Impressive young Rangers midfielder Stephen Kelly will not feature for the first team during the 2019/20 season.
That’s because, on Tuesday afternoon, he sealed a loan move to Ayr United.
— Ayr United (@AyrUnitedFC) July 10, 2019
Just like Robby McCrorie, he’s chosen to join a Scottish Championship club in search of regular first team football.
Remarkably, the move comes just a day after he starred against The Honest Men in a friendly.
Despite only coming on for the second half, Kelly netted a hat-trick for a Gers XI at the Hummel Training Centre.
Dapo Mebude make it 4-1 with a lovely composed finished before Stephen Kelly got his hat-trick with a stunning free-kick making it 5-1 then Andy Dallas rounded off the scoring from the penalty spot 6-1.
— Rangers Youth Updates (@rfcyouthupdates) July 9, 2019
However, with so many quality and experienced midfielders currently in the ranks at Ibrox, it was always going to be hard for him to see further action this season.
“Stephen is very very highly rated at Ibrox,” manager Ian McCall told Ayr’s website. “We had been speaking to Steven Gerard and Gary McAllister about him well before our game yesterday where he scored a hat trick.”
“He is a central midfielder who can play in a 2 or a 3 and is very versatile. He is always looking to move and pass the ball and he was in the top 3 at Rangers when they completed their fitness testing.
“We need him to integrate well at the club, feel like an Ayr United player and have a great season.”
Kelly made his debut for the Gers first-team in September last season. Funnily enough, that was also against Ayr, in a 4-0 League Cup win.
This loan move should give him the opportunity to play week in week out. That’ll be invaluable for his development and hopefully, he can come back an even better player, ready to challenge for a spot.