THE ceremonial breaking of the ground on the new Academy stand took place yesterday afternoon at the Hummel Training Centre.

Joining Rangers’ Head of Academy Craig Mulholland were under-15s player Darren McInally, under-13s youngster Kerr Robertson and members of the Rangers Fans Fighting Fund, led by their Chairman Andrew McCormack.

It has been a long journey to this stage for the RFFF, who were formed initially to help the club during administration in 2012, with McCormack explaining: “A group of us were approached by the late, great Sandy Jardine with this concept of calling on the fans to help assist in probably the darkest hour of the club’s history.

“From that, through many, many fans’ efforts from across the globe, we raised substantial funds. It was a very, very significant sum of money which was put to many varied uses.

“We stand here today and we are very pleased with the fact we have secured a facility for the youth that will be a legacy the Rangers Fans Fighting Fund and all the fans who have contributed to it can come along and look at with some pride.”

As well as the support of the RFFF, a contribution has also been made by the Scottish Football Partnership.

For Mulholland, it’s more than just a stand, with the additional facilities being created allowing even more kids to come through the gates of the Hummel Training Centre every week.

“There have been a lot of people who have put a lot of work into it,” he began, “mostly the Rangers Fans Fighting Fund, and we are very, very grateful for their support and the support of the fans to get us here.

“I think from a football perspective, the biggest thing is to make sure we get more players in the building more often, and the new dressing rooms and education suite will do that.

“I think the biggest purpose of it is to make sure that we can get our teams training more regularly, and to do that, we will need bigger facilities.

“We have five pitches here, but only four dressing rooms. So eight dressing rooms will mean we get more teams in more often, and the more they have a ball at their feet, the better Rangers players they will become.”

Of course, those who will benefit the most from the fantastic new facilities will be the club’s young Academy stars of the future, with under-13 player Kerr Robertson adding: “It will be good. It is a good facility we have anyway, but it will be better and the stand will stand out and it will be good.”

While under-15 Darren McInally said: “I am looking forward to it quite a lot as it will improve my experience at Rangers. I think I have learned quite a lot since I have been here from good coaches and it has helped me a lot. I would love to become a Rangers First Team player.”

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