RANGERS FOOTBALL CLUB are today delighted to welcome back two former players to the Academy coaching staff, and welcome a new member too.

Firstly, Kevin Thomson and Gregory Vignal rejoin the club to work in the Intermediate Academy (under-13’s to under-15’s)

And, with Graeme Murty managing the first team, Stuart Taylor, the former Aston Villa under-23’s and Wolves first team coach, will take on a role until the summer working alongside Billy Kirkwood and Peter Lovenkrands with the Development Squad.

Head of Academy, Craig Mulholland commented: “I am delighted to welcome Stuart, Kevin and Gregory to the Academy.

“Kevin and Gregory are well known faces to the supporters and, in keeping with the appointments of Peter Lovenkrands, Stephen Wright, Brian Gilmour, Peter McDonald and Andy Little, it provides us with more ex-Rangers players within the Academy which will benefit our young players.

“All top clubs in Europe were recently asked by the European Clubs’ Association if their Academy coach recruitment policy focussed solely on ex-players, as the likes of Ajax do. Or did we employ teachers and academics as the majority of the best clubs in the likes of Belgium and France do very successfully?

“My belief is in a hybrid of both. We need coaches who are experts at understanding how young people learn and have a unique skill set for developing kids of a specific age, combined with ex-players who can pass on a wealth of knowledge from playing at this club and at Champions League level.

“Critically, appointments like Kevin and Gregory will always be because they have the potential to be top coaches and not just because they were top players.  They must fit into our culture, be desperate to learn, be innovative thinkers and demonstrate a humility and desire which will see them add value within our coaching team and to our players.

“Kevin is a UEFA ‘A’ licenced coach who has shown a commitment to the development of young people through his own grassroots Academy in Edinburgh.  He has worked with kids of all ages and understands the demands of the job on cold, wet, windy nights which is not at all glamorous.

“To see a top pro want to develop his coaching skills in this way, and be prepared to do the apprenticeship in coaching in the same way as he did as a player and be the best he can be, is what attracted us to Kevin.  His enthusiasm for football is infectious and his desire to develop talent shines through.  He has a magnificent passion for the game which will rub off on our players.

“Gregory demonstrates the same qualities.  He is moving from France for a role which is initially only three sessions per week and a game at the weekend.  This demonstrates real commitment from him and a massive desire to work at Rangers.

“He is excited by what he has seen in the Academy, our ambitious plans and is making this massive step to become part of something very exciting.

“He is also an ‘A’ Licenced coach and, as well as extensive knowledge from his playing days with Rangers, and of course Liverpool and Fulham in the EPL, he will bring with him experience of coaching in Academies in France, where they are producing some fantastic players just now.

“All of the existing Academy staff are keen to learn from the cultural differences Gregory will bring from France, while we help guide him on his journey in coaching.

“Stuart Taylor is someone we have been watching for some time and we interviewed him as part of an extensive recruitment process 18 months ago when we appointed Graeme Murty. We have been tracking his career since then.

“A former player in the SPFL Premiership, it is his work in the last few years as Aston Villa’s U23 coach, where he initiated some innovative ideas, and as first team coach at Wolves in the Championship which has attracted us to him.

“The EPPP process in England has lifted Academies in the South to a new level of session design, coaching content and planning.  As Graeme did when he arrived, having worked in the EPPP system at Southampton and Norwich, we believe Stuart will bring this knowledge and expertise of elite Academy football in England to the Development Squad.

“He is also a UEFA Pro Licence holder and will work alongside Billy Kirkwood and Peter Lovenkrands in a newly formed coaching team who will look after the group until summer 2018.”

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