RONALD de Boer has urged his former club Rangers to follow the Ajax blueprint for success as they step up their bid to challenge Celtic for the major honours in Scottish football once again – by putting their faith in home-grown talent.

Ibrox manager Steven Gerrard has admitted he is keen to sign several quality players this summer who can enable his side to beat their city rivals to the Betfred Cup, Ladbrokes Premiership and William Hill Scottish Cup trophies next season.

However, De Boer, the Dutch striker who helped the Govan club win the treble back in 2003, feels Gerrard should look to promote the best young talents coming through the ranks at the Hummel Training Centre as well.

HeraldScotland: Ronald De Boer in action in the 2003 Scottish Cup finalRonald De Boer in action in the 2003 Scottish Cup final

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Ajax have reached the Champions League quarter-finals this season – they will play the first leg of their last eight double header against Juventus in the Johan Cruyff Arena this evening – after investing more heavily in the transfer market in the last few seasons than was previously the case.

But the Amsterdam club have continued to promote products of their renowned youth system as well - no fewer than seven of them played in their 4-1 win over defending champions Real Madrid in the Bernabeu last month.

Liverpool and England great Gerrard has given extensive game time to Ross McCrorie and Glenn Middleton in the 2018/19 campaign and has also played Serge Atakayi, Jordan Houston and Stephen Kelly.

De Boer, the former Dutch internationalist who is now assistant manager of the Ajax A1 or under-19 team, reckons there are definite benefits to handing promising youngsters their chance and believes doing so will help to ensure long-term success for Rangers.

“I am in favour of giving the kids time,” he said. “Rangers shouldn’t think they have to challenge Celtic right away. At the end of the day, when you bring through your own players your club will be so healthy. It is also great for the fans to have local boys in their team. That is something special.

HeraldScotland: Ronald De Boer closes down Neil Lennon during an Old Firm game in December, 2002Ronald De Boer closes down Neil Lennon during an Old Firm game in December, 2002

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“If you put a lot of money into the youth system like we do at Ajax then in the end you will get the results. When that is working properly, when you have good youth coaches, then you will always be a very healthy club.

“Sometimes you have a good generation and you have four or five players who come through to the first team. But you are also doing well if you have one or if you are lucky two coming through into the first team. That is a very healthy situation.

“I think Rangers should look to do it more and not just focus on signing players for the first team. It always starts with the foundation and the pillars of success are the youth.”