When a new star rises from the rich and verdant flowerbeds of Auchenhowie, it gets all too easy to be overexcited about their prospects.
Sadly, in recent seasons Rangers lost out on Billy Gilmour, but equally snapped up Nathan Young-Coombes and have seen Ross McCrorie bloom too.
But this pre-season has given rise to a brand new starlet, an attacker who not only won Academy Player of the Year but was courted by some of Europe’s biggest sides with Liverpool and Roma among those trying to poach the 17-year old away from Ibrox.
And while ‘it was only Mansfield’, McPake’s composed and diligent performance in the first of the two friendlies so far played pointed at just why this winger is causing heads to turn and why Rangers are trying desperately to secure his extended services.
Currently on a deal expiring next year, this wunderkid is coveted big time, and he has a seriously big future in the game if his next few years are managed correctly.
And we can’t help feeling a move to a European giant like Roma or Liverpool would be the worst thing he could do.
Danny Wilson’s career took a real tumble when he went south to Anfield, and aforementioned Gilmour’s Chelsea career is hardly exactly taking off. He’s consistently in Chelsea’s youth side in the Premier League 2, but as yet hasn’t taken that step up to the first team and at 18 he’ll be wondering if he’s good enough to.
After all, colleague Callum Hudson-Odoi, at the same age, and arguably in an even more demanding position at the wing, has already played for Chelsea a stonking 28 times and he did so at age 17.
A massive European club might sound alluring to a starry-eyed kid who’s tempted by the league and name and money, but the best advice to avoid drowning is to stay put – it really is the best move for his development and chances of thriving in a healthy environment without sinking without trace.
So McPake, currently aged the same as Hudson-Odoi was until recently, really would be best served remaining at Ibrox – and his performances the past year have suggested a special talent Rangers would be rich for retaining.
It’s not often Rangers get excited about one of our own players coming through the Academy, but McPake looks like he could well be of the stuff to go places in the game.
And hopefully those places are with Rangers.