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Colts look to advance in Irn Bru Cup

Rangers U20 side continue their defence of the Challenge Cup won by the first team last season. GTBFO looks ahead to tonight’s second round tie with Stenhousemuir

James Black/GTBFO

Billy Kirkwood will be hoping his side can continue their impressive start to the season with a win over Stenhousemuir. A 4-0 win last week over Stirling University booked the young Gers’ place in the second round with SPFL opposition this round the Colts will face a far tougher challenge.

Having just returned from the Copa Del Agatha in Holland, Kirkwood’s young side will face up against a Stenhousemuir side who have lost all six of their competitive games so far this season. A Rangers win could set up an Old Firm clash in the third round; with Celtic and Rangers the only Colt sides left in the tournament, and the potential of a later draw against one of the Welsh or Northern Irish clubs in the competition.

First team boss Mark Warburton feels the introduction of colt sides into senior competitions can have a boost to the player’s development. Speaking to RangersTV he said: “They need a competitive challenge, they have to understand what it means to lose a game of football or to win a game, what’s at stake and hopefully they can benefit from that.“I hope them playing in this competition accelerates their education; it is all about transition from where they are to the first team.

“Too many times you watch under 20 games up north or under 21 games down south where there is no real competitive or physical challenge.“They are technically outstanding but a million miles away from first-team football, so we have to close that gap and to do that we have to offer them a challenge.

Jordan Thompson and Ryan Hardie could feature again after playing for their respective loan clubs at the weekend while David Bates could take his Rangers bow after being an unused substitute in the last two first team games.

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