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Rangers' young players can impress at Hampden against Queen's Park, says Andy Walker

Andy Walker - Andy Walker Posted 26th December 2012 view comments

What an extraordinary year 2012 has been for Rangers.

When Sir David Murray sold the club to Craig Whyte for £1, surely no one could have foreseen the carnage that was about to unfold for a mighty institution?

Whyte deliberately withheld NI and PAYE contributions, put people's jobs at risk and led the club into administration before eventually the nightmare scenario of liquidation loomed.

Wise old head: McCulloch is the senior figure in a youthful Rangers side

Wise old head: McCulloch is the senior figure in a youthful Rangers side

The bitterness and resentment that ensued between SPL and SFL clubs as to what was the best solution for all concerned still lingers to this day and will stay with us for some time.

But the reality is that Rangers are now in the bottom tier of Scottish football trying to work their way back to the top again.

It's important that Rangers' players grasp this unexpected opportunity to play for a big club, albeit in the very modest surroundings of Third Division football.

Andy Walker
Quotes of the week

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After a stuttering and stumbling start to life in the Irn Bru Third Division, Ally McCoist's side are stretching away from the rest for what looks set to be a guaranteed promotion.

Flying

International-class players like Steven Naismith, Alan McGregor and Kyle Lafferty all chose to leave Ibrox over the summer.

But the one benefit for the strong army of Rangers fans who continue to follow their club is that they are now seeing a growing number of home-grown players trying to make their mark.

Barry McKay, Chris Hegarty and Lewis McLeod are just a few young players who have played more games at senior level than they would have expected had Rangers still been flying high in the SPL.

It's important that these players grasp this unexpected opportunity to play for a big club, albeit in the very modest surroundings of Third Division football.

Having said that, Queen's Park play all their games at the home of Scottish football and there will be no excuses of poor facilities when the players head to Hampden for Saturday's live clash on Sky.

In October a crowd of close to 50,000 at Ibrox - a remarkable attendance for a Third Division game - saw Rangers see of the amateurs of Queen's Park 2-0.

In recent weeks the Ibrox club have been scoring freely and it's fair to say that the change in first team personnel has brought the type of inconsistency that you often associate with young players.

But these young men are slowly feeling their way and taking their time to understand how to come to terms with the demands of playing for Rangers.

Against Elgin City in the Scottish Cup a few weeks ago, McKay was the standout player and if he can continue that vein of form, he will have a big future at the club as Rangers work their way back through the leagues.

Career

Queen's Park are unique in Scottish football.

Their amateur status is in complete contrast to the facilities they enjoy from week to week and like Rangers, they have plenty of players looking for a career in the game.

Andrew Robertson played well at Ibrox when the clubs first met and missed a terrific chance to equalise before Lee McCulloch scored his second of the game.

McCulloch has played a captain's part this season with 20 goals already but more importantly he looks eager to pass on his vast experience to guys half his age.

I'm expecting Rangers to win comfortably and get to a level of performance that will enable McCoist to put out a side capable of taking on the experience of Dundee United in the Scottish Cup early next month.

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