Rangers Academy boss Craig Mulholland has opened up on tomorrow’s UEFA Youth League playoff clash with Atletico Madrid – and admits that the Colts “keep rising” to every challenge put in front of them.
Mulholland knows facing the Spanish giants will be a “massive test” for Graeme Murty’s side but is confident the young Gers are more than ready for the Firhill clash.
The Gers have already beaten Young Boys and Slovan Bratislava so far – and Mulholland wants them to go out and prove they are just as good as their Spanish opposition.
“It’s a massive test,” Mulholland told Rangers TV.
“I think we already know Atletico have got seven or eight Spanish internationals who will start the game. They play with a very similar style to their first-team, which is obviously well-known as well, but this is what we want.
“We want to test them. We came through the Young Boys test and did well with that, we came through the Bratislava test and done well with that too. You look at the performance in the Challenge Cup. The more tests we keep throwing these young players, they keep rising to it.
“We’re now at the bit where we want to go and win the games. It’s not just about the challenge, it’s not just about development – which is always going to be the priority in an Academy – but when you’re close to it, they want to go to Firhill on Wednesday, make sure there’s a good crowd there, and show that they can represent themselves well and show they can be as good as their Spanish counterparts.”
With the game against Atleti being a one-off, the Colts will need to be at it from the start against the Spanish giants.
Getting through to the last 16 would be a fantastic achievement for the Light Blues in their debut in UEFA’s elite youth competition after coming through the domestic champions pathway.
With some of the biggest names in Europe awaiting in the next round, it would give the Rangers starlets another massive test as they look to force their way into the first-team plans at Ibrox.