doc

THE round of appreciative applause was a far cry from the Ibrox roar. For Jamie Barjonas, it was just as important, though.

The midfielder made four appearances for Rangers last season and lived the dream as he went head-to-head with Hearts and Aberdeen on home soil.

His latest Ibrox appearance was a somewhat different affair. If he is to get back to that level with Pedro Caixinha’s side, it could prove to be a valuable stepping stone.

Read more: Pedro Caixinha won't look at the Premiership table as Rangers eye top spot at Firhill

Barjonas was the stand-out performer as the Light Blues’ Under-20s were narrowly beaten by Brighton on Tuesday night in the latest match of their new games programme.

The likes of Man City, Leicester and Spurs lie ahead in the coming weeks, with each outing a chance for the Auchenhowie kids to catch the eye of their Ibrox boss.

Barjonas told SportTimes: “The manager said to me that whenever there is a chance to put me round for training or in for games he will do that.

Read more: Pedro Caixinha confident time with his players on and off the park will benefit Rangers squad​

“But my main focus right now is on this games programme and the 20s and I will do the best I can.

“Having that first team experience makes me hungry for more. I have had that experience, I have played in front of 50,000 at Ibrox.

“There is nothing I want more than to have that again. Even going round to train with the first team, I get a buzz.

“I want to be with the first team as much as I can and this games programme with certainly help me because we are playing against the best clubs and the best players.”

Read more: Carlos Pena will only get better as he adapts to Scottish football, says Rangers boss Pedro Caixinha​

The task that lies ahead of Barjonas is a considerable one as he looks to force his way back into the first team squad in the coming months.

Ryan Jack and Graham Dorrans have quickly settled at Ibrox, while the likes of Carlos Pena, Jordan Rossiter and Jason Holt are vying for a starting berth. Barjonas isn’t fazed, though.

He said: “There are a lot of good players in my position but I am happy to take on the challenge.

“I just need to withhold a level of performance and hopefully if I stand out the gaffer will see that and put me round.

Read more: Pedro Caixinha won't look at the Premiership table as Rangers eye top spot at Firhill

“He did that last season and I was put in front of players. That could happen again but I need to keep working as hard as I can if I want that reward.

“Players like Holty and Graham Dorrans speak to you a lot in training.

“When you have done something wrong, they tell you what you could have done or where to be. They play in my position so I am always learning, which is brilliant.”

Barjonas capped an accomplished performance with a goal against the Seagulls but could only watch on from the bench as Murty’s side slipped to a late defeat.

Read more: Pedro Caixinha confident time with his players on and off the park will benefit Rangers squad​

It was a frustrating end to an encouraging night. The lessons will be learned as Rangers strive for improvement this term.

Barjonas said: “I am disappointed about the result but experiences like that are what we want at this football club. We want to play against good teams at every level and it is great for all the boys.

“We had a young team and that experience will stand us in good stead.

“I thought we dealt with it well, we played our game, but in the second half we didn’t get on the ball as much as we want to. We need to be able to play as well as we did in the second half.

“We all want to win games, but we want to win games convincingly and play the style of play we want to play and play the football that we are taught to play.

“I thought we played well in the first half but we let ourselves drop in the second half and that can’t happen.”