Key Ibrox figure explains Rangers fans' 'fundamental' role in developing stars
Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Key Ibrox figure explains Rangers fans' 'fundamental' role in developing stars

Rangers Academy boss Craig Mulholland has thanked the Gers fans for their support over the season as he insisted that it plays a “fundamental” part in their development.

The B ended their maiden Lowland League campaign sitting third in the table and hosted Old Firm rivals in front of 9,000 fans at Ibrox before playing at Parkhead in front of thousands as well.

Mulholland believes such experience is vital in helping prepare youngsters for the Rangers first-team as he praised the mentality shown by the players on the day.

“We’re ultimately trying to prepare our players for a Rangers first team, even the ones that don’t make it here will have careers elsewhere,” Mulholland said [Rangers TV].

“To play in front of 9,000 fans at Ibrox, there was a pressure on them that we can’t replicate when we play at a training ground.

“To then go to Parkhead and play in front of an away crowd only, that was intimidating for them. What pleased me was not just the technical or tactical parts, but also the mentality of the boys and how they went and handled that situation.

“It means when they do transition into a first-team, they take that mentality with them.

“I can only thank the Rangers fans; they play a fundamental part in the development of these players when they turn up – that has been massive for us and something that we need to continually try and replicate season on season.”

The likes of Alex Lowry, Charlie McCann and Leon King were regular members of the B team last season before stepping up to the senior side.

All three are likely to have roles to play and Mulholland will be hoping there are plenty more to follow them into the first-team squad.

Mulholland insists short-term success can’t be main aim for Rangers Academy

While the young Gers teams have enjoyed plenty of success in reason season, Mulholland insisted that will never be the primary focus – with ensuring players are ready for the first team being their main goal.

The Rangers Academy chief was delighted to see the Gers sides pick up silverware like the Scottish FA Youth Cup and the Glasgow Cup.

Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

“We will never say to a player that when they play for Rangers at any level that they shouldn’t win the game and the minute that they put on that blue jersey they must understand that we’re a club that wins trophies,” he added.

“However, from an Academy point of view, we will never internally amongst the staff prioritise that. If we have the best players, play with a Rangers game model, and develop talent then we should win trophies.

“It was great to see the U18s at Hampden [last season] and the B team lift the Glasgow Cup, but for us the wins will always be the players to the first team and the process that underpins their development.”

In other news, Rangers confirm two more pre-season friendlies as West Ham head for Ibrox

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