Rangers drew 1-1 with Celtic in tonight’s SPL Youth League game at Dumbarton watched by some 500 spectators.
A mistake by ‘Gers goalkeeper Richard White in the second minute almost presented Celtic with the opening goal – but David Pinkonski’s close-range effort struck the crossbar.
That near miss was the only incident worthy of note in a most disappointing opening half-hour.
A Gary Arbuckle run in 31 minutes threatened the opening goal – but White was equal to the task, holding the low twenty-yard drive.
Seven minutes later the same player should have done better than shoot wide from a Kevin Ramsey lay-off.
It had been a poor first-half from Rangers – reigning SPL Youth League Champions – but thankfully the second-half would be better.
Celtic were again first to threaten when Gary Irvine’s solo run produced a fine one-handed save from Richard White in 47 minutes, but Rangers had stirred themselves and both Tom Brighton and Sandy Gebbie came close to breaking the deadlock in the next five minutes, the latter following a fine Daniel Fortunato run.
The opening goal when it arrived in 54 minutes was a fine individual effort from Sandy Gebbie who netted from a tight angle to put Rangers 1-0 up.
Seven minutes later a fine White save denied Craig Beattie from an Aidan McGrady pass, but the turning-point of the game arrived in 63 minutes when
Celtic’s Paul Lawson committed an atrocious foul on Charlie Adam, a foul that certainly merited a red card only for the referee to bottle his decision by contenting himself with yellow. To compound matters, Lawson gestured at the Rangers’ fans who had quite rightly expressed their outrage at the tackle. Such a gesture should certainly have resulted in at least another yellow, but the referee either missed the gesture or chose to ignore it.
Inevitably Celtic equalised two minutes later when the selfsame Lawson netted with a twenty-yard drive.
The Parkhead youngsters might even have snatched the lead in 66 minutes when Beattie’s header from a Ross Wallace free-kick was tipped over by Richard White, but it was Rangers who finished the game on top with substitute Bob Davidson’s 83rd minute drive beaten out by Michael McGovern.
RANGERS White; Hutton, Coyle; Fortunato, McLeod, Walker; Brown, Watson (Davidson 73), Gebbie (McLean 73), Brighton, C. Adam (Campbell 87)
UNUSED SUB J. Adam
CELTIC McGovern; McCormack, Friel; Lawson (Harris 82), Lon, Pinkonski; Irvine, Beattie, Ramsey (McGrady 57), Arbuckle, Wallace
UNUSED SUBS Mulgren, Robertson, Ballantyne