Rangers loanee Daniel Finlayson was included in his first Premiership matchday squad at St Mirren following his deadline day move.
Northern Ireland youth international, Finlayson, was a key part of the Rangers Colts and U20s sides that impressed in the Challenge Cup and UEFA Youth League respectively last season and was subsequently chosen to be part of the first batch of Gers prospects to join partner club Orange County SC on loan.
Congratulations to @danfinlayson63 on his first professional start and being a key part of our defense against 2019 USL Western Conference Champions, Phoenix Rising FC.
🎥 on @RangersTV.
⚽ OCSC will play Phoenix Rising FC on Saturday, 7/25 at 7pm PT. pic.twitter.com/IlJmnIU563
— Orange County SC (@orangecountysc) July 23, 2020
The young centre-back made 12 USL Championship appearances for his adopted side and when they missed out on a playoff spot, it was expected that he would return to the Academy fold at Auchenhowie.
However, just four days after his last OCSC matchday, he was snapped up by St Mirren in a hastily arranged deal.
The 19-year-old joined on a season-long loan, but surprisingly, the Buddies hold an option to make the move permanent in the summer.
With Finlayson only contracted to Rangers until then, it looks as though his time with the club is at an end.
St Mirren’s persistent Covid-related issues led to the postponement of two recent Premiership matches, but they finally returned to action on Friday night against Dundee United in Paisley.
Jim Goodwin opted for more experienced players like Conor McCarthy and Joe Shaughnessy in his starting XI, but Finlayson made the squad and watched from the bench as his new club secured a point in a 0-0 draw.
Given how big a role the Northern Ireland U19 star played at Academy level last season, his departure is a surprise.
However, perhaps after getting a taste of first-team football in the United States, it was the player who pushed for the move.
6ft 3″ Finlayson brings a physical presence and is clearly talented, but with five senior centre-backs at Ibrox and the likes of Lewis Mayo and Leon King providing additional competition, perhaps he simply couldn’t see a path to the Rangers first-team.