As Rangers kicked off pre-season with a 1-0 win over Partick Thistle, more than a few youngsters got their chance to impress.

The Ibrox side started with an unfamiliar XI as the club gave opportunities to a host of young first-teamers on the fringes of the first-team squad.

Rangers Dundee United v Ross County - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership

Stephen Kelly impressed on loan at Ross County last season. (Photo by Ross MacDonald/SNS Group via Getty Images)

But as half-time saw the introduction of a familiar selection of players, it was one Ibrox Academy youngster who came on alongside them who grabbed the plaudits of Rangers fans.

Midfielder Stephen Kelly, 21, is back at Ibrox after having spent last season on loan at Scottish Premiership Ross County.

RONALDO NEEDS TO STOP WHINING.

Kelly very much impressed at the Staggies and this followed on from a successful loan spell in the Championship with Ayr United.

Starring in midfield alongside Ulster maestro Steven Davis, it’s telling that on a pitch full of first-teamers that Kelly’s composure and ability stood out to fans.

There are now plenty calling for Ibrox chiefs to let this “great wee player” join the ranks of the Gers first team this season:

It wasn’t just Rangers fans who were praising Kelly come full-time either as assistant manager Gary McAllister reserved special praise of the talented youngster.

“Stephen Kelly did fantastically well,” said McAllister [RangersTV].

“Stephen’s progressed really well, he’s had a couple of good loans, he’s gone out and impressed every team he’s gone to.

“I think he warranted that tonight, in amongst some senior players and some top international players he was very competent.”

The starting XI for the match with Partick Thistle certainly turned a few heads as more than a few Rangers fans reacted to a number of surprise inclusions.

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