ROSS WILSON has admitted securing the club’s top youth prospects on long-term deals was “high” on his level of priorities after being appointed Sporting Director.

Academy players Nathan Patterson, James Maxwell and Kieran Wright have put pen-to-paper on new deals over the weekend – with Wilson believing their commitment to be vitally important to the club for the future.

He told RangersTV: “As important as we said about Steven [Davis] and Allan [McGregor], it was really, really important for the future of the club that, one, we identify who our key players are within the Academy, and then look to commit their futures to Rangers going forward.

“I have been aware of all the players looking across the border from down south and aware of their abilities.

“It was something that was quite high on my radar and high on my agenda when I came here to make sure if we have some top, young prospects here, then we will look to make sure that their future lies at Rangers.

“I am pleased that on all three occasions, the players and their families were really, really keen to commit to Rangers for the long-term and we are delighted to have them here going forward.”

Wilson has been very impressed with the performances of the Academy sides this season – but stressed the priority is the development of individuals as opposed to team success.

He continued: “I think the mix of competitions the players are playing in is really interesting for us. We have got a domestic programme in place which is good for the players, of course.

“We have the European games programme which is also really, really good for us, and then some other initiatives running around that as well.

“We want to test the players as much as we possibly can in the ‘best v best’-type games programme, and the international games programme is really, really good for us, and the guys are rising to the occasion.

“The performances of individuals are strong, and that’s first and foremost, what it is about for us in the Academy. We want to look at the individuals rather than the teams – of course, we can see the teams are looking like they are successful, but the most important thing is the individuals for us, and we can see some really, really strong potential coming out there.”

With a decade of some considerable lows now coming to a close for Rangers, Wilson is looking ahead to the next decade with some real optimism of a much brighter future.

He added: “For sure. There is no doubt this has been an incredibly tough period for everyone associated with Rangers over this last decade.

“I join at a time where I feel there are strong foundations. I think I said in my first interview that I was joining a club that certainly wasn’t a shambles and there were certainly strong foundations for us to build upon.

“We have started to build upon a lot of those things, and I think it is an exciting future for Rangers – hopefully those dark times are behind us but we must make sure there is never any complacency here and we are constantly looking to see how we can push this club on and that is what we are all looking to do.”

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