RANGERS under-18’s are preparing for their first Club Academy Scotland game of the season as they host Queen’s Park at the training centre this evening.
There have been a few changes over the break as a number of new players move into the 18’s age group, with Cameron Campbell joining the coaching set-up alongside David McCallum.
The Club Academy Scotland season had been delayed due to Coronavirus restrictions, but McCallum was impressed with the players’ attitude as they made the most of getting back on the training pitch .
Speaking to RangersTV ahead of the new season, he said: “I think the boys were desperate like any player to get back on the football pitch.
“The players didn't get that frustrated with not getting a game early on, there was almost a relief just to get back on the pitch and work together as a group and from that point of view it has been great.
“It is an exciting group to work with because it is a new group for the first time in a while.
“About 75 per cent is a new group of under-18's so I think there was an excitement from them to get back together. From our point of view it has been terrific to get them back on the pitch.”
Cameron Campbell joined the coaching staff in the summer and will be working alongside David with the under-18 group.
He feels they both complement each other which will help them continue to challenge the players.
Cameron said: “It's been really good, I would say I am quite inquisitive, and David is brilliant for that because I like to challenge loads of things and have those debates.
“I think every football coach is the same they want to challenge each other's point of view and some of the ideas have been good and some not so good but those conversations and challenges are so good not only for our growth but to challenge the players with something different as well so they get exposed to those different experiences.”
David has been impressed with the new group of players and their eagerness to learn from everyone at the club.
He continued: “Stepping into the first spell of full-time football is different for them and physically it can be quite challenging and mentally quite challenging because of the amount of time they are spending with us.
“They are just so keen to learn and get better and they are taking opportunities to use not just myself and Cameron, but the sports science team and the analysis team.
“I love the fact that they keep asking questions and don't wait for us to tell them.”
The club are set to be involved in the UEFA Youth League again this season, after qualifying through last season’s CAS league.
It will add to the variety of challenges ahead for the players.
Cameron said: “Every day is a challenge for them to get better because of who they play in training and the competitiveness is there. The CAS league is starting back up but we have been able to find friendlies just now to keep the boys involved and you want to play games.
David added: “We have shown over previous years that the club has gone a different route from normal going outwith the country and taking any challenge we can.
“It helps the players and staff develop in different environments. It is unique and we have to accept whatever opportunities we get to work with the players whether it is training or games.
“We grasp it and show that by the end of it we are better off from the experience.”