RANGERS are gearing up for the biggest match at Ibrox in 14 years tomorrow as they bid to reach the final of the Europa League.

Domestically, with the league title all but relinquished, the only game of real importance is the Scottish Cup final against Hearts on May 21st.

With the three final Premiership matches taking place within six days starting on Sunday, there has never been a better time for the Ibrox club’s rising stars to sample first-team football.

Of course, should Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men overcome the one-goal deficit and defeat RB Leipzig then competition for places will intensify as the squad look to stake a last-ditch claim for a place in history.

However, there is no reason why a number of the club’s Academy graduates cannot be given the opportunity to plant a flag for a place in next season’s squad.

Unlike his predecessor Steven Gerrard, van Bronckhorst appears to be someone who is keen to give youth a chance. This has been seen primarily in the Scottish Cup, when the likes of Alex Lowry, Charlie McCann and Leon King have made appearances.

Recently, King has turned out in the league too, coming on as a substitute at St Mirren Park and Fir Park. 

He is someone rated highly by van Bronckhorst. Following the recent 3-1 victory over Motherwell, the manager said: “I think Leon is playing really well for the B team and training really well. 

“It was good to give him a chance in the team and he brought what we think he can bring.

“He has so much quality but also a lot of room to improve but that’s why he’s a young player. 

“I’m happy he’s making the progress he’s doing now.” 

In Lowry’s case, he's has made one Premiership appearance when he helped the team overcome a stuffy Livingston in wintery conditions at Ibrox back in January.

Given the noise surrounding the 18-year-old in particular, it’s vital he has a clear pathway to the first team and the three upcoming league games should provide him with a platform in which to showcase his talent.

As it stands, he is yet to commit his future to the club with reports in recent weeks linking him with potential moves down south to Manchester City and Newcastle United.

His potential is such that there will be admirers looking to tempt him away from his boyhood club which is why it’s important he is given an opportunity to play in the first team and feel what it’s like to be a Rangers player.

If the outings against Livingston, Annan Athletic and Stirling Albion are anything to go by then Lowry looks to be the real deal and someone who is capable of not only making the step up from the B team but excelling.

With Ianis Hagi out injured, Lowry is the closest player in terms of style of play and attributes to the Romanian, as explained in Craig Vickers’ analysis piece on the teenager and given the club’s struggles in front of goal, he could be the vital component in that final third where Rangers have often toiled against deep-lying defences.

READ MORE: Rangers' thrilling B team and why Alex Lowry, Tony Weston and company provide a shaft of light

Charlie McCann is another who should be given a chance to display his qualities. Since arriving from Manchester United last July, the 19-year-old midfielder has consistently impressed in the B team with two substitute appearances from the main squad in the Scottish Cup wins over Annan and Dundee.

The teenager spoke about learning from the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Steven Davis ahead of the match against the Dens Park club in March.

He said: "Every day in training, the senior boys – Davo, Ramsey and people like that – they always give feedback and try to help you.

"If they see things where you maybe need a bit of help, they are there and they tell you.

"In the squad, we have a big variety of different types of midfielders and it can only help to be able to pick little aspects to develop my game.

“You are always getting feedback on what you are doing well and if you need to improve little things to get to the next level.”

McCann, like King and Lowry, is another on the fringes of the first team who should be presented with opportunities in the upcoming matches against Dundee United, Ross County and Hearts.

The fourth player who should be banging on the door of a first-team place, particularly given the lack of options up top is Tony Weston.

READ MORE: How Rangers can model B team's Old Firm pressing approach to 'guide and manipulate' Celtic's system

Signed from Blackpool back in the summer of 2020, the Scouser has been a revelation for the B team. With 35 goals in all competitions for David McCallum’s men this season, the 18-year-old is another knocking on the door. Loudly.

He was highly thought of at Blackpool before making the switch to Glasgow with former boss Gerrard thought pivotal in the move north. He turned out for the Seasiders in a FA Cup match when he made a cameo appearance off the bench against Maidstone.

Of course, the jury is out on whether Weston can make the step up from playing Lowland League football to coping with the demands placed upon him as a first-team player but from the evidence garnered, he appears to have the tools required to be a success.

Whether these four players are afforded the chance to impress in the first team remains to be seen but there won’t be a better time to discover if they can bridge the gap between B team and senior side. With nothing but pride at stake, van Bronckhorst has the opportunity to show he takes the notion of a tangible pathway to first-team action seriously.

From the players' perspective, having witnessed Nathan Patterson emerge and earn a multi-million pound transfer to Everton, the carrot is dangling in front of them. If you take your chance at Rangers, it has the potential to open doors that can lead to life-changing offers not to mention the chance to play for a colossal institution on the brink of a European final.