The class of 2012 – how it changed for Rangers’ Barrie McKay and Lewis Macleod

The class of 2012 – how it changed for Rangers’ Barrie McKay and Lewis Macleod
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - MAY 04: Lewis MacLeod of Rangers reacts during the IRN - BRU Scottish Third Division match between Rangers and Berwick Rangers at Ibrox Stadium on May 4, 2013 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The careers of Barrie McKay and Lewis Macleod really couldn’t have ended up much more different. Don’t get us wrong, McKay didn’t end up a world class superstar by any stretch, but after a stuttering time at Swansea, he eventually found a respectable level at Hearts and is doing very well at Tynecastle with 10 assists and a couple of goals in 32 outings.

Meanwhile Macleod went through injury hell at the tail end of his Rangers career and never regained any footing whatsoever, barely putting in an appearance for Brentford and is now a free agent the past 10 months at 27.

Of the two, Macleod was the one we’d expected more from. His talent at Ibrox unmistakable and his maturity way beyond his tender years of then 18. McKay too was impressing us, but we didn’t really expect him to have a remarkable career once he left Rangers, and he’s ended up a solid journeyman, doing respectably at a fairly modest expectation level.

It’s Macleod we really do feel sorry for. He probably doesn’t want that, doesn’t want anyone’s sympathy, with just 68 appearances (including subs) in 7 years.

But we can’t help it, we wanted more for him.

He was one we’d hoped would return to Ibrox in his 20s, ready to be captain and realise his destiny.

But it couldn’t have worked out further from that if it tried.

Speaking to the excellent Open Goal he said:

“I signed injured (for Brentford) and that was another thing. About a month after I signed for Brentford, I was just doing straight line running, the physio took me to this bit of the training ground that was dodgy, basically had a bit of a hole in it. I’m running, legs went down the hole and hamstrings went again. A week later they’ve put in the paper, ‘Lewis Macleod injured tripped over a twig.’ But that was that. 18 months, I never played for Brentford. I got back from that, played 10 games or so, first 5 games flying, had 6 assists and I was buzzing after 18 months. Dean smith pulls me into the office and says I’m going to rest you a wee bit, you’ve not played a lot of football. I said ‘I’ve got the freshest legs in world football and i want to play!’ I came on as a sub in the next couple of games. We were playing QPR away and I came on for the last 20 minutes. There’s 10 mins to go and I tore my ACL. After being out for 18 months, played 10 games, I tore my ACL and that was me for another year. In three, four years of football, I played about 10 games. It was horrible.”

He really should have had more from his career – he had all the potential in the world to be a top player.

But it just didn’t work out.

As for McKay, he can be pleased – he’s got a solid gig with Hearts, he’s doing well there, and age is on his side to aspire to more.

Sliding Doors really with these two.

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