Rangers chief executive Ross Wilson is set for a big summer transfer window at Ibrox, as it will be Gio van Bronckhorst’s first extended chance to shape his squad.
The Dutchman had one month in January to bolster his playing ranks and was given a number of loanees to work with as Amad Diallo, James Sands and Aaron Ramsey all came in.
Nathan Patterson was also sold for a club-record transfer fee after coming through the academy setup, and he is one of many players over the years to achieve success after rising through the ranks at Ibrox.
However, one youth product on whom the club dropped a clanger was defender Craig Halkett, who Mark Warburton allowed to leave on a free transfer in 2016.
The centre-back was never offered an opportunity to play at senior level for the Gers, as he went on loan twice before joining Livingston on a permanent deal.
This gave him the chance to get regular game-time under his belt and he played 137 times in three-and-a-half seasons for Livi, helping them to climb from League One to the Premiership with back-to-back promotions – an extraordinary feat.
Jam Tarts manager Robbie Neilson previously hailed the 26-year-old’s “standout” performances, while Hearts TV pundit Robert Borthwick claimed in March that Halkett had been “immense all season“, and the statistics back that up.
In the Premiership, he averaged an excellent SofaScore rating of 7.14 across 28 outings. He made a whopping 4.5 clearances per game and won an impressive 67% of his duels as he showcased both his positional awareness and his physical strength at this level.
For context, that rating would place him seventh in the Rangers squad for outfield average ratings in the top flight. This suggests that the £2.4k-per-week enforcer would be one of the Gers’ top performers if Van Bronckhorst had him as an option within his squad.
At the age of 26, Halkett is now heading into the prime years of his career, and he still has room to hone his skills even further as he continues to gain experience.
Therefore, Warburton dropped a huge clanger by allowing the defender to leave for nothing six years ago, as the Hearts tank has gone on to make a success of himself elsewhere. The former Rangers boss must surely be regretting the call to axe him from the squad in 2016.