It may have flown under the radar after a sensational 3-1 win, but who is young substitute Stephen Kelly who Stephen Gerrard promoted to the bench last night?
The young Scottish midfielder was a surprise sub in the victory over Slovenian league leaders Maribor. Despite not getting on, the evening would’ve been a huge occasion for the youngster.
Kelly has risen through the ranks at Murray Park. At just 18-years old, he’s already tasting European atmospheres at Ibrox on pitch-side.
The youngster has been a mainstay in the under-20s side, playing games against the likes of PSV Eindhoven, Liverpool, and Manchester City for the youths.
Kelly has also been starring for young Scottish sides in the past. Having represented Scotland up to under-17 level, the 18-year-old midfielder has a high-level of experience at such a young age. However, he did miss the cut to be part of Scotland’s European Championship side last year.
Kelly has impressed in the new Academy Games programme Rangers are taking part in. He also seems to be something of a goal scorer from midfield. In big games with the 20s, Kelly has netted against Manchester United, Manchester City, and Bayern Munich.
Kelly has risen to the first-team squad with a style of play that suits Gerrard’s side. This has made him an unexpected member of first-team affairs on occasion, with no signs of his progress stalling.
Many Rangers fans also may not know that Kelly was with the squad on their preseason tour to Marbella. Gerrard clearly has high hopes for the midfielder, and seems keen to get more youngsters involved in the squad.
This is a long-term project that will be developed. However, after starring against the best youngsters in the world, Kelly clearly has a big part to play for Gerrard.