Kids are seen as well as heard at Rangers with Halkett next colt to make presence felt

THE SPFL League One title may be wrapped up and the clock ticking down to the end of the season, but ambitions and dreams have still to be realised at Ibrox.

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Craig Halkett received his Scotland Under-19 debut against Switzerland earlier this month after making progress at Rangers
Craig Halkett received his Scotland Under-19 debut against Switzerland earlier this month after making progress at Rangers

Going through the entire 36-game campaign unbeaten remains the objective for Ally McCoist's side before they turn their attentions to the Championship and begin their bid for a third successive title success.

The culmination of this season's efforts will see McCoist's stars get a well-earned break for their endeavours this term but there are still players within the Murray Park dressing room eager to impress and with a point to prove.

The Gers boss has confirmed his intention to give the best of his Ibrox protégés the chance to shine in the closing weeks of the campaign, with forward Calum Gallagher the first to benefit as he has shone in the wins over Dunfermline and Albion Rovers in recent days.

It is not just McCoist's side that have impressed in Light Blue this term, with Gordon Durie's Under-20 squad also well in the hunt for league and cup success this season.

And defender Craig Halkett hopes he will be the next starlet to rise through the ranks and get the chance to catch the eye.

"Hopefully when there are a few games to go I will maybe get a chance to play," he told SportTimes.

"Luca Gasparotto came in last year and played well when he got his chance so hopefully I can impress and do the same this season. It would be great to make my debut.

"Myself and Luca get on well, we have played together a lot this season and it is good to see him playing well.

"At the end of the day, we both want to play and are both looking to get in the first team.

"I just need to keep going and keep working hard and hopefully if I get a shot I can take it with both hands."

Just hours after McCoist's side booked their place in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals with victory over Albion Rovers this week, Halkett was taking to the field for Durie's side in a league clash against Inverness Caley Thistle.

The Gers kids are also in the last four of their cup competition and have turned in a series of impressive performances under the watchful eye of McCoist's former striking partner.

Rangers may still not have their problems to seek at boardroom level as the off-field machinations continue at Ibrox but progress has been positive on the park at all levels.

Halkett said: "It has been a really good season with the Under-20s so far and I am looking to break into the first team now.

"I have been on the bench a couple of times and been in the squad so I am just looking to stick in and do my best.

"The whole club is looking to push forward. It has been a really good season for the first team and the 20s still have the Youth Cup as well as the league so it has been a good year for us so far.

"I feel I have progressed a lot playing for the 20s and I have started getting in and around the first team as well.

"That didn't happen last year so I am playing and training with better players this season."

It is not just in Light Blue where Halkett has grown his burgeoning reputation this term, with the defender making his debut for the Scotland Under-19s against Switzerland earlier this month.

A second call-up to the squad for the friendly with Serbia in April is on the stopper's agenda but it is at Ibrox where his focus lies.

Boss McCoist has already shown his willingness to promote his most promising kids into the first-team spotlight and Halkett is eager to make the most of his opportunity with the help of the current crop of Ibrox stars.

He said: "I have been in training with the first team a few times, it is always nice when the gaffer asks you into the squad.

"Hopefully I can do it more between now and the end of the season and maybe get my debut.

"You do get nervous when you are sitting on the bench, you always wonder if you might get your chance to go on.

"The gaffer watches the U20 games and knows how we are doing. He comes down after the games and says a few words, it gives you a real boost.

"The older boys are great in training, too, the don't make you feel like an outsider.

"It helps you relax, if you make a mistake they just tell you to keep your head up and keep going."

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