Young Rangers and Celtic stars deserved bigger audiences

It is little wonder that Steven Gerrard was moved to express a sense of dismay at the restricted environment surrounding two of the most compelling and entertaining 90 minutes Scottish football has produced this season.

The mini-classics served up by the academy players of Rangers and Celtic in the finals of the Scottish FA Youth Cup and Glasgow Cup over the past two midweeks were a showcase for some genuinely gifted and exciting prospects being produced by both clubs.

Sadly, attendance at Hampden and Celtic Park was by invitation only, with effectively only friends and family of those involved able to witness at first hand two five-goal thrillers. Live coverage of the Youth Cup Final, won 3-2 by Rangers, on the BBC Scotland channel did at least provide a degree of wider coverage of that fixture, while it was left to the Old Firm’s own club TV channels to transmit Celtic turning the tables in the 
Glasgow Cup.

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The decision to deny general admission to these games was taken after crowd disorder at the Glasgow Cup Finals of 2013 and 2014 at Firhill and Celtic Park, when seats were damaged and flares let off.

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard. Picture: Craig Foy/SNS

But surely it cannot be beyond the logistic capabilities of both clubs to distribute tickets among season ticket holders on their own databases and ensure, as Rangers manager Gerrard rightly stated, these players are given the platform and size of crowd their abilities deserve and which would enhance their development.