By Allan Valente
Last Updated: 13/07/18 9:41pm
Glenn Middleton admits he was shocked to be handed his Rangers debut against Shkupi but is confident he can cement a place in the first-team squad.
With Rangers leading 1-0 thanks to Jamie Murphy’s first-half strike Steven Gerrard introduced the 18-year-old with 11 minutes left in Thursday’s Europa League qualifier.
His injection of pace helped the hosts maintain their pressure into the final stages before James Tavernier scored a late penalty to give Rangers a 2-0 win ahead of the return leg in Skopje on Tuesday.
Middleton admitted he did not expect to play a part in Gerrard’s managerial bow but now hopes to impress his boss enough to ensure that run out is not a one-off.
“Yes, it did,” said the teenager when asked if his involvement had come as a surprise. “Not many people are sure what to expect when a new manager comes into a club, no matter who it is. It’s just a case of trying to take your opportunity when it is given to you.
“I’ve only played 15 minutes of first-team football so far, so it’s not much but I just need to keep building from here, show him what I can do in training every day and if I get the opportunity in games take it from there and show what I’m capable of.
“It was brilliant to play a part. It was a really good result for the team, although obviously it wasn’t the perfect performance. However, it’s a win and we take that into the next leg and we’ll go from there.”
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He added: “Am I confident I can break into the side? Yes, I think anyone would be lying if they said they weren’t. It’s the same for all the young boys, we come in every day, show him what we can do and hopefully get our names on the team-sheet as soon as possible.
“I don’t really fear much, so if we are losing or even if I’ve not been playing my best I’ll still go at my man every single time because I’m confident in myself that I can always make that one chance for the team to hopefully get a goal.
“It’s about taking it day by day, that’s the manager’s message to everyone and me personally – just do what I can every day to show what I’m capable of.”