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Where are they now: Rangers’ last five young players of the year

We look at the club’s last five Young Player of the Year award winners.

Ruari Macneil

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Rangers
Photo: Getty Images

The last five seasons have been the toughest half decade that Rangers have ever faced in their long and illustrious history.

Scotland’s most successful football have club have endured a number of seasons in the lower leagues of Scottish professional football, attempting to right the wrongs of their punishment since going into administration, fighting their way back from Scottish League Two to the Premiership.

Over the course of the half-decade, many players have come and go, and the club has also seen a number of different managers take the reigns.

With the current season drawing to a near close, we are going to explore the past five winners of the clubs’ Young Player of the Year award, and see where they are in their careers.

2016/2017- Emerson Hyndman

USA international central-midfielder Emerson Hyndman picked up the Rangers’ Young Player of the Year award last season whilst on loan from Bournemouth.

The 22-year-old only joined up with the Light Blues for the second half of the season, but his 17 appearances were enough to earn him the award after an impressive showing in what was a torrid first season for the club back in Scotland’s top flight.

The American is still owned by Bournemouth but has only made three appearances so far this season under Eddie Howe, none of which have come in the Premier League.

Still awaiting his league debut for the Cherries, the upcoming campaign will be a make or break year for the USA star.

2015/2016 – Barrie McKay

Barrie McKay picked up the Young Player of the Year award in 2016 after a stunning showing in the Scottish Championship which saw the youngster play nearly every game in the league campaign, finishing the season with a whopping 48 appearances.

McKay has since left Rangers and now plies his trade with Nottingham Forest, where he has similarly become a first team regular for the Championship outfit.

Highly rated at Ibrox, McKay made 140 appearances for the Light Blues before moving on and even earned a Scotland cap during his final season at the club.

An academy graduate, his Rangers career saw him help the club to three promotions, from the bottom of the professional football system back to the top flight.

2014/2015 – Andy Murdoch

Midfielder Andy Murdoch made 14 league appearances for Rangers in 14/15 which saw him end the season on a high by picking up the Young Player of the Year award.

The following season saw the youngster loaned out to Queen of the South, only for the player to be sold two summers ago to Scottish Championship outfit Greenock Morton.

Since joining Morton, Murdoch has become a first team regular for the promotion hopefuls, making over a half-century of appearances for the club in his first couple of seasons.

Once a very highly rated young Rangers star, Murdoch will be disappointed his Ibrox career never fruition having spent five years in the youth academy prior to his debut.

2013/2014 – Fraser Aird

Canadian-Scot Fraser Aird picked up the Young Player of the Year award with his boyhood club back in 2014, after making 37 appearances for Rangers.

A regular down the right-flank, whether that be as a winger or a right-back, Aird was a fan favourite at Ibrox, moving on to play for Falkirk in 2016.

Aird is now a full Canadian international with eight caps to his name, and currently plays for Dunfermline in the Scottish Championship, where is a regular starter for the club.

Interestingly, Aird’s only goal for Canada so far has come against Scotland, netting the opener in a 1-1 draw at Easter Road in 2017.

2012/2013 – Lewis Macleod

Lewis Macleod spent eight years in the Rangers academy before earning his debut back in 12/13, going on to become the club’s Young Player of the Year in his first season after making 29 appearances as an 18-year-old.

Having spent three seasons as a regular in the first team amassing 74 appearances in the blue shirt, Macleod has since moved on to Brentford where he has spent the last four seasons.

Game time has been a bit more difficult to come by for the youngster in the Championship and Macleod has only played 20 games for his new club.

Nonetheless, compared to some of the other former winners of the club’s Young Player of the Year award, he is plying his trade at a high level and can be pleased at that.

Life long lover of sport in general with a soft spot for football. A consistent defender of Scottish football as a spectacle. Desperately waiting to see my country qualify for a major tournament.

Rangers

Arsenal reportedly once wanted Rangers newbie in £10.25m deal

Steven Gerrard has lured the Nigerian to Ibrox and the Rangers star could be a hit in Glasgow.

Mathew Nash

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Rangers have completed the signature of AS Roma forward Umar Sadiq this week. The 6ft 3ins attacker has arrived on a season-long loan deal at Ibrox and will be tasked with adding attacking intent to Steven Gerrard’s side.

