Andy Murdoch, Barry McKay, Kyle McAusland

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With young Andrew Murdoch having
such a stellar display at Stark’s Park on Friday night, banging in a pearling
25-yard sizzler into the bargain, it is worth revisiting the Ibrox youth
policy, and examining three of the most significant names whose fortunes have
contrasted vastly.
As per the title, this entry will
focus on three specific Murray
Park youth products and
focus on where their careers are.

Let us start at the top, with the
man of the hour, and currently the toast of Ibrox, Andrew Murdoch. 20 years
old, former unders captain young Andy broke into the first XI on the 8th
of this month when he replaced the dreadful Ian Black on the 74-minute mark v
Raith. I proposed we may have seen the last of Black in that match, and since
then he has been permanently on the bench with Murdoch snatching his place.
Murdoch really has taken his
chance with aplomb, with composure, workrate, vision and industry that has
been all-too-often absent from his more ‘illustrious’ peers – Murdoch has
thoroughly shown up not just Ian Black but the majority of the underperforming
first team, and that absolutely gorgeous goal in Fife on Friday summed up his
rise to prominence.
He has formed a truly solid
partnership (I am not going to call it incredible, this is Kyle Hutton &
Andy Murdoch, not Yaya Toure & Claude Makelele) with Hutton and both have
really helped this team achieve something resembling a bit of form.
Murdoch has been quite a find,
and deserves to remain in the first team for the foreseeable future.
Now we move onto the first step
on the scale down of frustration. Barrie McKay burst onto the scene in 2012
when he debuted at ‘the hedge’ of Brechin
City. While I would not
allude him to Ronaldinho or anything hysterical, he did show a deft flick,
vision, skill, craft, and pace, and looked like he was a ready-made replacement
for the likes of the departed Aluko on the left.
Aged only 17 on that debut, his
maturity was astoundingly beyond his years, and young McKay managed a very
respectable run of games till manager Ally McCoist dropped him. The story
initially was ‘burn out’ but then oddly the same logic did not seem to be
applying to any other young player like Lewis Macleod.
As time wore on, McKay was
increasingly frozen out the first team, despite the quality he had clearly
shown, and half way into League 2, he found himself shipped out on loan to
Morton. This infuriated fans who had felt he would be part of the team in a
significant capacity that season, but instead he made few appearances and ended
up in Greenock.
He returned in the summer of 2014
with hopes of finally resurrecting his Rangers career but once again McCoist
did not look twice at loaning him out again and he made the trip to Fife to join Rovers on loan.
When Ally left the job, the
promise of youth players being given a chance by Kenny McDowall seemed to
especially relate to McKay, but once again it was another false dawn as the youngster,
temporarily back at Ibrox at the end of his previous loan, found himself on a
return journey back to Kirkcaldy.
He remains there to this day, and
one can only wonder what McCoist and McDowall saw/see in the likes of Steven
Smith and the perennially underperforming David Templeton to prefer them over
McKay on the left always.
Once this season is over, the
(misguided) hope is a new regime will finally see a developed and mature McKay
back at Ibrox and very much part of the new era.
Last but not least we come to the
most frustrating one of the lot: Kyle McAusland. Another youth product from Murray Park,
Kyle rose in stature when he filled in in 2013 during the ‘trialist’ period at
right-back when Rangers were not allowed to field any more than three of their
new signings, and they had to be registered as trialists rather than full
signings.
McAusland slotted in perfectly on
the right during such impressive wins as the Albion Rovers away win in the-then
Ramsden’s Cup and looked every inch the worthy candidate for that RB slot.
Until, that is, McCoist decided he had had enough of him too and froze him out
as soon as Richard Foster was available. McAusland was shipped out pronto to Ayr, before he went through the same hoops McKay has with
a subsequent spell at Brechin.
The difference here is McAusland,
rather than now being on loan with yet another club (or the same one) from 2015
onwards was instead let go entirely by McDowall and joined Dunfermline
on a free.
Great work, leaving Rangers with
Foster while we thoroughly strengthened a team whose fans chanted various
hate-filled nonsense at the club during Rangers’ visit there.
So there we have it, the curious
scale of Rangers’ youth success down to the bizarre ‘failure’. The youth scheme
at Ibrox has been a disaster at best and non-existent at worst. For every Andy
Murdoch who breaks through, a glut of equally good players (McKay, McAusland,
Gasparotto, Telfer) either get let go or rot at lower-league teams instead.
The team would be so much better
these days if priority had been given to McKay and not Smith, or McAusland and
not Foster.
But, what will be, sadly, will
be.

