PEDRO CAIXINHA has urged promising young players at Rangers to follow in Ross McCrorie’s footsteps and force their way into his first-team plans.
McCrorie has started the club’s last two Premiership games against Celtic and Hamilton after making his senior debut for the Light Blues as a substitute against Partick Thistle on September 19.
The 19-year-old’s recent promotion and impressive defensive displays have highlighted the excellent work being put in by the youth coaches at Auchenhowie as they try to prepare the next group of rising stars for the challenges that come with top team football.
That was again evident again on Saturday as Graeme Murty’s Development Squad – which included Kenny Miller, Dalcio and Aaron Nemane – comfortably beat a Brentford B side 5-2.
A hat-trick from 20-year-old striker Ryan Hardie and goals from Nemane and Jamie Barjonas helped Rangers record an impressive win at the Bees’ training ground.
Caixinha received a lot of positive feedback from the 90 minutes and several of the youngsters involved against Brentford could now feature in a behind closed doors first-team game against Morton at The Rangers Training Centre on Saturday morning.
The manager, speaking to RangersTV, said: “Yeah, we got a lot of positives, it was good for them and it helped the boys to get that rhythm.
“But also to follow some of the young players that now, because we have some of our players from the first-team squad out, they are playing with us and they are training with us so it’s great.
I think Ross [McCrorie] opened the door again for those players and understood the conversation we had with them at the beginning of the season, when we said, ‘we are having a look at you, keep working, we are going to call you when we have the need for players in your position because we know and we trust you and if there are circumstances when we need to place you in the first eleven or with the substitutes and give you the chance, we are going to give you it.’
“That’s what we are living in this moment. [Jamie] Barjonas is a player we already know and Aidan [Wilson] is another, so he is going to get 105 minutes against Morton because we will play three periods of 35 minutes on Saturday.
“This is what we want in terms of the relation with the under-20s and we want to go deeper with the under-17s as well.
“We want to work on the same wavelength, under the same methodology, under the same concepts, under the same structures or formations and under the same vision and ideas.
“At the moment we don’t have it in a global way but we have it at least individually by the characteristics of the players and that’s what we are taking advantage of. We’ll give a chance to the players who have the potential to be with us.”
The manager hopes his senior squad can build on the 4-1 Premiership victory over Hamilton on Monday when they face Jim Duffy’s Morton this weekend.
He added: “In the attacking way we are doing okay, we are scoring goals and we want to keep that, but we want to add more value in our defensive moments as a team, by association of lines and of course as a block.
“So I want to see results from that on Saturday in order for us to understand that it is very important to protect your goal without conceding.”