Should Barrie McKay Be Included In The Rangers Team For The Game Against Celtic?
Barrie McKay has been one of Rangers’ better players in recent times, scoring 10 goals from midfield, since breaking into the team back in 2012. His career reached new heights last May when he was awarded his first full Scotland cap, having previously represented his country at under-18, under-19, and under-21 levels.
He is in contention as usual for a place in the Rangers side when they meet champions and bitter rivals Celtic in the Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden Park this Sunday, as well as the follow-up Old Firm game at Ibrox a week later.
Since Pedro Caixinha arrived, McKay has not been used with quite the same regularity, and to be fair you can see why. McKay has managed 4 goals and 11 assists this season which is not a bad record. But when it is broken down though, it reads less impressively.
McKay’s only Premiership goals have come against Hearts (at home) and St.Johnstone. His cup goals and assists have come against Morton, Hamilton, Annan, East Stirling, Stranraer and Queen of the South. With the greatest of respect, those are not stellar line-ups.
McKay was left on the bench for the impressive win at Pittodrie against Aberdeen and was substituted at half-time against Partick – a team which had drawn their game against Celtic and were 5 games unbeaten. It does beg the question then; can McKay do it against the best teams?
Those achievements and disappointments are consigned to history now but they are not unimportant. No goals or assists against the likes of Aberdeen or Celtic would leave the manager well within his rights to question McKay’s true impact on the team.
Caixinha went with Emerson Hyndman on the left of the attacking midfield three at Aberdeen and then replaced McKay with Joe Dodoo midway through the last game at Ibrox. So with no one player standing out as yet in his place, it seems harsh to say he should definitely be replaced.
However, with Hyndman perhaps more comfortable in the middle and Dodoo having registered a goal or an assist every 68 minutes in the first team this season from McKay’s position, it starts to look bad for the man from Paisley.
Having also been replaced after 66 minutes during Caixinha’s first game in charge; McKay’s time in the first XI looks like it could be up, at least temporarily. At only 22 McKay’s best football is still ahead of him but perhaps a short spell on the sidelines may actually do him some good. For the club and the manager though, there is no room for sentiment and throwing Dodoo in looks like the right thing to do when the big game comes.