Oh, Barrie Barrie, Barrie Barrie Barrie Barrie Barrie McKay!! One last time for old times’ sake if we are to believe that he’s off to Nottingham Forrest for £750k? Rewind to 17th April 2016 and the step to leave Scott Brown followed by an unstoppable screamer past Craig Gordon and we think “why didn’t he do this more often?”.
McKay made his debut at the end of the pre-liquidation era against St Johnstone in a 4-0 win as a fresh-faced 17-year-old. Staying with the club into the League 2, he scored his first goal in the infamous 2-2 draw with Peterhead and he announced his ability to the Rangers fans. We had a new hero. The next Cooper, McCann, Burke or *insert Scottish winger* had arrived.
Blessed with pace, which isn’t enough, but he has the ability to slow down then change pace and accelerate to leave defenders flailing. He’s not a show pony, everything has a purpose. A step over to change direction and get to the by-line or to cut inside and get a shot off. In full flow, it is truly a wonderful sight for a football fan watching “one of their own” become their best performer week-in-week-out. Especially when it is an attacking winger, with grace, poise and perfect balance. What a striker of a ball too. When he hits the ball, it stays hit!
Barrie McKay is 22-years-old, an experienced first-team player now. He has played in (including substitute appearances) over 175 senior games. Most of these games have been in the Championship and Premiership. So why does he only have a handful of youth international appearances for a player with his ability? End product. Simple. He doesn’t score enough goals. He doesn’t create enough chances. You could argue that he has been unlucky to play most of his games for Rangers with players who need 4-5 chances to score 1 goal in Miller and Waghorn but it’s not a very strong argument. If he wasn’t from the academy or “one of our own” there wouldn’t be the emotional desire for him to succeed and fulfill his potential.
To date, McKay has 25 goals. I’ll let that sink in. Over 175 games with around 70% of them for Rangers. He plays for a club that dominates possession. He will have more touches than almost any other wingers in Scotland except the obvious ones. Kris Boyd (3), Waghorn (4), Wallace and Tavernier (both 5) all had more assists than McKay last season. Looking at the other end of the scale and Jonny Hayes has 12, Patrick Roberts 10, James Forrest 8 and Niall McGinn has 7. Barrie McKay is not good enough to play for Rangers. There, I said it. Take the money and run.
To put things into perspective Martyn Waghorn scored 15 goals in 31 games with 4 assists and he had a stinker, allegedly. Where did Waghorn play most of his football last year? The opposite wing to McKay. Hashtag just saying.
But, we’ll always have the 17th of April 2016 on a beautiful spring evening at Hampden. The step. The screamer. The jubilation. Thank you, Barrie.