At the end of Steven Gerrard’s first season in charge of Rangers, Josh McPake had been named the club’s Academy Player of the Year.

The young attacker was at this point the stand-out player in the Ibrox youth ranks and had rocketed out of the under 18s and into the reserves over the course of the season.

Josh McPake (right) was once considered the brightest talent in the Rangers Academy, (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group via Getty Images)

In the summer of 2019 McPake would sign a three-year deal at Ibrox and as the next campaign kicked off, the forward made his Ibrox debut.

Coming on as a second-half substitute in the 6-0 win over St Joseph’s of Gibraltar, it looked like the future was very bright for the player.

A loan move to Dundee would follow but an ankle injury hampered his time at Dens Park and from there, the player’s career threatened to stall at the time he should’ve been lighting up Scotland.

The likes of Nathan Patterson and Kai Kennedy appeared to overtake McPake as the most promising youngsters at Ibrox and on the surface it looked like a very difficult time for the youngster.

A loan move to Morton would follow in the first half of this campaign but McPake struggled to find his form and the Ibrox club sent him down south in January.

A move to League Two Harrogate Town might’ve been a surprise to some, but it’s been a revelation for McPake who even at 19 has imposed himself on the English fourth tier.

Bolton Wanderers v Harrogate Town - Sky Bet League Two
Josh McPake has enjoyed a promising spell at Harrogate Town and is returning to Rangers in the summer. (Photo by Eddie Garvey/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The attacker has been involved in an impressive 23 league games since joining the club, scoring four goals and cementing himself as an important part of the club’s squad.

McPake would also start the FA Trophy over the weekend and played his part in a 1-0 win over Concord Rangers to secure the first silverware of his career.

Speaking after the game, this loan move appears to have been a revelation for McPake who has grown in confidence down south as he enters the final year of his contract at Ibrox.

“I’ve got a year left on my contract at Rangers and coming down to England has been a great experience but also exposed me to a new market as clubs are always watching the games in League Two,” said McPake [Glasgow Times].

“Rangers have kept a close eye on me and I really appreciate it.

“It’s good to know they are still looking after me so I will be back in for pre-season and I’m sure we will have some conversations about the future.

Salford City v Harrogate Town - Sky Bet League Two
The attacking midfielder has also bulked-up as Rangers face a decision on the player’s future. (Photo by Ben Early – AMA/Getty Images)

“They’ve told me to keep doing what I’m doing.”

Perhaps now McPake can return to Ibrox and recognise some of that potential which had him earmarked as the Rangers kid to watch in a burgeoning generation of them.

One Rangers kid who properly arrived at Ibrox this season has also been nominated for a leading award despite a high-profile misdemeanour.

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