There’s no question the name on everyone’s lips now is that of Stephen Kelly, with the Auchenhowie kid having a barnstorming pre-season and playing a prominent role in all of the matches.
Well, we do him a disservice – Kelly isn’t a kid any more, he’s 21, and his composed and confident displays this summer have given Steven Gerrard a fantastic headache, because the reality is Rangers’ manager would be insulting the lad to put him out on loan again.
We know, it’s only pre-season, but some players really are staking a claim – Kelly is a major one such candidate, and at his age now he is 100% of the calibre that can establish himself in the senior squad.
He CAN be the first ever Steven Gerrard loanee to return and affirm himself in the first team, because he’s not been a fish out of water against Arsenal, Brighton or anyone else – and these are PL teams here.
Yes, Kelly has the tools to make it in the game, to make it at Ibrox. Just like his team mate and fellow graduate Nathan Patterson, Kelly every inch has the chance to become a regular for Steven Gerrard, but we’re not going to pretend it’s going to be easy.
He has Glen Kamara, Steven Davis, Ryan Jack and Joe Aribo to name just four of the marquee players in midfield ahead of him, but he’s done his case absolutely no harm at all.
Will Stevie really give another Auchenhowie kid the Ibrox floor?
It’s about damn time!
After Nathan Patterson’s breakthrough, the signs are there the manager is impressed enough with some of the products of the Academy that he’s willing to give them a go in the seniors.
And Patterson and now Kelly are taking their chances. And taking them well.
Whether the latter will be involved v Livi or the CL opener remains to be seen, but he’s thrown his hat in the mix alright.