Rangers' youth system in best shape for 20 years, says chairman Dave King

Rangers youths training at Auchenhowie
Auchenhowie is Rangers' training centre

Rangers' youth system is in better shape than at any time in two decades, according to chairman Dave King.

He is confident the base is being provided that should help new team manager Pedro Caixinha bring success.

"Our academy structures and young players are more promising than at any time since my first association with the club almost 20 years ago," he said.

"Auchenhowie is finally looking 'fit for purpose' and is showing a vibrancy hitherto unseen."

King had been a club director under previous chairmen and, after the club progressed from Scotland's bottom tier following financial trouble, took up the role himself in May 2015.

Rangers won promotion in their first season under the South Africa-based businessman's regime, but he says much work has also been done behind the scenes at Ibrox Stadium and the training academy.

"The maintenance of Ibrox and Auchenhowie is a never ending and costly process, but it is a price we must continuously pay in order to boast two such fantastic facilities and advance the excellent youth development process that we have put in place," King told Rangers' website.

Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha takes training
King thinks Rangers' research will pay off with the choice of Pedro Caixinha as manager

"Much has been achieved in the past year and the club structures are significantly better than a year ago."

Rangers, who face Celtic's in this season's Scottish Youth Cup final on 26 April, sit third in the Premiership table and parted company with manager Mark Warburton in February.

King believes the groundwork put in to find the Englishman's successor, Pedro Caixinha, will pay off as they look to mount a better challenge against champions Celtic next season.

"Despite a relatively disappointing campaign up to this point, we have taken the necessary steps to revitalise the team and its performance," he said.

"Of particular note is the carefully researched appointment of a new management unit headed by Pedro Caixinha.

"Funds are available to help Pedro shape his own team.

"It is important that our supporters continue to see Rangers playing attractive football, but attractive football must not be pursued at the cost of failing to win."

Former Rangers manager Mark Warburton and chairman Dave King
Mark Warburton was criticised by King after the Englishman's departure

Rangers remain reliant on cash injections from King and his fellow shareholders, but the chairman also pointed out the loyalty of the club's fans.

He said that the club could be forced to introduce a waiting list, on an "earliest application" basis, should next season's demand for season tickets match this campaign's 43,000 sales - the maximum possible given the need to reserve a section for away fans.

"It is gratifying to finally be able to deal with the normal vagaries of football, such as team performance and management restructures, as business in the normal course rather than as a new crisis - which had been the case over the last few years," added King.

"I look forward to the coming season with great optimism.

"We could have avoided the significant financial compensation we incurred to bring the new management team on board by delaying the appointment until the end of the season.

"However, we believe that it is in the club's interest to give Pedro the balance of this season to assess the squad and make preparations in advance of the new season and the early competitive start that we envisage with Europa League qualifiers.

"It will be a further significant step forward to achieve our stated target of having European football back at Ibrox."

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