Untried Rangers youngster Lewis Budinauckas has been spotted in Rangers first-team training ahead of Sunday’s Premiership fixture against Hibernian [Rangers.co.uk].
The Gers are set to take on the Hibees at Ibrox in a 3pm kick-off in the first of their post-split fixtures.
With 55 already secured, the priority is now the Scottish Cup but there’s still plenty to play for in the league, with Steven Gerrard’s side only five games away from an unbeaten season.
As a result, the upcoming fixture will be taken extremely seriously. Yet, it doesn’t seem to have stopped the manager from giving a youngster a big opportunity to impress as preparations for the weekend are ramped up.
A number of teenage prospects like Leon King and Ciaran Dickson have trained extensively with the first team this season, while young keepers Jay Hogarth and Brian Kinnear have both been involved occasionally.
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Now, Budinauckas can be added to the list.
The 18-year-old keeper, who is under contract until the summer of 2022, headed out of Ibrox on what was due to be a season-long loan deal in October, joining Civil Service Strollers.
He made a number of appearances for the Lowland League outfit but their season was ultimately cut short.
A decision was recently taken to decide the final table on a points per game basis, with the Strollers finishing eleventh, but the last of their 14 fixtures came way back in January, with training suspended since then too.
Therefore, Budinauckas will likely be extra appreciative of the opportunity he’s been given this week to showcase his skills whilst working alongside established first-team keepers Allan McGregor and Jon McLaughlin.
The teenager played in four UEFA Youth League matches last season, keeping a clean sheet in a home victory against Slovan Bratislava, while he was the hero for the Colts in their penalty shootout win over Solihull Moors in the Last 16 of the Challenge Cup.
The Gers are remarkably well-stocked in the goalkeeping department right now, with Allan McGregor, Jon McLaughlin, Andy Firth, Robby McCrorie, Brian Kinnear, Nicky Hogarth, Jay Hogarth and Kieran Wright all also under contract.
Meanwhile, Rangers are set to ‘host an event at Westminster’ following an intriguing update from an MP.