Bjornsson in the Hearts goal.
2 minutes later saw the visitors have a good shout for a penalty when Andrew Driver was clumsily challenged in the box as he bore down on goal but Referee David McIntosh saw nothing wrong with the challenge and waved play on, much to the annoyance of the large contingent through from Edinburgh and the bewilderment of the home fans.
Rangers suffered a massive blow when Under 17 internationalist Andy Shinnie was taken off injured but it gave his replacement, Brian Gilmour, the opportunity to make his comeback from injury.
Chances were to be few and far between as the match wore on but Moses Ashikodi made an impression when he sprung the Heats offside trap and raced through on goal, as his shot passed Bjornsson it agonisingly struck the bottom of the post and went out for a goal kick.
The crucial point in the match came only 1 minute after the restart when Andrew Driver, who was outstanding up front for Hearts the whole match, took control of the ball just inside the 18 yard box, then steadied himself before shooting past the despairing Callum Reidford in the Rangers goal to put Hearts one up and leave Rangers now chasing the game.
The match was never going to be one for the faint hearted and the tackles became more solid and crunching as the semi final place grew closer for Hearts and further away for Rangers. David McIntosh had his work cut out keeping control of the match and booked 2 players from either side.
For Rangers Steve Lennon was always threatening coming forward from midfield and promising forward from the Under 15’s, John Fleck, made his under 19 debut, coming on for John Johnston with ½ hour remaining.
As Rangers pushed forward there was just no way past the imposing Bjornsson in the Hearts goal and even though the referee played 6 minutes off added time it still wasn’t enough to keep the Young ‘Gers in the Cup.
RANGERS; Reidford, Lowing, McMillan, Perry, Smith, Emslie, Johnstone (Fleck 62), Lennon, Ashikodi, Shinnie (Gilmour 31), N’Guessan (Crooks 69)
Unused subs; Sagar, Ure
HEART OF MIDLOTHIAN; Bjornsson, Thomson, Lithgow, J. Armstrong, McDonald, Doherty, Johnsson, Neill, Driver, McLaughlin, Mole.
Subs; Amos, Park, McCusker, Mackle, Hamilton