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Murty: We Want Billy To Stay

Billy Gilmour celebrates after grabbing his first goal for Rangers U20s in the 5-1 win over Falkirk in the Scottish FA Youth Cup
Jay Mansfield

Under 20s boss Graeme Murty has spoken of his hope that Billy Gilmour will stay at Rangers as speculation continues to grow about the 15-year-old midfielder’s future. Managing director Stewart Robertson confirmed a deal had been agreed in principle for the youngster to move to Chelsea however the Ibrox management team are still hopeful he will commit his future to the Gers.

Speaking ahead of today’s Development league fixture with Partick Thistle, Murty said: “Billy knows my thoughts and we have an open and ongoing dialogue. He knows my thoughts on the pathway to being a top player. I think there is a world of difference to pushing to play in the Rangers first-team compared to playing in a youth team elsewhere. The opportunities and speed of progression would be far greater here than anywhere else. But he has to weigh up his options and make the choice that is right for him.

“We will respect his decision but he knows we want him to stay. It’s a call he has to make for his own career. He doesn’t have to make it to try and please this football club, or the other clubs that are after him, he has to do it for him. If he thinks it is right he stays here and becomes the youngest player to get to 100 games for Rangers or whatever way he maps out his career, but it is a big decision for a 15-year-old.”

Since the appointment of Pedro Caixinha a number of the Development Squad have been involved in training with the first team and Murty believes this can only stand them in good stead as they continue their development, saying: “What has been great since the manager has come in is there has been Under-20 and 17s round training with the first-team. They have the opportunity to show the manager what they are about. On Friday we had five training with the first-team which is fantastic for them. Some of the younger ones went round and were excellent and I was full of praise for them because they handled it really well.

“They have had a sniff of it and hopefully it lights a fire in some of them to say ‘I’m going to get in front of Billy and get that shirt’. If it does that it creates a great atmosphere in our academy of friendly but intense competition which it has to be.”