Ahead of last night’s trip to Stranraer in the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Cup, Graeme Murty suggested he’d been impressed by one of the club’s exciting teenage prospects [Rangers.co.uk].
After the first round victory away at Berwick Rangers, 16-year-old McKinnon spoke of his delight at appearing as a substitute [Rangers.co.uk].
🗣️“It was very good to come on in the game and it lets my experience build up and hopefully get more games in this cup."
16-year-old Cole McKinnon hopes he can break into the Reserve side after coming on in last night's cup game.
— Rangers Youth Academy (@RFC_Youth) August 7, 2019
He went on to discuss his short-term aims, admitting that he intended on putting in the hard yards in an attempt to take an established Reserve team player’s shirt.
That ambition and frankness went down well with the coaching staff.
Rangers coach Murty praises McKinnon
“I was really interested in Cole McKinnon’s interview last week talking about getting a shirt and wanting to get more Reserve appearances and that is what it is about,” said the coach, as quoted by Rangers.co.uk.
“Don’t ever be content with what you have got so far, so you are a Rangers development squad player that’s great but what’s next, how do you get to the next step and what is driving you to get to the next step.”
There are impressive noises coming out of Rangers’ flourishing academy system with regularity these days. From the U16s to the Colts team, the club is experiencing success at all age-groups.
Clearly, the end goal is to produce senior first-team stars. Ross McCrorie, currently on loan at Portsmouth, is an example of a success story, while both Dapo Mebude and Josh McPake made their debuts in recent months.
Yet, the jump from age-group to Reserves or Colts football isn’t often discussed. It’s the rung down from the first team and a mixture of ages are involved. Naturally, not everyone from your year will make the cut and it’s about standing out from the crowd to ensure that you are retained by the club.
16-year-old McKinnon recognises that and made no bones about his ambitions to take another player’s shirt this season.
It’s the sort of thing that’s right up Murty’s street. He’s continually trying to drive standards and he recognises that hunger is key for young players if they are to progress through the ranks at the club.
Unfortunately, there was no place for McKinnon in the strong Colts side that defeated Stranraer on Tuesday evening. Yet, it’s clear his recent interview has won him some brownie points going forward.