By Adefunmiloye Alani

12th Jan, 2022 | 9:40am

Graeme Murty admits regrets at not giving Billy Gilmour Rangers debut

Graeme Murty has told the Scottish Sun he should have handed Billy Gilmour his Rangers first-team debut back in 2017 shortly before he joined Chelsea.

The former head coach for the Light Blues development squad was put in temporary charge at the time, and the Scotland international midfielder was proving himself in the academy.

Rangers played against Hamilton in Scottish Cup, strolling to a 6-0 win, and Murty rues not naming the 20-year-old in his matchday squad, missing out on the chance to throw him in action.

He told The Scottish Sun: “I should have played Billy. It was a Cup game — the only time we could have played him at 15. I still regret it because he deserved to play and the thing that held him back from the pitch was me.

“I didn’t put him on the bench. I actually talked myself into protecting the club and making sure we got through, instead of enhancing this kid and getting him on the pitch.

“It’s really important at Rangers you get to the next round, so you go through every potential scenario in the game — apart from the one that came up.

“It was the only time I operated from thinking, ‘What happens if we don’t win this one? I need to have a senior member on the bench. How can I shoehorn Billy in?’

“But we ended up winning 6-0. And I could’ve been the manager who played the youngest player in Rangers history in Billy.”

Painful

Gilmour never got to make his senior team boy for his childhood club and is currently on loan with Norwich City.

He was linked with a temporary return to Ibrox in the summer as Chelsea opted to send him where his development can continue, but it was the Canaries who won the race for his signature.

He has won the Champions League since leaving Rangers, emerging as the Blues Academy Player of the Year in 2019-20.

Gilmour immediately hit the ground running in London, winning both the under-18 Premier League and FA Youth Cup in 2017-18, and he has a bright future ahead of him.

The Light Blues recently lost another academy graduate to the Premier League, with Nathan Patterson joining Everton.

Unlike Gilmour, the 20-year-old got to feature for the first-team on a number of occasions, with Steven Gerrard handing him his debut.

Patterson also featured under Giovanni van Bronckhorst, and the Dutchman will be keen to give chances to some of the academy kids going forward.

That could happen this season once they wrap up the title with some games to spare.

In other Rangers news, a report has shared which players GvB will allow to leave Ibrox this month.