RANGERS boss Ally McCoist today predicted his new recruits will help the Ibrox club's promising kids to flourish.
McCoist has brought in veteran strikers Kris Boyd and Kenny Miller to boost their hopes of landing the SPFL Championship next season. Former Scotland hit men Boyd and Miller have proven track records at the Glasgow giants and are huge heroes to the Light Blues supporters.
Still, the veteran pair's signing has been met with rumblings of discontent from a section of the Gers fans due to their advancing years.
McCoist, though, defended his summer recruitment drive and dismissed suggestions he is not giving youth a chance to shine in his side.
Indeed, he is optimistic that playing with and training alongside such successful professionals will prove hugely beneficial to his up-and- coming starlets.
Speaking from Brora in the Highlands where Gers are on a pre-season tour, he said: "We are not ignoring kids. It's a nonsense to suggest otherwise.
"You can't flood your team with kids and then expect to get through two divisions like we've done. It wouldn't have happened.
"If we'd fielded a team of kids in SPFL 3 we wouldn't have won the league.
"There has never been a case in recent Old Firm history where five or six kids have come through the ranks and into the first team. It just doesn't happen.
"If the younger lads coming through are good enough they will play. Guys like Lewis Macleod and Fraser Aird have come in and they've stayed in.
"Others like Calum Gallagher and Robbie Crawford are there on the fringes.
"And we'll continue, absolutely, to give the younger ones a chance. But it's crazy to think we could have put seven or eight young guys in the team and come through the leagues.
"I believe we'll need a big squad for the coming season. Already we are without Jon Daly who has a knee injury. It looks like he'll be out for a number of weeks."
McCoist continued: "Guys like Nicky Clark, Calum Gallagher, Lewis Macleod and others will learn a lot from people like Miller and Boyd.
"Miller and Boyd are tremendous professionals and the younger ones will learn a lot. Our younger ones can only benefit from watching the more experienced guys we now have."
McCoist believes that both Boyd and Miller are still keen to perform well with Rangers in the 2014/15 campaign and help them to complete "The Journey".
He said: "These guys are hungry. I was the same myself. When you are reaching 30, a fear goes through you that you are nearing the end of your career. There is a desire and a determination to look after yourself and play on as long as you can."
McCoist also stated that he expects former Cowdenbeath and St Mirren centre-half Darren McGregor, his other summer signing, to acquit himself well in the months ahead.
He said: "Darren is another player I have always liked. He's had a tough time of things of late through serious injury. But there has been an improvement in him. He's quick, he's strong and he's brave. He will continue his development with us."
Despite the quality of players he has brought in during the close season - and is still looking to sign - McCoist admitted that he expects a more demanding season ahead.
Edinburgh clubs Hearts and Hibs - who Rangers have drawn in the first round of the Petrofac Training Cup - were relegated from the Premiership last season.
He said: "Part of me still can't believe Hibs are in the league as well. I was away when I found that out. It's just added to the whole interest. Everyone is really excited talking about it.
"Outside the two Edinburgh clubs and ourselves there's a good standard. Raith Rovers beat us in the Ramsdens after extra-time.
"We beat Queen of the South and Falkirk in what were good games against teams who can play.
"I saw most of the teams last year and I know it will be a good league, really exciting. The last two years there's been an expectancy and probably rightly that we would win the league. There's definitely not the same expectancy.
"A lot of people will have us down as favourites and I can understand that. Whereas the past two years, in the minds of many of the supporters and the media, that was a given.
"I don't think there's the same feeling about this season. But from our point of view, as strange as it may sound, I think that's a good thing."
McCoist, who got married to his long-term partner during the summer, stressed that he was feeling refreshed and ready for the challenge that lay ahead.
He said: "I really needed a holiday at the end of last season. I had a chance to go to the World Cup, which would have been brilliant, but I had to get a break.
"We went over to Portugal. It was great. I relaxed with a few games of golf and took a few quid off Jim Jefferies and Tommy Wright. But I am looking forward to the season."