Charlie McCann believes the route to first-team football at Rangers was shown in the 3-1 Premier Sports Cup win over Queen of the South at Ibrox on Tuesday night.
Boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst changed the whole team from the one which started the 4-0 win over Ross County in the cinch Premiership at the weekend, with 18-year-old striker Robbie Ure making a scoring debut in a side which also included 18-year-old Leon King and 19-year-old fellow defender Adam Devine.
Midfielder McCann, 20, who signed from Manchester United in 2021, came on as a second-half substitute for his fifth appearance for the Light Blues in a game where a Scott Arfield double helped Rangers into the quarter-final draw, with Zak Lovelace, Paul Nsio and Archie Stevens, all 16, making their debuts off the bench.
McCann said: “For all the B team lads and the (under) 18 lads it just shows them there is a clear pathway to the first team and the boss will give us opportunities. I think that is definitely the message.
“So it is obviously a really positive thing to be a young player at this club at the moment.
“If we get our opportunities and do well then hopefully we get more and that’s definitely what I am striving for anyway.
“It is obviously a positive thing to be able to go out there at Ibrox and get a kick of the ball.
“It was a good opportunity for the boss to give a run out to people who haven’t had the minutes.
“To get the win and get through to the next round is the main objective.
“We probably made it a little bit tighter than we needed to but we got through and that’s all that matters.”
Van Bronckhorst, who now turns his attention to the Old Firm derby against Celtic at Parkhead on Saturday when Rangers will look to claw back a two-point deficit at the top of the table, was “really happy with the performances of the young players” against the League One side.
He said: “It is not easy to come into games like that. They heard [on Monday] they would be involved in the game and I spoke with them about the match and giving them minutes.
“I think you saw some bright things from Stevens, and Nsio is a strong midfielder, both only 16.
“Lovelace is a young player as well and big talent, and Ure, of course, started the game.
“We had Leon King and Adam Devine, who are both still very young, so I think the academy is the big part for this club. I just love working with them to inspire them and give them chances to play.”