By George Overhill

26th Jan, 2022 | 10:30pm

Craig Moore and Neil McCann delighted by Alex Lowry's showing in 1st Rangers start

Craig Moore and Neil McCann were full of praise for Rangers youngster Alex Lowry’s reaction to being handed a first start against Livingston.

The 18-year-old saw a route into the first team open up with the season-ending injury suffered by Ianis Hagi last Friday, and he stepped up to the challenge early with his direct attacking play.

This was particularly the case in a sequence where he turned visiting defenders inside out to put a ball in that could have lead to the opener.

Speaking at half-time on the RangersTV broadcast, Australian ex-Ger Moore said: “Look how comfortable he is on the ball. That’s real confidence. Can go both ways. Stands the defender up. Put’s a great ball in and Itten’s got to be on the end of that, for me that should be a goal.

“Fantastic attacking play in that wider area. Just that ability to jink and go both sides gives him a lot of options.”

Former Dundee manager McCann was equally impressed, adding: “The confidence to go and try and eliminate people in the penalty box is exactly what you want from forward players.”

Highly encouraging

The circumstances that have caused the young Scottish attacker to be thrown into the starting line-up in a key league fixture are far from ideal.

Hagi scored the only Light Blues goal in the draw at Pittodrie last week but was subsequently injured against Stirling Albion in the cup and will be missing for months.

But if Lowry’s early showing is anything to go by, perhaps Giovanni van Bronckhorst has been forced into discovering a real gem earlier than planned.

The atmosphere at Ibrox would be enough to overwhelm some players on their first start whatever the situation, but with key absences, Celtic putting pressure on with their chase, and the controversial fall-out from the dropped points at Aberdeen, plenty of things combined to heighten matters.

But the teenager showed no sign of nerves and looks to have a big future at the club.

In other Rangers news, the club are reportedly not close to signing this January transfer target.