Rangers under-18s captain Mackenzie Strachan followed in the footsteps of first-team skipper James Tavernier as he lifted the league trophy in the air at the end of the season, marking a third title success in a row for David McCallum’s side – and the teenage midfielder adnits it was “really special” to get his hands on the trophy after a difficult campaign.
A final day victory over St. Mirren secured the title for the Rangers youngsters, and Strachan and his teammates went into the game fearing a repeat of the defeat by the Buddies earlier in the season.
The Gers managed to see out the win though and secure the title and the 17-year-old midfielder was delighted by the success.
“Obviously it was really good to captain the boys to winning the league and to lift the trophy was really special,” Strachan told Rangers TV.
“It was a tough game (against St. Mirren). We knew they were a good side, they’d already beaten us previously in the league so everyone was pretty nervous going into the game but at the end of the day we got the job done.
“It’s been a tough year for all of us. I feel as though the boys were brilliant all season, they performed well pretty much every game. There were a couple of games we weren’t so good but we still got results so I’ve enjoyed it.
While the ongoing Covid restrictions haven’t had a massive impact on the first-team’s day-to-day activities, the under-18s weren’t so lucky with the lockdown over winter forcing their season to be halted temporarily and the players unable to get into the training ground or gym.
That has led to the players having to effectively take part in distance coaching and the under-18s skipper has been impressed with how his teammates have adapted – and the support they’ve had from the club’s coaching staff.
“It’s been a stop/start season,” he added.” We’ve not actually been in full-time, we’ve only been in a couple of hours a day but we just have to make the most of it. We’ve just been allowed back into the gym not that long ago, it’s been different but we’ve adapted to it really well.
“The coaches have been brilliant. Even when we weren’t allowed into the training ground, we’ve had loads of Zoom call and stuff at home like different skills challenges and they’ve been really helpful with that.”
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The young Gers will again take part in the UEFA Youth League and Strachan is hoping to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Nathan Patterson who featured in the Gers’ UYL debut two years ago before his incredible rise to prominence.
“It’s really exciting for all of us to test ourselves against the best teams in Europe. It’ll be a challenge for all of us, all of the big teams will be very, very good but it’ll be good for our development and how we progress in the future.
“It’s brilliant for us to look up to them and try and follow in their footsteps. At the end of the day we all want to be footballers so they are good role models for us.