RANGERS' youth supremo reckons the stars who quit when the club plunged into administration hell missed the chance to become Ibrox legends.

Billy Kirkwood said: "They had a chance to play in front of those fans, to become really popular and say, 'I stayed with the club, I helped to pull the club back into the top division, I am going to be a regular'.

"Ally McCoist has done it and he is an absolute legend, Ian Durranty has played for the club and is a legend.

"They know what it is like so we hope that one or two of our lads from the youth set-up can be the same."

Kirkwood hit out as today marks the first anniversary of the club going into administration, sending it spiralling towards the brink of extinction.

A number of first-team stars, including youngsters Jamie Ness, Gregg Wylde, John Fleck and Rhys McCabe turned their back on the club last summer to clinch moves to England.

The Light Blue legions still hold a huge grudge against those that deserted the Gers and Kirkwood reckons many made the wrong call.

But he acknowledges their exits have opened the door for others in the youth ranks to stake their claim to a first-team place. He said: "If they had stayed, maybe Lewis Macleod, Barrie McKay, Fraser Aird or Robbie Crawford might not have got their chance.

"But if those who left had stayed, you could still have had Lewis and Barrie and the rest coming through as well so you could have had a really young team. Their decision, I think, was the wrong decision."

While some budding talents abandoned Rangers in its hour of need, plenty of colts have stayed for the fight in a bid to help McCoist's side climb back through the leagues.

The likes of Macleod and McKay have been standouts in the Irn-Bru Third Division and Kirkwood hopes more youngsters can make the most of the situation the Gers find themselves in.

He said: "There has not been a better chance for a kid to play at a top club than there is here at the moment. It is up to them to go and do that.

"They get invited to train with the first team and it is up to them to show the gaffer what they are made of."