Rangers fans have praised Kai Kennedy after the 17-year-old winger made his competitive Rangers debut in the 2-0 Scottish Cup victory over Stranraer on Friday night.
Steven Gerrard named a reasonably experimental XI against the League One opposition, making seven changes to the side who defeated Celtic at Parkhead in December.
There was a smattering of the best of the club’s youth talent in and around the squad, with the impressive Nathan Patterson starting at right-back, while Kennedy and centre-back, Lewis Mayo, were named on the bench.
There was to be no debut for Mayo, but Kennedy would experience a special Ibrox moment in the 81st minute, when he came on to replace Joe Aribo.
Clearly, with just nine minutes of normal time remaining after his introduction, the pacey wide player didn’t have much time to impact the game.
However, he did look lively in the closing stages, contributing a few nice touches, and coming close to a proper sight of goal.
His outing is hopefully more evidence of the club’s efforts to establish a pathway between the Academy and the first-team, with Kennedy a player who has moved through the ranks.
Before last night, he had impressed for both Rangers and Scotland at age-group level, starred for the Colts against senior opposition during their ongoing Challenge Cup run, travelled with the senior squad as 19th man for a Premiership clash against Hamilton and made a friendly appearance against Lokomotiv Tashkent.
There’s been a clear progression for the teenager, and he’s hoping that he can kick on from here, and become a valued player for Steven Gerrard a year or two from now.
Plenty of fans were pleased that Kennedy has made his breakthrough and were impressed by what they saw.
Here’s a selection of reactions from Twitter:
— Mark Fiorini (@SpinnerMcfc) January 17, 2020
Well done wee man, i did have Aribo anytime scorer mind you 😂
— AndyRFC (@AndyRFC1) January 17, 2020
We need to be seeing this every season. Great work from the youth academy.
— Terence ROLL (@roll_terence) January 18, 2020
Well done young fella. You’ve been skooshing it at the younger levels for a while now. Great to see you in amongst it tonight!!
— Rolica (@Rolica1) January 17, 2020