ROBBIE Crawford has urged Rangers manager Ally McCoist to keep faith with his youngsters next season.
East Stirlingshire 2 - 4 Rangers
Scorers: E.S. - Quinn 22, pen 50; Rangers - Crawford 6, Templeton 45, 79, Black 65
Referee: B Cook
The 20-year-old midfielder is one of a number of youthful players who have been thrust into the top team this term after the club’s demotion to the Irn-Bru Third Division. A transfer embargo means McCoist can only register free agents from 1 September, but the manager has made no secret of his desire to recruit a number of players.
However, Crawford hopes the Murray Park graduates have shown enough potential to remain in his thoughts for the new campaign. He said: “We have learned a lot. It’s our first year at first-team level and I think a lot of the younger boys have coped well. Hopefully the manager sees us in his plans.”
Crawford did his own chances no harm with the opening goal in Saturday’s 4-2 win over East Stirling, rifling home an Andy Little cross.
He said: “I scored a couple in the reserve game during the week so I was feeling pretty confident in front of goal. It was a good ball from Andy Little and I just tucked it away.”
David Templeton netted a double, the first a delightful curling free kick, and Ian Black was also on the scoresheet but Shire – who had Kevin Turner sent off – made life difficult for Rangers as Paul Quinn claimed a brace of his own.
Crawford added: “I was delighted we got the victory in the end. We thought the first goal would calm us down. We struggled a bit but then, when they had a man sent off and tired, I thought we played some good football towards the end. I was happy to get the win.”
The match at Ochilview was the last away game in the Third Division for Rangers. Crawford said: “It’s definitely been an experience, not just for the younger boys but the older ones too.
“I think we’ve learned a lot and hopefully we can take it into next season, which will be similar again. We had a couple of draws at the start of the season and I think it was just that we didn’t know what to expect. Since then we have coped well and got some wins.”
The youngster is now relishing the prospect of getting his hands on the Third Division trophy at Ibrox this coming Saturday when Rangers host Berwick in the last game of the season.
He said: “It’s what we have been working hard for all season and it will be a great feeling getting my first trophy at first-team level. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s not been easy at all and no one would say it has been. We are going to celebrate it as though we deserve it – which we do.”
As is the norm these days, there was more off-field developments at Rangers at the weekend, with confirmation coming that commercial director Imran Ahmad has left the club.
Ahmad’s departure follows accusations that he had posted critical messages about McCoist and former manager Walter Smith on a fans’ website. Ahmad and former chief executive Charles Green have also been reported to the Serious Fraud Office over allegations about last year’s takeover. The pair were already the subject of a club probe about their consortium’s links with former owner Craig Whyte.