By Nicholas Irwin
Scottish FA Youth Cup Final
Heart of Midlothian 1-2 Rangers
Wednesday 27 April 2022, kick-off 19:45pm
Hampden Park, Glasgow
Rangers held off a late surge from Hearts to deservedly clinch the 2022 Scottish FA Youth Cup Final at Hampden Park.
As it happened
Within the first two minutes, Rangers nearly made their mark on the game with an overload on the right side of the pitch. Robbie Ure found himself with lots of space and a chance in the six-yard box to open the scoring, however his strike was straight at McFarlane and he was able to get to it with his feet.
After Hearts became disorientated from a throw-in, Ure capitalised on the mistake and found himself in behind the Hearts defence to calmy set up his teammate Rory Wilson, who blasted it straight at McFarlane, who was able to palm it out for a corner.
With 10 Minutes on the clock, McFarlane was called into action again after Hearts gave away a free-kick 20 yards out from goal. Wilson placed a curling shot over the wall into the top-left corner, only for it to be met impressively by McFarlane.
Constant Rangers pressure followed, and they were presented with another chance, with Rory McInally receiving the ball on the top of the box, with enough time to take a touch and fire a curling effort at goal, only for the ball to bounce just wide of the target.
Hearts created their first chance with just under 25 minutes played, with Ewan Simpson zipping a sizzling ball into the back post area, where it was met by the head of Sandilands only for his attempt to be easily caught by McConnell.
With just over a third of the match having been played, it was Rangers who broke the deadlock through Darren McInally. Alert from a corner, he waited on the edge of the box, and after the ball came floating in he was able pounce on the tame clearance from the corner by McLuckie and only had to take two touches before he was able to excellently slot the ball into the top-left corner on a half-volley.
A minute before half-time, Rangers doubled their lead through forward Wilson. Kevin Ciubotaru found himself in plenty of space at the halfway line, with precise vision he was able to spot Rory Wilson, who sneaked in behind the Hearts defence to fire a first-time volley at McFarlane.
The keeper was unable to stop it from going through him and into the back of the net.
Charlie Lindsay’s curling effort from 20 yards out was the first chance of the second half which narrowly missed the bottom-right corner and kept Hearts hopes alive for getting back into this match.
In a second half that consisted of few goalscoring chances, it was Hearts who struck next through their substitute Murray Thomas. The number nine was able to muscle his way through the Rangers defence, presenting himself with a glimpse at goal and he took it emphatically, by moving the ball onto his right foot and smashing it into the right-hand side of the goal, from 10 yards out, giving McConnell no chance and earning Hearts a way back into this game.
Hearts then continued to pile men forward and their final chance of the game came with five minutes left. Coming in from the right-hand side, the ball bobbled its way into the six-yard box and gave substitute James Wilson a half-chance, with the youngster trying an audacious backheel. However, McConnell was there to match it and Rangers held on to their lead.
How both teams lined up
Hearts: McFarlane, Friel (Ross 66), Aitken, Flatman (c), Tait, Pollock, Kirk (Wilson 76’), Sandilands, (Thomas 45’), Simpson, McLuckie, Rathie.
Unused substitutes: Paris, Nair, Forrester, Gordon.
Rangers: McConnell, Harkness, Ciubotaru, Allan, Allen, Strachan (c), McInally (Dunlop 76’), Lindsay, Wilson, Ure, Pasnik (Graham 67’).
Unused substitutes: McKay, Ewen, Webster, Roberts, Pazikas.
Player of the Match: Rory Wilson