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Rangers 2-2 AZ Alkmaar - Striker tears up U-20s clash as quartet fast-tracked by Caixinha

By James Black

Rangers Under-20’s earned a 2-2 draw with Dutch side AZ Alkmaar in Tuesday in the latest fixture in the club’s “Academy Games” programme.

Ryan Hardie continued his fine goal-scoring form for the Development Squad as he grabbed a double for a depleted Rangers side in Holland.

Liam Burt, Aidan Wilson, Jordan Houston, Jack Thomson, Ross Lyon and Rhys Breen all missed the trip to face the Dutch side through injury while fellow rookies Ross McCrorie, Myles Beerman, Jordan Thompson and Jamie Barjonas have been fast-tracked by first-team boss Pedro Caixinha.

They are with the first-team squad preparing for the League Cup semi-final with Motherwell on Sunday.

A young Rangers side went a goal behind to Keyennu Lane’s early goal before a goal either side of the break from Hardie put the Gers in front.

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Serge Atakayi’s 25th-minute cut-back found Hardie in the six-yard box to fire home the equaliser before rounding Joey Roggeveen three minutes into the second-half to give his side the lead.

Graeme Murty’s side were facing a strong AZ side featuring several Dutch youth internationals and the hosts pushed forward looking for an equaliser.

Alkmaar thought they had levelled the score after an hour but were ruled offside.

The Dutch side finally got back level with three minutes left after Furkan Kurban scored from the penalty spot.

As part of the “Academy Games” programme, Rangers have withdrawn from the SPFL Development League in favour of a year-long series of home-and-away games with elite youth sides from across Europe including AZ, Manchester City, Benfica and AEK Athens.

In other Rangers transfer news, a £7.5million midfielder is firmly in the running to be the club’s next signing.

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