BILLY GILMOUR has made the headlines. He is not the only one who could make a name for himself.
Rangers fans have heard all about how good Gilmour could be but few have ever seen the midfielder in action. He is highly rated at Auchenhowie and beyond but it is at Firhill where he must impress this evening.
Gilmour has a decision to make over whether to continue his career at Ibrox or make the switch to Stamford Bridge and pen a deal with Chelsea in the summer.
The Gers fans that tune into the derby clash will be keen to see what all the hype is about, but Kirkwood insists he is not the only rising star that could shine.
He said: “We have got a good squad and there are a group of them. Jordan Houston is doing exceptionally well, Zak Rudden has been doing well, Billy Gilmour, Jack Thomson, they have all played with the 20s this year. I think most of the team that will start have all had a wee taste of the Under-20s.
“I am sure Billy will handle [the interest], along with the rest of them. Billy is one of many that we have got that we are hopeful will be a top talent. This is the stage that they have got to show they can handle.
“We will get a decision [over his future] sooner or later but at this moment in time the focus is looking to win the cup.
“Billy is one of the exceptional talents that we have got. It might be Billy Gilmour that is getting all the press, it might be someone else in six months or at the end of the season doing well for the first team.
“There are many and hopefully we will have many more like that coming off the conveyor belt.”
Gilmour is one of the most talked about young talents on Rangers’ books yet he is amongst a group of kids that the Light Blues have big hopes for.
Boss Pedro Caixinha has involved a host of youth players in his first team training sessions in recent weeks and given Myles Beerman and David Bates their Premiership bows.
And Under-17 boss Kirkwood is pleased with the progress the next generation of Gers are making as they rise through the ranks.
He said: “We are trying to create an elite culture at the Rangers Training Centre.
“It is an elite facility and the lads have got to get to finals and challenge for leagues. That is part of their education at a club like Rangers.
“Getting to a final is a success on its own but the next step is to win these games. It is up to the lads to produce on the night and hopefully that stands them in good stead for getting into the first team.
“We have got a number of lads that train with the first team and when they come back you can feel the energy off of them. Hopefully that transmits itself into results and a win tonight.
“Our job as coaches is to give them the good fundamentals and make sure the nuts and bolts are in place when they are getting assembled into a player, whether that is a 20s player or a first team player.
“We have to make sure our lads are physically, mentally and technically able to stand up to the rigours of those levels. The more we get into the 20s and first team the better.
“If they can stand up to the tests and impress the manager then hopefully they get their chance and make the most of it.”