First-team left winger Glenn Middleton was picked by Graeme Murty’s Glasgow Rangers reserve team to play against Celtic’s reserve side at Firhill in Monday’s pulsating game.
The 19-year-old excelled once again for Murty and he was the main difference between the two sides in the 2-0 Gers win.
Although Middleton’s two goals were the highlights of the Old Firm reserve game, Murty was delighted his Rangers team stopped a good attacking Celtic team from scoring any goals.
The talented youngster, with his second half goals, quickly became the young hero of the day for this brilliant Rangers performance.
By beating their oldest and most bitter opponents 2-0 at Firhill, they now have to win both of their last two matches to clinch the league title.
Attacker Middleton, who has played and scored for Rangers’ first team this season, came up with the goods, and just when it really mattered.
Murty has revealed that the Rangers players devised their own second-half game plan to help his team secure a victory win over their bitter rivals.
Rangers overtook Celtic in the league as the Ibrox second-string moved top of the table on goal difference.
Murty signed Middleton for Rangers in January 2018, having worked with him at Norwich City and knew all about his true potential.
“I thought we were really, really good. With a little bit more composure in our final pass we could’ve been more comfortable earlier in the game,” he told the official Gers website.
“I didn’t give them a message, I asked what they thought, which is a critical part of their learning – ‘What did you think? How did we do? What do we need to do better?’
“And the guys came back with all the answers. They know, they just need to execute it.
“When they came back with ‘we need to be a little bit tighter on this occasion, we need more composure in our final execution’, they were right.”
Rangers should have been 2-0 up earlier when Middleton was too greedy to simply square the ball to Stephen Kelly for a couldn’t-miss tap in.
The youngster decided to shoot but keeper Ryan Mullen saved his strike, and Gers manager Murty suggested that Kelly would have been the best option.
“The best goal could’ve been one when he got slipped through,” Middleton told Rangers’ YouTube channel.
“It was a really good, intricate passage of play and Stevie Kelly was stood five yards out with a tap-in and Glenn decided to shoot with his right foot!
“He’s just admitted that he didn’t see Stevie, which is kind of typical of a forward player.
“We needed to be tighter down our left side, because Mikey Johnston is a good player. We needed to be better in our final execution, and we went and got a goal.
“Also, we need to be a bit more brave and go and get on the ball. They came up with that, so teasing that out of them is the skill of a coach, which I’m pleased to say our coaches have got.
“But, more importantly, the players had the answers. It was just a question then of doing it, which they did in the second half.”
Murty said it was an excellent Rangers team performance, but singled out captain Cammy Palmer and Academy Player of the Year Josh McPake for special praise.
And there was also praise for new signings Matt Polster and keeper Andy Firth, who were given run-outs for the second-string.
“To stand out in that team today you had to be an eight or a nine out of ten, because everyone got to about a seven I thought,” Rangers boss Murty said.
“So the eight or nine out of tens are pleasing for the individuals, and they added to the team performance.
“The two that I thought stood out, in different ways, were Cammy and Josh McPake.”