The 21-year-old is a top talent and has long been heralded as a star of the future for the Giallorossi. Last season he scored five goals in 12 games for NAC Breda during a loan spell in the Eredivisie. So Rangers are right to be excited.

If Rangers fans are looking for another reason to get excited about the young forward. He has been linked with a move to the Premier League in the past, namely Arsenal.

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Back in 2016 La Repubblica, as reported by the International Business Times, suggested that Arsenal had a £10.25 million bid for the player rejected.

It was a move that had Arsenal fans excited, as Sadiq was being tipped as a future star.


“Yes, there is interest from Arsenal but at this moment nothing is done.”

– Umar Sadiq’s agent Mohammed Lawal in 2016


Now it seems that Rangers have got a hold of a player that Arsene Wenger once rated highly enough to make a big bid for. That was not even too long ago, just two years.

If Rangers boss Steven Gerrard can get the best out of Sadiq at Ibrox then they might finally be able to rival Glasgow rivals Celtic in the scoring department next season.

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Rangers

Joe Hart would surely pick Rangers over Celtic in Old Firm choice

Joe Hart has been linked with a Steven Gerrard reunion at Ibrox and Rangers should be his only choice if heading to Glasgow.

Mathew Nash

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Joe Hart is set to leave Manchester City this summer. The club want to let the former England number one leave permanently to give him a chance to play regularly elsewhere. Owing him for his service to the club, they are set to allow a move anywhere for the stopper- who has had two mediocre loan spells at Torino and West Ham respectively.

Two teams that have been linked with the stopper are Celtic and Rangers. As reported by the Scottish Sun, the Old Firm pair are among the favourites to sign the keeper this summer.

It would, of course, need to see Hart take a massive pay cut but a move to Glasgow might be exactly what Hart needs. That is, if he moved to Ibrox.

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

If Hart is to leave for Glasgow, then Rangers is where he should go.

Celtic would still have Craig Gordon standing in Hart’s way at Parkhead. Rangers, on the other hand, need a new stopper. It appears Steven Gerrard is not a fan of Wes Foderingham and Rangers, therefore, do have a gap in the goalkeeping department.

Hart would be the perfect man to fill it. With 75 caps for his nation the City stopper has bags of experience at the top level and Gerrard, a former England colleague, will know all too well what Hart can bring to the team.

If he does end up having to choose between Celtic and Rangers then it is a no-brainer for the struggling stopper. Ibrox would be the perfect location to get his career back on track.

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Leeds United

Oli McBurnie ready for Swansea campaign after summer of transfer rumours

Rangers wanted to bring him to Ibrox whilst Leeds reportedly wanted him at Elland Road.

Mathew Nash

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This summer saw Oli McBurnie strongly linked with a move away from Swansea City. The two clubs perhaps most strongly linked with his signature were Leeds United and Rangers. With good reason as well.

First of all, both sides needed strikers. In Leeds’ case, the West Yorkshire city is home to McBurnie. He also played under the manager at Leeds before the start of June Paul Heckingbottom at Barnsley.

Rangers also made sense. They needed a cheap striker and McBurnie, a Scotland, is a huge Rangers fan. A move to Ibrox would have been a dream come true for the player.

But it seems that any lingering hope any team had for McBurnie heading to Leeds or Glasgow is now over. The striker has bequeathed his services to Swansea this season. He spoke of his excitement at playing with the club in the Championship next term on their official website.

(xxxx of Derby County is tackled by xxxx of Barnsley during the Sky Bet Championship match between Derby County and Barnsley at iPro Stadium on May 6, 2018 in Derby, England.

Leeds fans had already accepted that McBurnie was not heading their way. At the start of May, the YEP reported how Leeds were ‘hot for’ the striker, who scored 19 goals in 36 games for Swansea’s under-23s and Barnsley last season.

But as soon as Heckingbottom got the sack a deal looked unlikely.

Rangers were still being linked as recently as June. The self-proclaimed fan of the club McBurnie was waxing lyrical about Steven Gerrard’s appointment in the Daily Record.

But Rangers, as well as Leeds, have missed out. McBurnie will now be hoping to find the net and the starting XI regularly at Swansea City next season.

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