Rangers boss Gio van Bronckhorst will have big plans this summer as he looks to revamp the Ibrox squad in a bid to reclaim the Premiership title.
Not only that, after reaching the Europa League final last term there is little doubt that the Dutchman will be targeting an extended run in European competitions next term. So it was back to the grind for the Ibrox first-team on Monday with the Champions League playoff rounds fast approaching.
The likes of Joe Aribo and Calvin Bassey are yet to return with their pre-season extended by international fixtures with Nigeria, with Aribo rounding off last season with a massive 70 games under his belt. And while Van Bronckhorst and his coaching staff led the session with some of the first names on the team sheet like Connor Goldson and James Tavernier, there were a hand full of lesser spotted stars getting their chance to grab the eye in the absence of Rangers ‘ regulars.
Mateusz Zukowski was put through his paces having made just one appearance for the club since his January move from Lechia Gdansk.
Having been brought in as a successor to Nathan Patterson, the 20-year-old will hope to challenge James Tavernier for a starting spot, but at Auchenhowie the duo linked up for a training drill.
Forgotten Jack Simpson has barely featured since Van Bronckhorst took charge, making just three appearances since Steven Gerrard left the hot seat. With John Souttar arriving the pressure is on Simpson to make a case for his spot in the squad, and he linked up with Scott Arfield and co during a passing drill.
Nikola Katic is another who will be looking to make a case to start at centre-back this season having returned from his loan at Hadjuk Split. He was back in Rangers colours and will hope he can mount a challenge for a starting spot next term after an injury-hampered two-year spell.
It could be a make or break season for Glenn Middleton at Ibrox, and he was reporting for duty at Auchenhowie after the end of his spell at St Johnstone. The 22-year-old will hope he can use the pre-season platform to catch Van Bronckhorst’s attention.