Coleraine manager Oran Kearney is relishing this Friday night’s friendly encounter with Rangers at The Showgrounds.
The Ibrox side will be made up of the Gers most promising young stars as well as the likes of Andy Murdoch and Robbie Crawford, who have both featured for the first team and are very highly rated at the club.
Murdoch signed on at Murray Park in 2007 as part of the under-14s set-up and has progressed through the youth ranks in the past few seasons.
He impressed so much in his 17 games for the first team last term he was voted Young Player of the Year by the supporters.
“It was a good season for me as I made my first start and then had to carry on from there,” the 20-year-old told the club website.
“Back in pre-season I didn’t really play that much in America so I doubted if I was going to be involved when we came back.
“I eventually came off the bench against Raith and did ok when I went on. The following week I started against Hibs and then I scored at Stark’s Park which is probably the best thing that has happened to me this season. “
Murdoch is hoping to press on this season under new boss Mark Warburton.
“It’s encouraging for the youth side to know that, if you do well, you’ll get a chance to go round there and train with the first team,” he said.
“The new manager means everyone has got a fresh start. Everyone is starting from scratch and you’ve just got to show him what you’re capable of and hope he likes you.”
So with the likes of Murdoch out to impress Kearney knows Friday night’s game will be the toughest of pre-season.
“It will be a good test for us, and I’ve no doubt it will be our toughest workout of pre-season,” he told Times Sport.
“It will be a good chance for our boys to take on a very good side.
“The lads have been working very hard in pre-season, I couldn’t ask any more of them. At this stage it’s all about training and working on the fitness levels.
“We are making very good progress and tonight’s game is another step towards the opening fixture against Glentoran on August 8th.
“We are expecting a large crowd and a great atmosphere on Friday night, which will make it a special occasion for everyone involved. Rangers are a massive draw and everyone is looking forward to it.
“There has been a lot of hard work put in to make this match happen, and I would like to thank everyone who has made it possible.”
Tickets for the game are still on sale from the Coleraine FC Secretary’s office (weekday mornings only) and via the Coleraine FC Social Club (evenings and weekends). Tickets are also available for pre-booking by contacting the Coleraine FC General Manager (028 7035 3655, weekday mornings only), but will also be available for purchase on the evening of the match.
Other outlets are as follows: Coleraine - Jean McCormick’s Newsagents, The Sweet Briar; Portstewart - The Tophouse; Portrush - Seaside Savers, Carrick Dhu Caravan Site, Juniper Hill Caravan Site; Garvagh - Rangers Supporters Club; Limavady - D & G Fashions; Bushmills - The Scotch House; Armoy - The Rooks Nest; Portballintrae - Today’s Local Shop.