After the fabulous 3-1 win for the Scotland U19s against Turkey in the UEFA Under-19s Elite Round last Wednesday, they were confident of beating Cyrus on Saturday.

The competition is being held in Portugal and the head coach is Billy Stark, who was delighted with his teams display and the result.

The boss picked five Rangers youths in his Scotland line up against Turkey and they all performed exceptionally well in the dark blue shirts.

They were Jordan Houston, Lewis Mayo, Glenn Middleton, Dapo Mebude and Zak Rudden, who could all have started again against Cyprus.

19-year-old Ibrox striker Zak Rudden, opened the scoring in only seven minutes to edge Scotland ahead of Turkey, before the Turks leveled the match to 1-1 just before the interval.

The on-loan Rangers forward who is currently playing his football at Falkirk this season, has bagged 11 goals for the Bairns, so far this season.

Young ‘Man of the Match’ striker Rudden really excelled against the Cyprus U19s, as he ran amok with a superb 62 minutes hat trick in the 4-0 romp. 

Stark decided to substitute Rudden in the 63rd minute to keep him fresh for the more imperative game against Portugal on Tuesday.

This result pushed the Scotland U19s to top of the league with six points from their first two matches. 

They now face a winner-takes-all showdown in Porto against host team Portugal on Tuesday. The winner will reach the Euro finals in Armenia.

It’s the first time in 13 years that the Scottish U19s side will qualify for the finals, but only if they actually win the game.

Rudden’s Rangers team-mate, 18-year-old winger Middleton scored the other goal to keep all four goals in the Light Blues stable.

The six points from two matches has made it easier for the young Scots side to qualify for the U-19 European Championship for only the second time in history.

Scotland U19s have been very impressive and are unbeaten in their last seven games. Wales 1-2 Scotland, Scotland 5-0 San Marino, Scotland 2-2 Sweden.

And more recently Scotland 1-1 Spain, Scotland 2-0 Azerbaijan, Scotland 3-1 Turkey and Scotland 4-0 Cyprus.

The group winners progress to the finals with Scotland now having maximum points from the Turkey and Cyprus ties.

Five Rangers starlets started against Cyprus: Mayo, Kelly, Houston, Rudden and Middleton, with Mebude dropping to the bench. Mathew Shiels was introduced for the last 30 minutes.

Playing Portugal will not be easy, as they have still to concede a goal scored against them in this tournament.

But with Scotland having Rudden on top goal-scoring form, they may well beat them to go through.

The Rangers youth team and coaches look for technical development, game awareness, tactical and also the physical development to meet the needs of each individual player, at the Hummel Training Centre.

It certainly looks like Rangers new emphasis on great youngsters will prove to be effective in the longer term, with seven involved in Portugal.

Boss Stark picked five Rangers youngsters to start in the final Elite Round qualifier that they unfortunately lost 4-0 against Portugal on Tuesday.

Houston, Mayo, Middleton, Kelly and Rudden all started with Mebude and Shiels on the bench.

The full squad of 20 players involves seven Rangers and six Celtic boys to prove that the two Glasgow clubs are heading in the right direction for success.


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