THE journey continues for Rangers next season but there was confirmation last night that one of their most promising young players has decided to go on ahead.
Charlie Telfer, once an star student of the Ibrox club's youth academy, will today sign for Dundee United.
It is a move which will take the 18-year-old midfielder into Scotland's top division at least a year before Rangers will be able to catch up; Telfer divining that he will given an opportunity to practise his skills in the top flight with a side which depends already on players his age. The midfielder last week represented Scotland Under-19s and found himself alongside two of the leading lights at Tannadice - Ryan Gauld, 18, and John Souttar, 17. Telfer will now follow them both back to Tayside and, he will hope, into United's first team.
Every inch of Telfer's slight frame betrays a young player still with some growing to do, while he only made his debut in the Rangers first team last year. He was on the Ochilview pitch for 22 minutes as the Ibrox side won 4-0 against Stenhousemuir. Still, his ability excited his coaches at Ibrox and the club dismissed an offer of £100,000 from United earlier in the campaign.
His promise is not one which Rangers have been able to keep, though, and Telfer will formalise his move to Tannadice this afternoon. He signs as a free agent but Rangers still warrant a development fee, the value of which will be decided upon by an independent panel if officials from both clubs reach an impasse.
Telfer had last week spoken of the factors which would decide his next move having allowed his contract at Rangers to expire. He discussed the offer from United with his family and wanted to be certain that he would be given the chance to play competitive matches and that he would command the faith of his manager.
The teenager was made aware of the high regard in which he is held by Jackie McNamara, the United manager who has been attentive in watching Telfer's progress at Murray Park. The midfielder is likely to have been impressed too, by McNamara's willingness to field young players.
To Souttar and Gauld can be added the names of Stuart Armstrong, Ryan Dow, Gary Mackay-Steven and Andrew Robertson, young players who have all grown to be prominent at United. "My aim for next season is to push for first-team football, wherever I am," said Telfer last week. The question of where seems now to have been answered.