GRAEME MURTY was delighted after his Reserve side – which included recent first-team signings Glen Kamara and Matt Polster – beat Greenock Morton 5-0 at the Hummel Training Centre this afternoon.

Senior players Jon Flanagan and Gareth McAuley were also named in the starting eleven to face ‘The Ton’ as was Glenn Middleton who netted a fine brace.

Young striker Josh McPake (pictured above) went one better however, with his impressive hat-trick impressing the coaching staff on the sidelines.

Speaking after the match, Murty said: “The boys played well. Overall we shifted the ball really well, we integrated some senior players into the group and the young players stepped up their levels at times.

“But I’ve just said to the guys that they need to really finish the game off in the last 10 to 15 minutes and maintain that standard of play throughout, just to have a complete performance because other than the last 10 to 15 minutes I was ever so pleased.

We are asking Josh to play a slightly different position at the moment. We have asked him to play centre forward so he’s got a different challenge – and that challenge includes scoring goals as he did today.

“But he did other things really. He linked the game well, he stretched the game at times, so it was good for him to actually get into the scoring areas and then go and be ruthless and clinical which is pleasing for him.

“What we are trying to do is add different strings to his bow and he can do different things. He’s very good with the ball at his feet and I would consider him to have an elite-level of skill to go past people in one-v-one situations.

“But he is now learning when to deploy that and playing up front actually gives him a different look at the game. It means he can’t always receive to feet, he can’t always face people up and dribble, so he has to do different things.

“He has to play one touch, he has to go and link with the team behind him and he has to be a focal point for the team. That’s really good for his personal and overall development.

“Glenn has dropped in for the last couple of games for us and his attitude is top notch. Knowing him as I do for a long time you have no worries about his attitude, you know he is going to give you first-class work-rate but for him to get two goals is good for the team and for him individually.”

On the performances from Polster and Kamara, Murts continued: “They were really, really good in terms of their attitude, their application and their ability as well.

Our young players really benefitted from playing alongside them and they look as though they are going to get fitter and stronger when they get up to match pace with the first team.

“They are going to be really good additions in terms of play, in terms of integration, in terms of character – they were top drawer today.

“Gareth and Jon both also bring really good experience to the game and our young players can only benefit from playing alongside them as well. They look so assured and so calm, regardless of the pressure they are under.

“But aside from their playing attributes, the way they communicate, the way they organise, the way they understand and read the game – that’s all for our young guys to aspire to and as long as they can learn and continue to learn from those kind of players, this kind of game and exercise can only be good.”

RANGERS STARTING XI: Hogarth, Flanagan, Shiels, Kamara, McAuley, Finlayson, Kelly, Palmer, McPake, Polster, Middleton
SUBS: Kinnear, Burt, Patterson, Awokoya-Mebude, McKechnie, Balde, Williamson

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