Ibroxnoise.co.uk has written about and praised Barrie McKay for well over three years now.
Having witnessed his impressively mature debut at the hedge of Brechin in 2012, complete with deft flicks, visionary passes and composed, speedy dribbling, it was evident from that moment Rangers had a very special talent on their wing.
Indeed, that maturity belied his tender teen years, and in truth he was the stand out performer on that very first rung of Rangers’ journey back to where they truly belong – it looked like Ally McCoist, along with fellow youth graduate Lewis Macleod, had unearthed a complete gem, and could build the whole team around young McKay.
And of course, he had. He had unearthed a gem, and everyone in the football world who watched a focused McKay knew just how talented and capable this young man was.
But, as another example of McCoist’s inept management McKay simply did not get a look in after October. Indeed, loans at Morton and Raith only further rubbed salt in McKay’s wounds of being rejected by his senior manager, be it McCoist or later Kenny McDowall.
Barrie has returned to Ibrox, after over 36 months of patience, of waiting for his chance to shine under the real lights of the Main Stand, and he has taken it with aplomb.
It is no wonder his manager Mark Warburton has gushed with praise over McKay’s input this season – but he did not know him before he became Rangers manager. We did – we all saw over and over again the talent and culture of this exciting winger, and we were routinely frustrated by his loans, his absences, and his general inability to curry favour with the post-Walter pre-Warburton regime.
But now a real manager is in charge and he sees what everyone else with sense did:
“When you go to a new club as manager, it’s a blank canvas. You can’t have any pre-conceived ideas about players. I didn’t know much about Barrie, but from the first day at training he caught the eye. He is technically outstanding, the quickest thing at the club, he’s only 20 years old, he can play wide left or right, in central midfield, he can play the eight or ten position. What’s not to like about Barrie? He could be a real gem. He has the potential to be a real talent at this football club. He’ll get better and better. With younger players, the key is consistency. It’s easy when you’re young to have four or five games at a high level, then have a drop off – and sometimes a big drop-off. Barrie’s started most games this season but he had one small drop-off and we had a chat to him and his reaction was great. So consistency is important and the quality of his end product is the other one. He’s got the technique, he’s got the awareness, he sees a pass, but many times it’s just that quality of final cross, final pass, final shot. The better that is, the better we’re going to be as a team and the better he’ll be as an individual. He’s been out on loan, he’s done the hard bit, I’m sure he’s suffered in terms of people saying he’s peaked too early, but he’s a real talent and I’ve no doubt he could go and play at the highest level.”
The only negative for McKay this season was being dropped for the visit of St Johnstone. That will have hurt him, and he will be determined to prove himself indispensible to the Magic Hat.
Since that fateful defeat, he has started every match. Admittedly he has often been subbed off but he is getting his starts and having a major influence.
The sky is the limit for McKay, and he could not be under a better manager to guide him.