Rangers loanee Barrie McKay has gotten his stint with Raith Rovers off to a roaring start. After impressing as a sub in his debut last week, McKay was enrolled as a injury replacement in the starting eleven & responded with a Man of the Match performance in Raith’s 0-0 draw with Falkirk.
“I’ve come here to try to get some game time & hopefully I can impress & go back to Rangers in January & play there, or if not, play here for the full season.”
McKay spoke with The Courier after the match – signaling his motives lay in his desire to play first team football – whether it be with Rangers or with Raith Rovers. “I’m still young & I’ve got a lot of the game to learn, but the faith the gaffer has shown in bringing me here gives me a lot of confidence.”
Confidence can often function as a truth serum to see authentic talent on display. If a player, regardless of age, loses his confidence his play suffers until that tranquil moment when momentum turns in the player’s favor again. For young players, it is the duty of a coaching staff to cultivate that confidence. It is difficult to pardon Rangers handling of McKay given that after making 41 appearances for Rangers in all competitions in 2012-13, he only received 65 minutes of first team football for the club last season. He was then sent out on loan to a woeful Morton side, which saw the 19-year old exposed to a toxic situation that did little to diffuse speculation of his own sour disposition.
McKay appears to have found a positive atmosphere with Raith Rovers. “They are all great lads here, they’ve all taken to me pretty well and are helping me by talking me through game. They realise I’m still young and have got a lot to learn with them, so that’s good for me.”
Shaughan McGuigan, from Tell Him He’s Pele, discussed McKay’s debut with Rangers Report. “I’d seen him a few times for Morton and hadn’t been impressed, but he looked really lively on Saturday – which was good to see. He impressed me, although he disappeared out the game for a 20 minute spell in the second half.”
“He swapped wings with Ryan Conroy a few times & gave both full-backs something to think about. Not everything came off & sometimes he made the wrong choice or wasted a good opportunity to cross, but his pace & directness were something we were lacking until Saturday so he was a welcome addition – quite encouraging overall.”
In a parallel universe, Steven Smith replaced an injured Lewis MacLeod.
The opportunity to replace MacLeod was impossible to foresee when McKay was loaned out, but all of the indicators have been that the youngster was not going to be in Rangers first team picture this season.
Now the question that, sadly, begs to be asked – is Barrie McKay better served staying with Raith Rovers for the rest of the season?