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Bright future for Murray Park stars


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Success, in any field, was never achieved on the back of knee-jerk reactions. Careful planning and detailed strategies are usually the foundations on which triumphs are built.

It is a theory to which Walter Smith has subscribed for many years. Rarely does the Rangers manager deviate from Plan A. It took FBK Kaunas to forge into an 87th-minute lead on Tuesday night for Plan B to emerge. It involved throwing on Kris Boyd and Kyle Lafferty and lumping high hopeful balls in their direction. It was neither pretty nor effective.

Little wonder, then, that Smith prefers to stick with who and what he knows. Towards the end of last season, as Rangers' fixture list began to resemble that of a Major League baseball team, Smith kept squad rotation to a minimum. The temptation to introduce fringe players, Thomas Buffel, Alan Gow, Amdy Faye etc, to spare some of his tiring stars was largely resisted. Youth players were heard of but rarely seen, appearing for occasional crowd-pleasing cameos when then the pressure was off.

Now, with Rangers out of Europe and desperate for an injection of youthful vibrancy and creativity in the midfield, will Smith elect to depart from tradition and turn to his reserve and under-19 sides to try to salvage a desperate situation?

It is a risky strategy. It is one thing earning regular plaudits for your performances at youth level, quite another to be expected to do likewise every week in the first team. Exposing young, inexperienced players too often or too early to the rigours of professional football, could have long-term implications for a young player's confidence and morale.

Alternatively, they could thrive under the spotlight. Rangers, minus the injured Barry Ferguson and with Steven Davis no closer to making a permanent move from Fulham, are under-resourced in central midfield. With players such as John Fleck, Dean Furman, Andrew Shinnie, and Paul Emslie, it is an over-populated area in the youth teams at Murray Park.

Smith is a known admirer of Fleck, in particular, but is wary of thrusting a 16 year-old into a fire-fighting situation. It took until the dying embers of the last game of last season, as Rangers' fading title hopes were being fatally dashed by Aberdeen, for Smith to hand Fleck his league debut. Another outing then followed in the Scottish Cup final a week later, the midfielder becoming the youngest ever performer in the showcase event.

Fleck, despite his tender years, would seem to possess both the physical and mental capabilities to cope with the step-up. Stocky and strong, his ability to make driving runs deep into opposition territory, best exemplified by his late equalising goal in the SFA Youth Cup Final against Celtic earlier this year, is something Rangers are badly lacking.

Furman, by dint of being four years Fleck's senior, would seem a more likely candidate for instant promotion. A feisty midfielder who bears more than a passing resemblance to Frank Lampard, both in looks and playing style, Furman made his first-team debut against Dundee United at the end of last season and also featured against Liverpool at Ibrox last weekend.

The likes of Shinnie, Emslie, Rory Loy, Georgios Efrem, and Isa Bagci will all also be hoping the failings of the first-team, and reduced leverage in the transfer market, will present them with an opportunity to impress this season.

Billy Kirkwood, Rangers' under-19 coach, believes there is optimism for the future. "A couple of years ago the under-19s set a good standard and last year they did that as well and hopefully the youngsters we have coming through will continue to progress for many years to come," he said.

"There is encouragement for the future and, if and when they get their chance, they are ready to take it. There is a wee bit of an extra edge to being a Rangers or a Celtic player and we have to try to give them that."

http://www.theherald.co.uk/sport/headlines...Murray_Park.php

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Furman is 20 years old now so if he can't make it in the first team he shouldn't be hanging around Ibrox. It would make far more sense to play him in the midfield rather than a failed wing back in Christian Dailly.

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Where are we linked backed with hutton?

It was either posted on here or another forum. Someone who knows someone who knows someone else said Hutton isn't settled in London and wants to come back to Glasgow. This is contrary to things Hutton himself has said but you know how rumours go.

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Where are we linked backed with hutton?

It was either posted on here or another forum. Someone who knows someone who knows someone else said Hutton isn't settled in London and wants to come back to Glasgow. This is contrary to things Hutton himself has said but you know how rumours go.

He is out injured for at least 4 weeks anyway.

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