8 COMMENTS

  1. What about Charlie Telfer. Not deemed good enough to cut it in SPFL1 but is now a first team regular a Dundee Utd. The biggest mistake we made on "The journey" was not getting shot of McCoist earlier when his failings as a manager were glaringly obvious for all to see . The sooner we get McDowell out the door the better or we will make the same mistakes with the youth again and again.

  2. McCoist and McDowall in my opinion were scared of playing the youth incase they outdone the legions of so called experience players we brought in over the last three years. there is a case for a few youngsters playing on a regular basis but with a club so out of touch and a Murray Park set up in ruin how can any more good young player be given a chance when theres a genuine fear of giving them a fair chance in the Rangers squad.

    Going over the players mentioned in this blog. why McAusland is always hyped up is beyond me he hardly played for us to even be considered a good enough player for us. McKay in my opinion should have brought back from his loan spell and given a role in the Rangers side either on the left or a free role behind a striker. he has improved since being out on loan. And Murdoch seems a far better fit then Black and seems to be doing the basics right and playing well in midfield.

  3. The urgent priority for the incoming board and manager will be to recognise which youth players are out of contract and need to be persuaded to sign a new one. Gasparotto I beleive is out of contract and given the preference for McCulloch we could hardly blame him for not resigning.

    We need to make it clear to him and all others that things will change and that youth will be given opportunities next season and beyond

  4. Can I ask the question where is Callum Gallagher? we have three ageing strikers that McCoist brought in Boyd,Miller and Daly and in most games its a combination of them they lack mobility pace and ball skill but get a game because of the way McCoist set the team up dark age football indeed We need a new management team sooner than later or we will lose the good young players we have and there are quite a few who can make it

  5. The question is was there a cunning plan, with the crap Board we've got where would these young ones be? Probably sold on for a pittance, with them being loaned out they are at least getting game time and experience which is what they need to be a force on our return to the premiership. I don't buy what happened to Lewis, I believe the Board forced his hand for the money and ensured there was a clause in his contract preventing him telling the truth. Until we get a Board change and some stability in the management the youngsters are better out on loan, out of sight out of the Board's mind and greedy mits, returning next season when the dead wood can be got rid off. So Baldrick we have a cunning plan, no.

  6. Question – When has there ever been a successful youth policy at Rangers?,, Have we ever churned out top class players on a fast running conveyor belt?,, Answer- No. As long as we continue to hire sub standard, jobs for the boys, money grabbing coaches, then Rangers will always be at the lowest end of youth production. We need to adopt what the successful countries are doing to produce class player, Germany for example,, who are never out of world cup and european finals every single season,,They have the technical and skill football brains like no other country,,,, who do we have?,,, McCoist, McDowall, Durie and Durrant,,, no wonder we have the Hibs, Hearts and the rest of scottish football quaking in their boots!!!

  7. I think your doing Temps a disservice here Ibrox Noise.When he came into the fold down the left with Waldo they had a great understanding (albeit 3rd div) and only really injuries played a part in him losing a regular starting place until Ally's (2nd season) signings arrived.I'm not in any way doing down young Barry,tho preferred him playing more on a slightly freer role on the right side where I thought he ran at defenders with options of going inside or out to good effect during 1st 6 month of that season.Ally ruined our young up and coming players,just look at the young right back Andy Mitchell who played great when given a run and earned 2 man of the match awards.This didn't stop him being dropped when the same signings entered the fray,and it's really just a waste of talent for a lot of these kids,thanks to Ally n Kenny n Durranty,who were to lazy to develop them !
    Sad days !

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