Zak Rudden, the former Ibrox Academy striker who has a Rangers buy-back clause in his Partick Thistle contract, has been hit with another significant setback.
Rudden joined the Jags on a two-and-a-half-year deal in January 2020, with the Gers suggesting that they retained options on his future [BBC Scotland].
Thistle manager Ian McCall subsequently confirmed that Rangers had inserted a buy-back clause into the 6ft 2″ forward’s contract, which could be triggered 18 months into his stay at Firhill.
Rudden has been short on luck over the past year, though, and he’s still yet to make an impact.
Injury problems limited him to just five appearances prior to the football shutdown.
The former Ger then watched on as the authorities decided to harshly relegate Thistle to League One and further injuries have restricted him to just four outings so far this campaign.
In his only league start to date, against Falkirk in December, he was given a straight red card in the 64th minute, prompting an apology to the club’s supporters.
With Thistle’s last two scheduled fixtures postponed due to frozen pitches, Rudden hasn’t yet been able to serve his suspension and now he’s been hit with an even bigger setback.
The SFA’s call to suspend all football beneath the Championship for a minimum of three weeks ensures that Thistle will be out of action at least until next month and even when they do get the green light again, the Scotland youth international will have to sit out of the first game back.
It’s has been one blow after another for the Jags and Rudden over the past year, with neither party to blame for the vast majority of what has occurred.
The Gers face a decision on the striker in the summer, but at this point, it seems highly unlikely that they’ll trigger the buy-back clause.
Plenty can change in six months, though, and Rudden’s outstanding loan stint at then Championship club Falkirk during the 2018/19 season suggests that he is more than capable of lighting up the third tier if he can eventually put a run of games together.
Rangers are reportedly interested in bringing a different Scotland youth international to Ibrox in the summer, but they are set to face stiff competition for his signature.