Murray Park Graduates

I was recently asked the question, how many players have moved up to senior ranks from Murray Park ? So it got me thinking and here is what I’ve come up with. Firstly the criteria I used was, they had played for a youth team at Murray Park since it opened for the youth teams in the Autumn of 2001. This means players such as Stephen Hughes and Alan McGregor for example are not included as they made the step up just before the facility opened.

The second thing I did was separate those that came through the system and those that came to the club a wee bit later. The cut off I decided on for this was if they played U17 or below then they came through the system. Those that came to the club as U18 or U19 players are in the second group. I make it 28 players in the first category and 10 in the second group.

There is no doubt I have probably missed somebody so apologies in advance. Most of you will know most of them but there may be one or two wee surprises, so here goes.

Charlie AdamWas at Dundee before joining Rangers, became a semi regular and had some great nights for Rangers. Moved on to Blackpool, Liverpool and now Stoke. Current International.

Fraser Aird – Most recent “graduate” and has impressed in his recent first team games. Just gets into this category having moved to Rangers as an U17 player, although due to registration rules could only play in friendlies. Represented Canada at youth level but has now changed is allegiance to Scotland.

Tom Brighton – One first team appearance for Rangers, man-of-the match in Clyde’s shock Scottish Cup win against Celtic. Been around a few clubs and now at Irvine Meadow, where he scored a hat-trick against Gala Fairydean in Scottish Cup first round.

Chris Burke Played almost 100 games for Rangers before moving to Cardiff City where he broke the century of appearances before moving to Birmingham City. He has been capped twice for Scotland.

Darren Cole –  Still at the club but appears to be injured at the moment as he hasn’t played in any recent games. Only top team appearance was of course in the away tie to Bursaspor in Champions League.

Robbie Crawford – Another recent debutant Robbie has been a favourite of mine watching him come through the age groups. skilful two footed player I look forward to watching him progress in the next few seasons.

Bob Davidson Formed a potent strike partnership with Ross McCormack through the age groups. Played twice for the first team before moving to Dundee where he had a decent couple of seasons.Not been in senior ranks since playing for Clyde as a trialist in October 2009.

Andy Dowie Central defender Andy captained Rangers at youth level and made one first team appearance. Has since played over 200 games over four clubs, Partick Thistle, Stranraer, Ross County and Dunfermline Athletic.

Darryl Duffy Featured in the recent “My Blue Heaven” follow-up programme. Played for the first team against Dundee United after a successful spell at Falkirk he has been a football nomad since.From Bristol Rovers in the south to Hibs in the north and few points in-between, he is currently at Cheltenham Town.

Paul Emslie – Aberdonian Paul made on first team appearance in a League Cup tie against East Fife, now playing with Highland League side Cove Rangers.

John Fleck Never quite fulfilled the promise although did make over forty appearances and at only 22 he still has time to progress. Moved on to Coventry City in the summer with Rangers receiving a development fee.

Kane Hemmings– Came as an U17 from Tamworth and scored twice in Glasgow Cup Final against Celtic. Had knee problems over the last year and hopefully the latest operation will get him back playing and pushing for a first team place again.

Alan Hutton – Probably the most successful graduate, firmly established first team player then a big money move to Spurs. Now out of favour at Aston Villa but still a Scotland regular.

Kyle Hutton – Made a few appearances including famously against Manchester United in Champions League. Mysteriously out of favour this season after featuring in first few games, now back in the side and looking likely to feature regularly.

Stevie Lennon – A hat-trick in the 2007 youth cup final, Stevie played three times for the first team. Has since played in League of Ireland at Welsh club Newport County and is currently in Iceland.

Alan Lowing – A team-mate of Stevie Lennon’s at Fram in Iceland. Alan played five first team games including a European tie against Partizan Belgrade.

Gary MacKenzie – Two first team appearances for centre back Gary before successful periods at first Dundee and the MK Dons has seen him get a call up for a recent Scotland Squad.

