By James Black

Rangers Academy director Craig Mulholland is ‘delighted’ the club has achieved ‘Elite’ status following an independent audit as the Scottish FA push ahead with it’s Project Brave youth development overhaul.

Each Academy in Scotland was audited with only eight achieving ‘Elite’ including Rangers, Celtic, Hearts and Hamilton.

In anticipation of Project Brave being rolled out in 2018, Rangers withdrew from the SPFL Development League in order to play a year-long programme of friendlies against the best youth sides from across Europe.

Craig Mulholland is delighted the club’s work has been recognised by the Scottish FA’s audit and believes Project Brave will be a major development in helping the club nurture better players.

“We are delighted to have achieved ‘Elite’ status following a rigorous audit by the SFA who examined areas such as strategy and vision, coaching, recruitment, sports science, medicine, analysis, education and welfare and our support functions,” Mulholland said, as quoted by Rangers’ official website.

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“Through participation on the working group, Rangers have assisted in shaping Project Brave and we believe that radical change was required to raise the standards in Scottish Football.

“We are delighted to be playing our part in designing this positive new vision.”

Rangers have had limited success with promoting youth talent – and keeping them in the first-team – over the last decade but are hopeful the current batch of youngsters will be the first to make a genuine impact on the side.

Ross McCrorie is the most recent Academy graduate to force his way into the side while a number of others like Jamie Barjonas, Myles Beerman, Liam Burt and Ryan Hardie have been on the fringes over the last 12 months.

With more promising talent like Zak Rudden, Serge Atakayi, Robby McCrorie, Jordan Houston and Cammy Palmer coming through the Ibrox giants seem to be going in the right direction with their youth programme.

In other Rangers team news, Fabio Cardoso has returned to training after suffering a nose injury

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