LIAM BURT was handed his first top-flight appearance in Saturday’s win over Hearts at Ibrox Stadium, and Mark Warburton is keen to give more young players their chance – so long as they are good enough.

Burt was a late replacement for Barrie McKay and received a warm welcome from the home support, and Warburton is keen for the players in the Rangers Academy to see there is a route to his first team if they perform.

Speaking to RangersTV.tv, he explained:  “We all want young players, and fans will respond to home-grown talent. We want to give them the best chance, and our job as a club is to give them an opportunity. The key thing is though, they have to be good enough.

“It’s not a pat on the back gesture, they have to be good enough, and the role of an Academy at any club is to produce players armed with the attributes to impact at first-team level. If that doesn’t happen, then why do we have an Academy?

“We have a really strong relationship with Craig [Mulholland] and his staff and the boys there. They are working hard to improve the quality of challenge for the young boys coming through, but if the boys do well, they have got to know there is a pathway there.

“We challenge them to do well, and if they do well, we need to make sure they get that smell of success.”

Two exceptionally young under-20s teams took on Hearts and Dundee last week – and won both games 5-2 and 3-0 respectively with two terrific performances.

Warburton took in the Dundee game and was mightily impressed with the display from his side.

He explained: “It’s great credit to Craig, Graeme [Murty] and the coaching staff. They are working hard, and I was really pleased with the 20s game last week against Dundee.

“I enjoyed the game – which for me was the best under-20s game of the season by far. They dominated that game from start to finish, moved the ball well, created chances, got together as a team and pressed as a team.

“So, credit to the coaching staff, Graeme and Craig are working tirelessly, but the boys must see the rewards. There is no glass ceiling, if they do well, they will see a pathway to the first team.”

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