Posts Tagged ‘Murray Park’

2009/10 – Game 4 – Rangers Reserves vs. Oxford United

July 22, 2009

Rangers Reserves vs. Oxford United

Rangers Reserves 2 vs. 0 Oxford United

Pre-season Friendly
Tuesday 21st July 2009, Kick-Off 12pm
Murray Park, Milngavie

I’ve went for a double header today and this one is the earliest kick-off I’ve attended either this season or last season. I’m out in Milngavie in plenty of time due to my train arriving about 20 minutes earlier than the Scotrail website suggested.

Murray Park is about a 20 minute walk from Milngavie train station, so with plenty of time to spare I wander round to Sandra’s Snacks van beside West of Scotland rugby club for a pre-match roll and sausage.

When I get to Murray Park I’m greeted by a club official. He directs me round to the far away astro turf pitch where today’s game is being played. Spectators are welcomed at Rangers’ £14M training facility for reserve matches but it still feels somehow like you’re sneaking in somewhere you shouldn’t be.

There’s about two dozen spectators dotted along the touchline. Among them is Scotland Under-21s manager Billy Stark.

I remember the Oxford United of the mid 1980s with players like Ray Houghton, John Aldridge and Billy Hamilton. Milk Cup winners in 1986, this was also the era that saw famed nutcase and pension stealer Robert Maxwell at the helm. It’s a very different story for the Oxford of today who now find themselves a non-league club playing in the Conference National.

This isn’t their first game in Scotland this summer as they defeated Morton 3-0 at Cappielow on Saturday.

The rain comes down just as the game kicks off and it doesn’t let up for the rest of the match. Unfortunately there’s no shelter either.

The game begins at pace and it’s clear to see it’s no stroll in the park friendly. Both teams are totally committed to getting a result and this turns it into a decent encounter.

The most notable name, for me, in the Oxford line-up is 20 year-old Alfie Potter, on loan from Peterborough. Potter was part of the Havant & Waterlooville side that lost 5-2 to Liverpool in the FA Cup in 2008. Joining Oxford on a season long loan last month, Potter has now played for 6 different clubs on loan while at Peterborough. He doesn’t see that much of the ball today. When he does he sets off on mazy dribbles. Almost every time he tries one turn too many and ends up beating himself.

Rangers Reserves vs. Oxford United

Although Oxford initially look more of an attacking force it’s Rangers who take the lead in practically their first foray over the half-way line. On seven minutes Andy Little bangs home a lovely half-volley into the top corner from the edge of the box.

There’s plenty of tasty challenges going in from players on both sides. It being a friendly of course the ref isn’t showing any cards, but he’s frequently having to pull a few players aside to have some words with them.

The U’s almost get back into it when Ross Perry, believing the ball to have crossed the line for a throw-in decides to stop playing. Oxford’s winger takes the ball into the penalty area and fires a shot just over the bar. The defender is soundly chastised by his team-mates. “Don’t stop playing! Play the whistle”. In response he has a half-hearted moan to the referee about the ball being out. It wasn’t. Lesson learned though I would imagine.

At half-time Rangers put on Israeli trialist and Pedro Mendes lookalike Gil Bluhmennstein, who was recently released by Villarreal. Rejected as an 11 year old at Tottenham Hotspur, Bluhmennstein also played with Gent in Belgium. He showed a couple of nice touches today, although nothing that really made him stand out. From what I’ve read about him he’s determined to make a name for himself in Europe so hopefully he’ll impress enough at Rangers to be offered a contract.

Rangers get their second with five minutes left. Stephen Stirling sends a lovely chip over the heads of the Oxford defence for Lennon to get on the end of it and lift the ball over Ryan Clarke in goal and into the top right hand corner. A well worked move to seal a deserved win for Rangers.

Pictured below is Bluhmennstein (14), some of his colleagues and the referee all cleaning off their boots before going into the dressing room after the match.

Rangers players wash their boots off

Rangers: Adam, Lowing (Wylde 60), Perry, McMillan, Kinniburgh (Loy 75), Lennon, Ness, Emslie (Cole 60), Stirling, Loy (Bagci 60), Little (Bluhmennstein 45)

Scorers: Little (7), Lennon (85)

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Game Thirty-Eight – Rangers Reserves vs. Aberdeen Reserves

April 17, 2009

Rangers Res vs. Aberdeen Res

Rangers Reserves 2 vs. 1 Aberdeen Reserves

Scottish Premier Reserve League
Tuesday 14th April 2009, Kick-Off 2pm
Murray Park, Milngavie

Murray Park was opened in June of 2001. The brainchild of Rangers’ former boss Dick Advocaat it’s a £14M state-of-the-art training facility designed to develop the Rangers players of tomorrow.

