Belfast Telegraph

Gilmour: I'm thrilled to see Gers taste glory

Charlton Athletic 0-2 Rangers

Glory boys: Rangers celebrate their Junior section success last night
Glory boys: Rangers celebrate their Junior section success last night

By Keith Bailie

Rangers got their hands on the STATSports SuperCupNI Junior trophy for the first time since 1985, courtesy of a 2-0 win over Charlton Athletic.

The young Gers lit up the Ballymena Showgrounds with an impressive performance that suggests the Ibrox club have a bright future ahead, with the likes of Player of the Tournament Mackenzie Strachan, goalscorer Adedire Mebude and Belfast lad Charlie Lindsay catching the eye.

Rangers coach Brian Gilmour said: "We like this tournament because it's a good chance to test ourselves against different styles of play. This is a long-term process and a journey for these boys.

"Playing in front of a big crowd in a game live on television is part of the experience this tournament offers, that you don't really get elsewhere at this level.

"It's been a great experience for the boys and it's nice that we are going home with the trophy. But the really important thing is that we have successfully implemented our way of playing. We have carried out our game plan and our style against teams from all over the world, which is pleasing from my perspective."

Glentoran player Lindsay started the game for the Light Blues. He guested for the Glasgow club at the SuperCupNI and is now expected to join the Ibrox side next summer, following his 16th birthday.

Gilmour said: "Charlie has been part of this group for a long time. He's a good kid who fits in well. He's a top player who has proved himself. We're pleased with him and we will continue to work with him."

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While it was Rangers who lifted the trophy, it was Charlton who looked the more likely winners in the opening stages.

The first shot on target arrived in the 18th minute when Charlton's high press saw Rangers caught in possession.

The ball fell for Daniel Kanu who drilled a low shot at goal, only for Rangers keeper Jack McConnell to block the effort with his feet.

As the half wore on, Rangers gained control of midfield. The Glasgow team put together several neat passing moves, before finally claiming their reward in the 27th minute.

Mebude found himself in space on the left side of the area, and fired low into the Charlton goal to give the Gers the lead.

Midway through the second half, Mebude's pace hurt Charlton again. He burned into the area, only to be hacked down by defender Seydil Toure. That left referee Gareth Stewart no choice but to award a penalty. However, from the spot, Mebude was denied by James Beadle.

The second goal arrived in second-half stoppage time. Some good work by Leyton Dunlop put Robbie Ure through on goal. Beadle stopped his first effort, but Ure tucked home the rebound.

Gilmour said: "Charlton are a really good side. In fact, they were the better side in the first half. But I told the boys at half-time that we were playing it safe.

"All our possession was in our own half and Charlton were playing a high press against us, which was causing us a few problems.

"But in the second half we started to take a few more risks and we reaped the rewards."

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