Rangers: Teenage winger Glenn Middleton eyes starting berth

James Tavernier and Glenn Middleton celebrate the former's penalty for Rangers against FK Shkupi
Glenn Middleton, right, helped Rangers overcome FK Shkupi in their Europa League qualifier

Teenager Glenn Middleton believes he is good enough to earn a regular starting berth in Steven Gerrard's Rangers team.

The Ibrox boss handed 18-year-old Middleton his debut from the bench in Thursday's 2-0 Europa League first qualifying round win over FK Shkupi.

And the young winger is eager to ensure his cameo is not a one-off.

"Am I confident I can break into the side? Yes, I think anyone would be lying if they said they weren't," Middleton said.

"It's the same for all the young boys, we come in every day, show him what we can do and hopefully get our names on the team-sheet as soon as possible.

"I don't really fear much, so if we are losing or even if I've not being playing my best, I'll still go at my man every single time because I'm confident in myself that I can always make that one chance for the team to hopefully get a goal.

"It's about taking it day by day, that's the manager's message to everyone and me personally - just do what I can every day to show what I'm capable of."

Scotland Under-21 international Middleton joined Rangers from English Championship club Norwich City in January but has had to wait until the summer arrival of Gerrard to make his first-team bow.

As the hosts struggled to kill off the stubborn Shkupi in their first leg encounter, Gerrard turned to the youngster to help his side unlock the Macedonian defence.

Steven Gerrard oversees Rangers' victory over FK Shkupi in Europa League qualifying
Steven Gerrard led Rangers to victory in his first competitive game as manager

Introduced with 11 minutes remaining, his pace helped Rangers maintain their pressure into the final stages as they eventually earned a stoppage-time penalty that put daylight between the sides.

Middleton admitted he did not expect to play a part in Gerrard's managerial bow but hopes to continue impressing the former Liverpool skipper.

"Yes, it did," said the teenager when asked if his involvement had come as a surprise. "Not many people are sure what to expect when a new manager comes into a club, no matter who it is.

"It's just a case of trying to take your opportunity when it is given to you.

"I've only played 15 minutes of first-team football so far, so it's not much, but I just need to keep building from here, show him what I can do in training every day and if I get the opportunity in games take it from there and show what I'm capable of.

"It was brilliant to play a part. It was a really good result for the team, although obviously it wasn't the perfect performance.

"However, it's a win and we take that into the next leg and we'll go from there."

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