“MAGNIFICENT” was Steven Gerrard’s assessment of Rangers’ under-18’s team-performance as they defeated Celtic 3-2 in last night’s Scottish FA Youth Cup.
The Light Blues were good value for their win at Hampden Park last night, with Nathan Young-Coombes’ winning goal bringing the trophy back to Ibrox for the first time since 2014.
Gerrard, along with Director of Football Mark Allen, assistant Gary McAllister and a number of the first-team squad were in attendance at the National Stadium, with the manager thrilled with what he saw, while he also revealed the next step for some of those players in their development.
“There are certainly plans to introduce them and launch them at some point,” he told today’s press conference, “and whether that will be in the final four games, we will have to wait and see.
“We have to take into consideration some of these are only 16 or 17 years of age.
“I thought the team performance last night was magnificent and that’s what impressed me the most. I thought from goalkeeper to Young-Coombes up front, every single one of them emptied it out there.
“I thought Celtic were terrific as well – coming out 2-0 down and showing great character. I thought it was a great advertisement for youth football in this country.
“There was an incredible amount of talent in both teams – great goals, great tackles and great patterns of play. I was just loving it and I thought it was a terrific night.
“The only shame is that it wasn’t a big support there. I thought we missed the chance to put a load of fans in there and give them a different type of experience playing in front of a big crowd.
“I understand the reasons, but I thought we should maybe have gone somewhere in the middle and given them a certain amount of tickets to both sets of fans to give them a better experience.”
Gerrard also called on the youngsters to get everything right off the pitch too, warning them their talent will not be the only reason if he includes them in his first-team.
He added: “If they are good enough, they will play. That is the most important message. This is a results business and if they are good enough and they show they are in better form or can do a better job than someone 10 years older than them, I’ll have no qualms or problems putting them in.
“But, I have said on many occasions, talent is not enough. It is important these young kids prepare themselves to have the right body so they are physically ready.
“They have to live for the game, eat the right stuff and live the game on and off the pitch correctly. Talent will only get them so far, but if they are ready from a physical and a mental point of view, then I know the talent is there and I have no qualms using them.”