When Giovanni van Bronckhorst arrived at Glasgow Rangers to take over from Steven Gerrard as the club’s new manager last November, he declared in his first press conference that “I will look at all of the upcoming talents” and so far he appears to be following that mantra.
The Dutchman gave youngsters such as Charlie McCann, Leon King and Alex Lowry game-time in the early Scottish Cup ties, before handing an opportunity to the likes of Adam Devine, Cole McKinnon and Ross McCausland in the Light Blues’ last league match of the season.
The future looks bright for many at Rangers, with one academy graduate shining more than most since making his first-team debut.
With just 14 minutes on the clock in the Scottish Cup tie against Stirling Albion in January, Ianis Hagi was forced off through injury, and Van Bronckhorst replaced him with 18-year-old Alex Lowry, who duly made his senior debut.
He started off wonderfully, scoring a debut goal and putting in a calm, professional display which was reminiscent of Barry Ferguson, the former Rangers captain who emerged from the academy to win trophies galore with the club.
Lowry has all the attributes to make him a worthy Ferguson heir – Scottish, midfielder, made his debut when they were roughly the same age (Ferguson had just turned 19) and a similar eye for goal.
The 19-year-old made another five appearances for the Ibrox side following that Scottish Cup victory, scoring against Hearts in the Premiership and firmly stamping his authority on the squad.
Rangers Review journalist Joshua Barrie dubbed him a “step above everyone else” during a Lowland League tie, and it seems clear that Lowry has the talent to not only be part of the first team squad but to improve the starting XI when called upon.
Rangers have been crying out for a creative midfielder ever since Joe Aribo left for Southampton, and Lowry showed glimpses of that quality in his league appearances at the end of last season.
He made 1.3 key passes, took 54.5 touches and had 2.8 shots per match, proving that he can be a genuine goal threat while also utilising his creative talents to control the midfield and set up opportunities for team-mates.
If the youngster can get a run in the starting XI when he returns from injury, he might well boost his growing reputation even further.