YOUNG GUNS RUNNERS UP AT HONGKONG 7s
RANGERS have enjoyed a positive start to the summer by reaching the final of the prestigious Hong Kong Soccer Sevens tournament on Sunday.
The Light Blues won five out of five games without conceding a goal before taking on Aston Villa who lifted the trophy courtesy of a 3-2 win over their SPL opponents.
Tommy Wilson's squad showed their intent in the group stages by recording 2-0, 1-0 and 2-0 victories over Hong Kong FC Select, Tuen Muen and West Ham United respectively.
And goalkeeper Scott Gallacher kept another clean sheet as Rangers beat Old Firm rivals Celtic 2-0 in the quarter-finals.
With confidence high Premiership side Sunderland were next up and again the Murray Park youngsters romped to a stunning 3-0 scoreline although Gallacher denied the Black Cats on more than one occasion in an impressive display.
The final was always going to be a tough contest with Villa having a strong group of players which included first-team starlets Nathan Delfouneso, Ciaran Clark and Benjamin Siegrist.
The players in claret and blue showed their quality but after scoring three quickfire goals a double from Andrew Shinnie, who was named Player of the Tournament and top scorer with eight, brought Rangers back in to the contest.
Unfortunately it was not enough and despite Max Wright coming close with an effort in the last minute Villa lifted the trophy.
Wilson, however, was proud of his squad's efforts and felt the trip to the Far East was yet again a great experience for everyone involved.
He said: "To get to the final without losing a goal highlights just how well our lads did.
"We beat West Ham, Celtic and Sunderland on our way to the final so we are all very happy with what we achieved.
"We had a mixed group out with us this year with five under-18s travelling including Andrew Mitchell who has just joined Rangers after being with Manchester City last season.
"On top of that we had five older boys but everyone gelled really quickly and we hit the ground running when the games started.
"Obviously to beat Celtic was very pleasing after losing out to them in the final in 2009 and we then did very well to beat Sunderland 3-0 although the scoreline perhaps flattered us a bit as Scott had some fantastic saves in that game.
"But we went in to the final with a lot of confidence and could have equalised in the last minute through Max (Wright) after we had staged a late comeback; unfortunately it wasn't to be and Villa won.
"To be fair to them they were very good and were always going to be one of the favourites to win the tournament.
"But overall I thought we were excellent and Andrew Shinnie, who scored several goals for us, did exceptionally well and was named the Player of the Tournament.
"So once again coming out to Hong Kong has been a fantastic experience and it's a great event to be involved in."
Rangers vs Hongkong FC Select 2:0
Rangers vs Tuen Muen 1:0
Rangers vs West Ham 2:0
Rangers vs Celtic 2:0
Rangers vs Sunderland 3:0
Rangers vs Aston Villa 2:3 (Shinnie 2x - )
SQUAD: Scott Gallacher, Andrew Mitchell, Ross Perry, Rhys McCabe, Stephen Stirling, Andrew Shinnie, Rory Loy, Dylan McGeouch, Max Wright, Kal Naismith
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