SOMETHING almost lost in the aftermath of Rangers’ defeat by Aberdeen at Ibrox on Tuesday night is they ended the match with three teenagers in the team.

Debutant Aidan Wilson, who started, and substitute Jamie Barjonas are 18, as is Miles Beerman who played most of the game because Lee Hodson limped off early on. David Bates at 20 was a relative veteran in the back four.

Wilson showed up well on what was hardly an ideal night for him to be introduced to the Rangers first-team. He is tall, helpful for a centre-half, read the game fairly well and lasted the pace. ~He could be chuffed with his night’s work

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Read more: Steven Thompson: Pedro Caixinha needs to focus on fixing Rangers not commenting on other clubsHeraldScotland: Aidan Wilson

Rangers for an hour were hopeless and had it not been for Wes Foderingham who made four good saves and Aberdeen’s lack of composure, the 2-1 defeat would have been a lot heavier. However, the kids in the team could hardly be blamed for this or any other loss over a season the supporters will be glad to see the back of on Sunday.

Nobody can say for sure whether any of those mentioned above, plus another 18-year-old Serge Atakayi who was unused on Wednesday night will make it, but if any of the kids at Ibrox show even the smallest of hint of making the grade then they must be given a chance.

In fairness to Pedro Caixinha, so far he’s shown himself to be unafraid to pitch in the younger players albeit his hand has been forced by injury and, let’s be honest, a lack of quality within many senior members of the squad.

Read more: Steven Thompson: Pedro Caixinha needs to focus on fixing Rangers not commenting on other clubs

Whether the Portuguese is the answer we still don’t know. He’s been here for ten matches and won five, losing three times to the two teams above his. So far, so average but he had to be given a transfer window to rip up a squad full of Mark Warburton signings. Not even Antonio Conte could get another ring out of that bell.

You don’t win anything with kids is, of course, actually true. Alan Hansen’s prediction was wrong because that Manchester United team had some seriously good serious players around to compliment Fergie’s fledglings.

Can you finish second in the Scottish Premiership, perhaps get to a final and lay a glove on Celtic with some kids and better recruitment? The answer, probably, to that is yes.

For Rangers to move forward next season under the new manager, there has to be a healthy mixture of better recruits and some of the club’s youngsters in the match day squad - if said youngsters are up to it.

I think we can all agree that the great Warburton plan of signing guys from the English lower leagues plus some so-called big names whose best days were by some distance behind them was never a goer.

The problem for the likes of Bates over the last couple of months is that in an ideal world he would have been blooded into a winning, confident team, and not one who at times have been all over the place.

Read more: Steven Thompson: Pedro Caixinha needs to focus on fixing Rangers not commenting on other clubs

At least the likes of Bates, a Raith Rovers player last season, are going to get sniff which for a club with, shall we say, limited funds then a decent young system is a must.

“When the gaffer came in he obviously didn’t know much about me,” said Bates. “Now he knows what I can do and hopefully I will still be in his plans. I have played with Aidan a few times for the U20s so I know what he was capable of. I knew he had what it takes to come up and step up.

“A freak injury ended my season early at Raith last year but when I came back I knew I could play at this level.

“I was pulling my hair out at the start of the season when I was training with the first team but playing for the 20s. When I did come in against Kilmarnock the last full game I played was actually against Rangers last February.”

What you can’t get away from is that Rangers were poor again. Sure, they scored and had some half chances to equalise but that’s not even the least the supporters would be looking for.

All season there has been a big gaping hole in front of a far from sure defence where a defensive midfielder should be and where opposition playmakers have enjoyed themselves, as Aberdeen’s Graeme Shinnie and Kenny McLean did the other evening.

Read more: Steven Thompson: Pedro Caixinha needs to focus on fixing Rangers not commenting on other clubs

If any kid from the academy wants to get a game then they would do a lot worse than spending their summers watching footage of Claude Makelele

To be honest, with three or four exceptions, Caixinha could ship out almost every player. That’s not going to happen and so there will be a chance of Bates and the rest. Could they do any worse?

Charlie Nicholas might not be a hero to all Rangers fans but many would have agreed with his views on their team.

He said: “When the season started I thought to myself, ‘If they are competing with Hearts and St Johnstone they’ve done a decent job. They don’t have any top class footballers at all.

“They’ve a manager that’s walked in and thinks he owns our country, telling everybody what to do. He’s got the scattergun out and is telling everybody this is how it’s going to be.”

Rangers were poor again on Tuesday. It all ends in Perth on Sunday and the end can’t come quickly enough.

“We are all disappointed. To end the season at Ibrox with a defeat against one of our rivals is not great,” said Bates. “We wanted to go out with a win at home for the fans.

“We just never got going. Nothing went for us and we let them dictate the game. It is hard to take positives.

“Being a Rangers fan myself, if you are getting beat 2-0 at home by Aberdeen then it is disappointing. We shouldn’t be in that state.”