Thistle Youngsters Show Up Well Against Rangers All Stars by Easton Thain
Buckie Thistle 0 Rangers 3
It was the young stars of the Jags that stood out against Rangers in Thistle’s glamour friendly with all of them showing up well and that augurs well for the future. Overall the team gave the all stars of Ibrox a hard game and if the Jags had had a cutting edge up front they may well have bagged a goal or two. Last years SFL League One Champions showed a more clinical edge in attack and two first half goals within the space of a couple of minutes of each other set them on their way to a fairly comfortable win and in the second half a late killer third from a former Scotland Internationalists put the icing on the cake for them. However, they left Victoria Park knowing they had been in a game and with a healthy respect for Thistle. The Jags gaffer Gary Hake was delighted with his teams efforts especially, as he said, they came face to face with million pound players and didn’t look out of place nor overawed. It really was a gala occasion as the crowd poured into the Viccy and they were well entertained pre-match and at half-time by the Buckie & District Pipe Band. The Buckie Thistle girls’ team also put on a show of dribbling at half-time to add to the occasion. Then occasion also ran very smoothly and the team, management, officials and fans have to be congratulated for a memorable occasion.
The visitors had the first chance which came in the 5th minute when Andy Murdoch got free but he shot wide. Within a minute the Jags threatened at the other end when ‘Zico’ Davidson sent over a cross but it came awkwardly to Liam Baxter and his header lacked power allowing Cammy Bell to save with ease. In the 13th minute trialist Gregg Alexander sent a fine ball through to Liam Baxter who hit the deck but no penalty was awarded and that was probably the right decision. The Ibrox side responded with two chances in a four minute spell, the first saw a shot from Barry McKay held by Kevin Main and then the same Rangers man headed the ball on to Nicky Clark but he shot wide. In the 23rd minute Stephen Smith pinged in a cross but Iain MacRae affected a great clearance. 60 seconds on Kevin Main punched out a corner and the ball fell to Barry McKay but his drive was cleared away. Thistle then had a glorious chance to go one up in the 26th minute when Elliott McDonald sent a great pass through to Liam Baxter who was clean in on goal but at the crucial moment he got indecisive and the opportunity for glory was gone. Soon after at the other end the ball was laid into the path of Nicky Clark but he shot wide. Rangers though then delivered a double-whammy with two goals in two minutes. In the 31st minute Kevin Main failed to clear a cross from Barry McKay, the ball went past the head of Darren Wood and there was Callum Gallagher to head home. Two minutes on Kyle Hutton fed the ball through to that man Callum Gallagher and he drilled a drive past Kevin Main. The visitors’ dander was up and in the 37th minute they weaved their way through setting a chance up for Nicky Law but Kevin Main pulled off a fine save. Close to half-time the Jags came close to pulling a goal back when Iain MacRae pinged in a grand free-kick which Darren Wood rose and met but he headed just wide.
Rangers attacked at the start of the second half and a minute in a decent chance fell to Dene Shiels but he shot just wide of target. Seven minutes in the Jags won a corner which was half cleared to Donnie Munro but his effort was blocked. In the fifty-fifth minute Thistle won a free-kick about twenty-two yards out and up stepped Shaun Carrol but he curled the ball over. Rangers responded two minutes on when Fraser Aird picked up a clearance from a corner and fired the ball in but Daniel Bell turned the ball over. From the resultant corner Nicky Law played the ball on but Richard Foster headed over. The game dulled down for a while but in the 73rd minute a dangerous Rangers corner was partly cleared by Daniel Bell and Donnie Munro cleared. Three minutes on Nicky Law sent over a cross which Dene Shiels met but headed behind. In the eight-first minute though Rangers wrapped up their win when the ball was fed into the box to Kenny Miller and the former Scotland international was unlikely to miss this opportunity and duly rounded Daniel Bell before rolling the ball home. The Jags kept trying and Donnie Munro saw a drive go over. With two minutes left Fraser Aird weaved his way through and set up a great chance for Kenny Miller but he shot across and wide. The last chance fell to the Jags with a minute left when the ball was fed through to Stuart Hodge but his drive went inches over the bar.
A lot of positives can e taken from the game by Thistle notably the efforts of the likes of Elliott McDonald, Gregg Alexander, Ben Stewart, Drew Copeland, Jay Cheyne and Stuart Hodge showing there is young talent at the Jags disposal. All the players put in a shift and considering Thistle could not have picked a tougher start to the pre-season games they didn’t look too ring rusty. They were not outplayed by Rangers and neither were they overawed and those are further positive signs. The next friendly on July 12th sees the Jags head to Links Park, Montrose and that will be a tough encounter against a more physical side but Thistle, on the showing against Rangers, can match the ‘Gable Endies’ and also give them a game, hopefully scoring in the process.
Match Photo’s Courtesy of Allan Robertson
Buckie Thistle – Main (Bell), S Wood (B Stewart), D Wood (Duncan), G Stewart (K Gauld), MacKinnon (Copeland), MacRae (L Cheyne), J Cheyne (Angus) (Noble), Davidson (Munro), Baxter (Hodge), McDonald (MacMillan) (S Gauld) and Alexander (Carrol)
Rangers – Bell, Faure, Smith, Hutton, Gasparatto, McCulloch, Gallagher, Murdoch, Clark, McKay and Law Subs (all used) – Gallacher (GK), Foster, McGregor, Wallace, Halkett, Crawford, Black, Aird, Shiels and Miller
Referee – D Watt