Craig Mulholland explains how Rangers are planning for the future

Rangers' Barrie McKay

The Gers are thinking long-term ahead of their top flight return.

Rangers fans display a banner

Next season sees the long-awaited return of Rangers to the SPL and while improving the first-team is the priority this summer, attention is being paid to the ongoing production of talent at Murray Park.

The emergence of Barrie McKay last term, and the high hopes around the likes of Ryan Hardie and Jack Thomson, has highlighted the value of an effective academy and steps are being taken at Ibrox to maintain and further enhance their production line.

Andy Halliday celebrates with Kenny Miller after scoring the second goal for RangersAndy Halliday celebrates with Kenny Miller after scoring the second goal for Rangers

Academy boss Craig Mulholland has revealed the club's future plans for widening their exposure to young talent in an interview with the club’s official site.

“We are trying a range of new initiatives, we have tried bio-banding and now we’re holding open trials,” he said.

“They do it at the likes of Ajax and other successful clubs. Effectively you open the training ground for a day for players at Under 10 level and it will be all levels and abilities.

Tottenham's Harry Kane applauds fans after the gameTottenham's Harry Kane applauds fans after the game

Mulholland also mentioned taking a leaf out of Tottenham’s book, a club with which Rangers are seemingly building a substantial link with and who have shown more than most how powerful an asset a strong academy can be - producing arguably the world’s most valuable young talent in Harry Kane.

“We are also going to do things like Tottenham do which is a bring a friend day,” he added. “We ask all the players to bring a friend along who can play and Spurs sign four players a year from that.”

Rangers manager Mark Warburton (R) and Hibernian manager Alan Stubbs

“We have some super players in the academy right now but we are always looking for better. We will still do the traditional scouting on the side of the pitch but what we’re trying to do is make it a bit more innovative to make sure we get the best players to come to Rangers.”

The financial reality of Scottish football makes investment in academies crucial for the likes of Rangers and Celtic if they want to guarantee a reliable flow of talented players and these latest innovations at Ibrox seem like a sensible way to ensure that happens.

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