Rangers Women: Gregory Vignal made head coach as club aim to add pro players
Rangers have appointed former men's team left-back Gregory Vignal as women's team head coach as they plan a move towards a professional set-up.
They will achieve this by integrating their women's first-team and academy into the Scottish Premiership club's football department.
It will allow the recruitment of professional players and turn some existing players professional.
Rangers director of football Mark Allen is "incredibly proud" of the move.
"This is an incredible opportunity for the club to bring the women's football up to the same standard as the men's game," he told his club website.
"Women's football has been thrust into the global consciousness with the World Cup this summer and now we have the chance to grow Rangers' brand globally within the women's game."
Rangers currently lie a distant fourth behind Hibernian and Celtic in the Scottish Women's Premier League, with holders Glasgow City five points clear at the top midway through the 2019 season.
City rivals Celtic announced last year that they plan to become the first fully professional team in Scotland.
Vignal's switch from youth coach means that current head coach Amy McDonald, a former Scotland defender, becomes women's and girls' football manager, with the women's section now coming under the remit of Allen and head of academy Craig Mullholland.
Rangers' board agreed in November to increase investment and the latest move means the women's team will play their home games at the Hummel Training Centre when the second half of their season resumes in August, with a new stand built to meet SWPL requirements.
McDonald said: "This is a truly significant move for Rangers and women's football within Scotland.
"This gives us the opportunity to recruit better players who are established within the game, which in turn helps Rangers improve performances and results on the pitch.
"We recently saw three former academy graduates in Scotland's World Cup squad and we are now in a position to develop a structure and team attractive enough to keep those players longer."