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Steven Smith was full of his praise for his Rangers Under-18 side as they beat Aberdeen 2-1 at Hampden last night to lift the Scottish Youth Cup.

The Light Blues fell behind in the 64th minute but quickly recovered and hit back with a Findlay Curtis penalty and a deflected strike from Josh Gentles.

Rangers showed tremendous character and fighting spirit to turn the game around and Smith, who won the competition as an Academy player in 2002, was thrilled with the attitude of his players.

Speaking to RangersTV after the game, he said:“It was a tough game. When you look back over the 90 minutes, we played with quality in the first half and had some good chances. 

“But then it changed slightly in the second half; Aberdeen became quite dominant putting set-pieces into the penalty box and looking dangerous.

“However, we found a way and showed both character and resilience in the second half. In the end it was a split game: we played with quality in the first half and showed character in the second half.

“I understood the feelings and nerves before the game, but ultimately you need to enjoy it because it could be one of the biggest nights in their careers.

“To be fair to them, and rightly and wrongly, we’ve went a goal down quite a few times in the league campaign and we’ve always shown character to come back.

“But it’s different doing it on this occasion and stage when the pressure is on and everyone is watching. I take my hat off to them because they showed real resilience.

“I thought we had complete control in the first half and I was delighted at how we played, we were excellent in and out of possession.

“We knew the second half was going to be different because they weren’t going to continue allowing what happened in the first half.

“But we adapted and changed shape slightly, and credit to the players because they found a way to get back into the game and eventually win it.

“It’s part of the character that we talk about. Findlay is the penalty taker, he practices them quite often, and he found a way to put it away.

“Mason Munn, again, showed big saves in the semi-final shootout, and we know he’s capable of that. He keeps producing big moments and, for a Rangers goalkeeper, you need to continue to do that.

“When you get to this point, it becomes the best you can replicate in terms of the first-team and the pressure to go and win the trophy. 

“We came here to win and they’ve achieved that, so fair play to them.”

RYDC has provided more than £11 million to the Rangers Academy since 2002 through profit from our portfolio of products.

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