Lewis McLeod – Anyone that watched Lewis progress through the age groups could see he would play for the first team. Circumstances has meant it has possible come a wee bit early, but he has proved more than worth his place in the side.

Rhys McCabe – Probably the one whose decision to leave disappointed me most. He could really have been a Rangers great and is young enough to get a career move a few years down the line.

Ross McCormack – Surprisingly released by Paul Le Guen, he proved himself first at Motherwell to earn a move to the Championship. Cardiff City and Leeds United have had the benefit of his goals in recent seasons. Most memorable Rangers moment was his goal in Porto.

Jordan McMillan So highly rated as a youngster he was seen as a possible future Rangers captain. Never quite had the physical presence to play in what I felt was his best position, centre back. A few appearances over a period of time before moving on to Dunfermline Athletic.

Kal Naismith – Another of this season’s debutants who scored his first goal against Forres. Certainly has the talent now just needs to prove he has the desire and the attitude.

Jamie Ness – Came to Rangers from Kilmarnock at U14 and looked a class act from then on. Injuries meant his first team games were fewer than they should have been. Opted to leave the club in the summer.

Ross Perry The older of this season’s “youngsters”, after missing pre-season now established in centre defence. A loan spell at Oxford United a couple of years ago helped his development.

Andrew Shinnie – Every time he seemed sure to make a real breakthrough injury struck, and he has not really been injury free since moving to ICT. Only played a couple of times when he seemed sure to have played more often.

Steven Smith –  Now playing in MLS with Portland Timbers. Had a break through season before injury struck, eventually got back and played over 50 first team games for Rangers.

Danny Wilson – Destined to make the breakthrough from a very young age. I would like to have seen him stay at the club a bit longer before moving to Liverpool where he has failed to make the break through.

Gregg Wylde – Came to Rangers from Celtic at U15 with Sean Fitzharris moving in the opposite direction. Made around forty appearances before deciding to leave the club when they went into administration.

The second group we couldn’t really claim they came through the youth system, but they did come to the club as youth players.

Moses Ashikodi– Released by West Ham United he signed a six month contract with Rangers in January 2006. Came on as a very, very late sub against Celtic at Parkhead in April of that year. Now playing for Ebsfleet United.

Thomas Kind Bendiksen – Rangers paid around £90,000 to Norwegian club Harstad IL for Thomas’s services. After looking a real prospect in the youth team an injury spell lasting almost two years halted his progress. Eventually made the first team but after a few games he turned down a new contract and returned to Tromso in Norway.

Bajram FetaiProbably best know for his goal celebration when he scored for Nordsjaelland against Silkeborg, which became a You Tube hit. Rangers signed him from Danish club B93 and he made one first team appearance.

Dean Furman – Released by Chelsea another that made a single first team appearance for Rangers, currently captain of Oldham Athletic.

Chris Hegarty – Northern Ireland U21 International who signed for Rangers from Millwall, excellent season at U19 which earned him another contract. Renewed again this season and made his debut against Falkirk.

Andy Little – Well established first team player and regular goal scorer. And signed from Ballinmallard United, play for and against Rangers in two different games on the same day.

Rory Loy Moved to Rangers from Kilmarnock for a fee decided by a tribunal. Seemed to be over looked on occasions despite scoring on a regular basis for reserves. Moved to Carlisle and recently been back at Murray Park for treatment as he recovers from a broken leg.

Barrie McKay– A product of Kilmarnock’s youth system, but they decided against offering a contract when something showed up in his medical. Initially joined Rangers on trial and was one of the few highlights in last season’s U19’s. Made first team debut against St Johnstone in the last game of last season.

Andy Mitchell – Signed a two-year contract after being released by Manchester City. Made his debut against Dundee United last season and signed a new contract this summer.

Lee Robinson Goalkeeper Lee made one sub appearance for twelve minutes against Hearts. Signed for Rangers after being released by Sunderland. Saved a penalty in for his current club Queen Of The South in the Ramsdens Cup shoot out against Rangers.

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