It can be found about a ten minute walk away from Milngavie train station. It may actually be nearer Hillfoot, but I worked out how to get there from Milngavie so that’s the way I went.

When I arrive at the gates there is a small crowd already gathered there. At first I assumed that they were waiting to get in for the game, but I quickly realise they are seasoned autograph hunters waiting on the first team stars to leave from training. They have numerous match programmes opened at double page spreads of the relevant Rangers players, some of them carry footballs that already have a few autoraphs on, and many of them have large folders and scrapbooks.

I hang around for a bit myself to see who comes out. Steven Naismith and Pedro Mendes drive out while I’m there and happily sign autographs and pose for photographs.

With about ten minutes before kick-off I wander through for the match. A teamsheet is available in the Youth Reception area and I go through to pick one up. There are also snack machines and toilets available in here, so everything you would really require for an afternoon match.

The reception area also has a few interesting things up on the wall. A painting of a team of Rangers greats, where Greig, Jardine and Cooper line up with Goram, Hateley and Gough. There is also a framed speech by Bill Struth that he made shortly before he died.

I walk round to the pitch area where Sandy Jardine, who still looks like he could fill in beside Davie Weir during an injury crisis, is chatting to folk at the office door.

There’s a three step terracing area that runs the length of one side of the pitch from where you can watch the match. There’s room to stand behind one of the goals too.

I stand around about the halfway line, just where the Rangers TV team have set up. This leads to me being able to hear the the commentator provide his live commentary for the match. This is a nice little extra, being able to get TV commentary while at a game. From his summary I am treated to little tidbits of information such as the fact that today’s match referee is also a school teacher and the date for the Under 19s Cup Final is April 29th.

Rangers hit the crossbar a couple of times in the first half. The second occasion it’s a Steven Lennon shot from 6 yards out. Andy Webster marshalls the Gers defence well, but the obvious stand out is John Fleck. He’s just got that extra bit of class than anyone else on the pitch. He takes control of the ball well and isn’t afraid to take on defenders.

Andy Little brings out a great save from Bertrand Bossu in the Aberdeen goal. Bossu is the only player on the pitch wearing a name and first team squad number on the back of his jersey.

It is goaless at half-time. There is still a huddle of autograph hunters at the front gates as a few more first team players leave the training ground.

When the teams enter and exit the pitch they have to step over the little chain link fence that surrounds it. The Aberdeen players go over it with the neccessary cuation. Several of the Rangers side however, presumably because they’re used to it, leap over it. Brahim Hemdani is one of those who does so, catching his foot on the chain and going flying. He can do little but turn and laugh along with those of us behind the goal chuckling at him.

Rangers are awarded a penalty kick when Stewart pulls down Andrius Velicka. It looked a fair award to me, but Aberdeen captain Stuart Duff is not so sure. Suggesting a dive he points to Velicka while shouting to the referee, “He’s pishing himself ref.”

Steven Smith bangs the penalty home sending Busso the wrong way.

Steven Smith scores a penalty

A through ball from Velicka in the 67th minute sends Fleck away. The 17 year old takes it well and slots the ball in from just inside the penalty box for 2-0 Rangers.

Aberdeen get back in it with 4 minutes left when the Gers keeper Scott Gallacher pulls down Michael Paton out on the byeline. Again looked like a decent award to me, but it was met by some criticism from the Rangers men. Paton takes it himself to make it 2-1.

It’s a decent afternoon’s entertainment given that additional wee polish with the match commentary. Rangers Reserves are still in with a chance of preventing Celtic from lifting the league title for the 8th sucessive season. They meet at Ibrox for a potential title decider on Tuesday 28th April.

A report from the Rangers website is here. A report from Aberdeen’s website is here. I have some more photographs here.

The Rangers team leave the pitch

Rangers: Gallacher, Lowing (Durie 10), Webster, Wilson, Wylde, Lennon, Hemdani, Little, S.Smith (Stirling 60), Velicka (Miller 72), Fleck Subs Not Used: Vaiculis

Scorers: Smith (50 pen), Fleck (67)

Aberdeen: Bossu, Crawford, Vidal, Stewart, Duff, Pawlett, Clark, Wright, Paton, Ross. Megginson, Subs: Bain, McRobbie, Low, Megginson, Jarvis

Scorer: Paton (86 pen)

Referee: Des Roache

Assistant Referees: Alan Newlands, Paul Robertson