Former Rangers striker delighted to see youth players grasp first-team opportunity against Dundee United

Charlie McCann and Leon King have been on the fringes of the first-team and were handed starts against the Tayside outfit.

Former Rangers striker Kenny Miller admits he was surprised Giovanni van Bronckhorst opted to field two of the club’s brightest youth prospects in his starting line-up to face Dundee United last weekend.

The Ibrox side secured a battling 2-1 victory over the Tangerines to close the gap to just two points on Premiership leaders Celtic, who suffered their first defeat in 364 days after losing to St Mirren on Sunday.

Given the magnitude of the clash in the context of the title race, many observers were left questioning Van Bronckhorst’s decision to include 18-year-old centre-back Leon King and 20-year-old attacking midfielder Charlie McCann in his starting XI.

Leon King (middle) applauds the Ibrox fans after Rangers' 2-1 victory over Dundee United (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

Both players have been on the periphery of the first-team squad this season and they grasped their opportunity to impress in front of a 50,000 crowd.

Miller heaped praise on the highly-rated duo for catching the Dutchman’s eye but declared he didn’t expect them to start ahead of summer signings including Ben Davies and Rabbi Matondo.

Speaking on the Go Radio Football Show, he said: “They’re good players, there’s no doubt about it.

“Did I expect to see it? No I didn’t to be honest. Not when you have put that investment in to the backline but I think it shoes how much Giovanni trusts them.

“They’re obviously doing their best in training every day, showing up and have earned their slot because he wouldn’t have handed it to them if he felt they didn’t deserve it.

Rangers youngster Charlie McCann appeared as a substitute in the 3-1 win over Queen of the South. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

“McCann I have seen for a few years now and he’s a very, very good player. I think you saw it in spells with a few chances, he was one of the players in the second half that had really good opportunities in particular, in the same areas (Ryan) Kent and (Scott) Arifeld pick up but he completely missed it.

“But he’s a really good technical player, really intelligent footballer. It was great to see him get a game and even more pleasing is those players came in and won. They got on very well, both of them.”