"He looks as if he is going to be a really good player. At the games he has been playing at under-19 level and the reserves, he has shown that age is no barrier. John is not going to feature just because it is in the cup. It also has nothing to do with the under-21 rule. John is just a lad that will feature early."
The 16-year-old is the nephew of former Rangers and Norwich striker Robert Fleck, to whom he bears more than a passing physical resemblance.
"John is not similar to Robert," insisted Smith, however. "You would say that Robert was an out and out striker, a real predator, where maybe John is more a striker back the way and can play deeper. So their styles are different."
Fleck is part of an impressive under-17 group at Rangers, including Grant Adam, the goalkeeper and younger brother of first team player Charlie, and Scott Durie, the defender and son of former Ibrox star Gordon.