GIOVANNI VAN BRONCKHORST offered Rangers fans a glimpse into the future on Sunday. Time will tell how bright it is at Ibrox.

When it comes to Alex Lowry, Rangers have a youngster who seems destined to shine for club and country for some time to come and the hype and excitement around the 18-year-old is understandable.

After several weeks of impasse and speculation, the announcement over the weekend that Lowry had put pen-to-paper on a new long-term contract with Rangers was as pleasing as it was unexpected for supporters.

It represents a significant bit of business for Rangers. The club have put their faith in Lowry, but the playmaker has also put his in Van Bronckhorst and his staff and both sides must hold up their respective ends of the bargain if the contract - which keeps Lowry at Ibrox until 2025 - is to be mutually beneficial.

Given the way in which he has progressed during his fleeting outings this term and the natural ability that he possesses, it is not much of a gamble from Rangers' perspective to tie the teenager down on fresh terms and give him the security that his potential merits.

But Lowry and his representatives will be keeping a close eye on the chances he is given and his level of involvement with Van Bronckhorst's squad during the first months of the new campaign as he looks to kick-on from a debut season that has offered flashes of real promise.

The teenager was given his latest run-out on Sunday as he came off the bench during the win over Dundee United and the signs were once again encouraging as he showed no sign of being daunted by the level of opposition or the expectant Ibrox crowd.

There is a class and calmness about the way in which Lowry plays. He is graceful across the ground and has a vision - both in terms of his passing and his shooting - that sets him apart from so many others of his age.

It is easy to build players up as the next big thing but Lowry does have a genuine chance of enjoying a long and successful career. Sometimes you can just tell that a kid is different and there is the same feeling watching Lowry as there was when Nathan Patterson and Billy Gilmour were rising through the ranks.

Such a billing need not come as a weight around Lowry's neck. Indeed, he plays with such confidence that it seems any external pressure would be used as a motivation rather than seen as a hindrance as he forges his own path and enhances his burgeoning reputation.

His comments post match were intriguing, though. On the face of it, it seems that supporters were not the only ones who were questioning the timeline of the talks and why it was taking as long for the deal to be done.

"Now that the contract’s out of the way, I can concentrate solely on my football," Lowry said after another eye-catching cameo against United. "That hanging around for a while wasn’t great.

"It was a bit of a wait but it’s done now so football is the main thing. I’m looking forward to kicking on and putting in good performances for Rangers.

"You can see where the club is going. We are in a European final in Seville. That was definitely a key point.

"And just the fan base, everything about the club, I have loved it since I was young. I didn’t really want to go anywhere else."

Now that Lowry has signed on the dotted line, the frustrations over the length of time taken to reach that stage ultimately become irrelevant. The focus must be on the future.

The investment in people and infrastructure in the Academy system at Auchenhowie has been significant in recent years and Rangers need to start seeing talents rolling off the production line on a regular basis.

Lowry has shown enough so far to merit his place in Van Bronckhorst's squad next term. If Leon King - another who has long been tipped for the top - is not ready to be fourth choice centre-half then a Premiership loan must be arranged to regularly test him.

Van Bronckhorst talked up Charlie McCann and Adam Devine as potential first team stars of the future on Sunday and both will surely be involved in the squads for the matches with Ross County and Hearts as Rangers focus their attentions on the Europa League final.

This summer will see Van Bronckhorst put his stamp on the squad he inherited at Ibrox and the changing of the guard allows the Dutchman a chance to integrate more up-and-coming kids into the first team group. If they are good enough, they are old enough.

Fans would far rather see homegrown youngsters on the fringes of the first team than players who are clearly squad men and jersey fillers rather than proper back-up options for the tried and trusted operators that Van Bronckhorst puts his faith in.

The bulk of the business during the close season will require Van Bronckhorst to replace those stalwarts who are set to move on and the investment must be made in quality. In terms of quantity, this could now be the perfect time for the next generation to fill the gaps that are left and start to establish themselves.

Patterson's route to regular first team football was blocked by captain James Tavernier but his situation was exceptional. Rangers cannot now allow the likes of Lowry and King to see their talent stifled by signings who are never going to cut it at Ibrox.

They will make mistakes, they will need to be used smartly. In Van Bronckhorst, they have a coach who is passionate about their development and a man who should be a perfect sounding board for help and advice.

The kids are alright at Ibrox. For the sake of Rangers and Scotland, they must be given the chance to live their dream and realise their potential.