MARK WARBURTON insists there will always be a clear pathway for young players to push into the Rangers first team – but they have to prove they are good enough.
The manager is a big fan of developing homegrown talent and giving exciting teenagers a platform to realise their dreams of becoming senior pros.
Under-20s midfielder Liam Burt is one such player who has recently been named on the first-team bench and Warburton hopes he, and others, can grab their opportunity with both hands when they take the next step in their careers with the Light Blues.
He said: “Yeah they have to take their chance but they are young guys, they have highs and lows and their bodies are changing and they are getting used to the demands up at Murray Park here.
“Jordan Thompson who is 18 and Ryan Hardie who is 18, they have been regulars on the bench and getting pitch time so credit to them.
“But the likes of Liam Burt, Ross McCrorie and all these guys coming through, they can see a pathway and as long as they can see a pathway into the first team then all is well.
The worst thing in the world is a glass ceiling where there is no progress being made by the young boys.
“So Craig [Mulholland] and his staff here are doing great work in the Academy and we have to make sure that the quality is right.
“It’s great to say ‘a local boy coming through’, but he has to be good enough to impact Rangers and play for the first team.
“So get the balance right, make the pathway clear, challenge them appropriately and hopefully get the right reward.
“I think supporters will always be more patient with one of their own, with a homegrown player, absolutely. They want more, if you look around the country you can see that.
“But don’t forget they have to be good enough, it can’t be a sympathy vote. They have to come in and they have to learn and learn from their mistakes as we all do, and move forward.
“They’ve got to have natural ability, but I want them to have the hunger and the desire to play for Rangers. They’ve got to enjoy it, pulling a blue jersey on, and make an impression.
“Playing in front of 50,000, that is the aim. All the work day in day out is geared towards that performance so if we can get that right we’ll be in a good place.”