Derek Johnstone raves about two lightning quick Rangers rising stars after clash v Brighton

By Harry Sykes

Derek Johnstone has hailed Rangers rising stars Serge Atakayi and Andy Dallas after watching the youth team’s 2-1 defeat to Brighton on Tuesday night.

Wingers Atakayi, 18, and Dallas, 18, have both made a big impression for Graeme Murty’s Under-20s as they push for promotion to the first-team squad.

They stood out in midweek as they created problems for their Brighton counterparts in the closely-contested clash at Ibrox.

“On the wings, I was impressed with Serge Atakayi and Andy Dallas,” ex-Rangers striker Johnstone told the Glasgow Evening Times. “They are absolutely lightening quick and can cause teams problems and Jamie Barjonas got another goal from the middle of the park.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the game and Rangers were unlucky to lose out right at the end as Brighton scored in the last minute.

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“It was a young side that Rangers put out and they certainly weren’t overawed or outclassed. They created enough chances and it was a good performance against a side that had plenty of pace and a few good players.”

As part of Rangers’ ‘Academy Games’ programme, the Light Blues will face top English and European clubs in home and away fixtures and first-team squads from Scottish League One and Two sides.

The Young Gers will also take part in the Scottish FA Youth Cup but have already been knocked out of the Irn-Bru Cup by Championship Dumbarton.

To do this, Rangers have withdrawn from the SPFL Development League as they go down a different route to improve their youth development.

“People have questioned Rangers for the decision to withdraw from the Development League but I think they will get huge benefits from it and hopefully we will see the players come through to the first team,” Johnstone added to the Evening Times.

“I think there is talent there and it would be great to see the youngsters improve in the coming weeks and months and get that bit closer to Pedro Caixinha’s squad.”

Murty’s side have already faced Dutch giants Feyenoord and Southamption before travelling to face Manchester City at the City Football Academy on Saturday.

Some of the other sides involved include AZ Alkmaar, Benfica, Everton, Leicester, KV Mechelen and Tottenham.

In other Rangers news, the club have reached an agreement with a European giant to tie up a major deal.

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