Former Rangers striker Zak Rudden produced a superb display for Partick Thistle in front of Ross Wilson on Thursday as the Jags secured the League One title with an emphatic 5-0 win over Falkirk.
Rudden left Ibrox in January 2020 following a loan spell at Plymouth Argyle, signing for Thistle on a two-and-a-half-year deal for an undisclosed fee.
The Gers weren’t quite ready to relinquish all control regarding the Scotland youth cap, though, so they retained options on his future [Rangers.co.uk], including a buy-back clause that can be activated after 18 months.
He had a difficult start to life at Firhill because of injuries and the lengthy suspensions of lower-league football due to the pandemic, but he has produced for manager Ian McCall at the business end of this season.
Ahead of Thursday night’s crucial fixture, Rudden had scored six goals in his previous five appearances, and he delivered once again in Maryhill to help secure Thistle’s promotion.
The 21-year-old caused problems for the Bairns right from the off and opened the scoring in the 30th minute with a well-taken header from six yards.
Two further goals from his teammates had the home side 3-0 up by the interval and Rudden helped to put the result beyond all doubt just before the hour mark by making a great run down the right before squaring for strike partner Brian Graham, who made it 4-0.
Rudden was substituted with 15 minutes remaining, just after Joe Cardle had completed the rout.
It was the latest in a series of impressive performances from the young striker and it came in front of Rangers sporting director Ross Wilson, assistant manager Gary McAllister and head of academy Craig Mulholland, who were all in attendance.
The trio were likely there mainly to run their eyes over the Ibrox loanees on either side, but the clauses in Rudden’s contract ensure the Gers do still have an interest in him and it’s hard to believe the senior men weren’t impressed by what they saw.
Whether or not Rangers activate their buy-back clause this summer is a different question, but Rudden looks to finally be fulfilling the potential he’s shown from a young age.
In other news, a reported Rangers target has won a league’s POTS award and his price tag could rise this weekend.