Young Gers are tipped for big things after Seaview victory
Crusaders 1 Rangers XI 5
Rangers coach Graeme Murty and Ibrox legend Mark Hateley have predicted a bright future for the club after the Glasgow side's young guns blasted Crusaders 5-1 at Seaview on Saturday.
A young Rangers side showcased their silky skills on the Shore Road in tribute to Crues midfielder Declan Caddell in a testimonial match honouring his 12 years with the club.
Arron Lyall, who is only 15-years-old, scored for the development side along with Glenn Middleton, Josh McPake, Andrew Dallas and Serge Atakayi.
McPake, Jamie Barjonas and Dapo Mebude have all been involved with the first team so far this summer.
Crusaders opened the scoring through Tom Mathieson, nephew of former Glentoran favourite Andy, but it was the Gers' rising stars who stole the show.
Murty insists Gers boss Steven Gerrard has created a pathway to the first team and it's up to the youngsters to keep developing.
"Working with Steven has been very good," said Murty.
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"He's been open with the guys and it's challenging for the young players.
"He's told them if they're good enough they will be selected. These players have been training with the first team and the manager is watching their progress. They can't ask for any more.
"He's giving them the opportunity and they need to impress him.
"They have to be better than some of our established players in the first team.
"That's how football works and they can't say they haven't had the opportunity.
"The challenge and the test for the boys is to keep improving.
"We have a good, strong first team and these guys have to force themselves into the reckoning. Rangers fans around the world are getting to know the players and they have a brilliant chance of making the first team but nothing is ever given to you and it shouldn't be.
"At a club like ours you have to be excellent all the time.
"I think the club is in a really good position. We have spent money and recruited really well.
"We hope we can enjoy a successful season and push on.
"We have to make sure we continue to respect the history of the club, this club is built on success. We don't just want to win trophies, but to always get stronger."
Club legend Hateley is excited by the next generation of stars at Ibrox.
"In general, this is a good group of players but they need to stay grounded," said Hateley.
"It's about keeping them level headed and working hard for one another.
"Steven came through the youth ranks at Liverpool and he's opened a pathway for the young players to express themselves.
"They can make a name for themselves in all the age groups.
"They are playing against good opposition so it's not as big a step up into the first team.
"If the team is winning comfortably, that shows the players are progressing."
Meanwhile, the Light Blues defeated Marseille in a friendly at Ibrox yesterday.
Daniel Candeias' double gave the Gers a 2-0 half-time lead and further goals from Connor Goldson and Jermain Defoe sealed the comfortable win.