Rangers legend Derek Johnstone has told the Glasgow Evening Times that he was impressed with winger Serge Atakayi in the Gers Under-20's in their 2-1 defeat to Brighton.
Whilst the Rangers first team drew 2-2 at Partick Thistle on Friday evening, Ibrox youngsters were in action three nights earlier as they took on Brighton on Tuesday night.
Graeme Murty's side fell behind as Max Sanders put Brighton in front, and whilst Jamie Barjonas equalised for the Gers, Ryan Longman grabbed the winning goal for the Seagulls late in the day.
Now, Rangers legend Derek Johnstone has offered his verdict to Glasgow Evening Times, picking out a number of young players who caught the eye in the Gers team.
Johnstone praised back four Michael Hewitt, Lewis Mayo, Daniel Finlayson and Scott Gray for standing up against players older than them, whilst also assessing the displays of Andy Dallas, goalscorer Barjonas and striker Ryan Hardie.
Johnstone also claimed that winger Serge Atakayi was impressive, an encouraging sign for one of the most highly-rated young players in the Rangers setup right now.
“Michael Hewitt, Lewis Mayo, Daniel Finlayson and Scott Gray came in at the back and were playing against boys a few years older than them. They held their own,” said Johnstone. “On the wings, I was impressed with Serge Atakayi and Andy Dallas.”
“They are absolutely lightening quick and can cause teams problems and Jamie Barjonas got another goal from the middle of the park. Up front, Ryan Hardie had a couple of chances but couldn’t get on the score sheet. He has been up and down the levels a bit in the last few seasons but his time will come,” he added.
Atakaiy arrived from FF Jaro in September 2016 having previously been on trial with Premier League clubs, and impressive displays for the Under-20's is the best way to force himself into Pedro Caixinha's first-team plans.
The 18-year-old wide man is full of pace and trickery, and whilst he may not be defensively sound just yet, Atakayi has shown during his time in the Rangers youth team that he can conjure up moments of magic – something Rangers may need given their options out wide.
Daniel Candeias has impressed since signing, but Dalcio has done little since arriving on loan, and Joe Dodoo was loaned out to Charlton Athletic despite a lack of options in wide areas having missed out on top target Hearts star Jamie Walker.
Atakayi can now use that transfer miss to his advantage, showing what he can do the youth side in a bid to earn a call-up to the Rangers first-team squad this season if Caixinha looks for more pace going forward.
Atakayi doesn't even have to look far for a success story in coming from Finnish football to Ibrox given Alfredo Morelos' blistering start to life in Glasgow having joined Rangers from HJK Helsinki, and with Finnish coach Jonatan Johansson no doubt aware of what Atakayi can do, this may well be the season where the winger has a chance to step up.