Derek Llambias: Rangers did not give Newcastle loanees order

Rangers: Newcastle loanees must play - Kenny McDowall

Rangers chief executive Derek Llambias insists manager Kenny McDowall is wrong to say he has been told he must select five loan signings from Newcastle.

McDowall claimed Llambias and chairman Sandy Easdale told him the quintet - whose parent club are owned by Ibrox shareholder Mike Ashley - must play.

But Llambias said: "There's no way the board is picking the team.

"In any loan the players bolster the side and give the squad more depth. That's exactly what is happening here."

Midfielders Gael Bigirimana and Haris Vuckic and defenders Kevin Mbabu, Remie Streete and Shane Ferguson joined from the English Premier League side on Monday.

Interim manager McDowall, who took over from Ally McCoist when he was placed on gardening leave on 19 January, recently handed in his notice to resign.

He is now working a 12-month notice period.

"I have told the guys I am happy to take the team. So I am not going to complain," McDowall said at a media conference earlier on Thursday.

"I will carry out the instructions that they give me and do my best. I have a job to do and I am happy to do it.

"The boys have come up to play and they will play. That's just how it is."

Rangers winger Fraser Aird
"It's puts him [McDowall] and me in a bit of a position because you know if you've done well enough to play the next week and maybe you won't. I guess you just need to go out and score a hat-trick every game to try to keep yourself in the team."

Llambias, who was previously chief executive at Newcastle, is one of two Ashley associates on the Rangers board, alongside finance director Barry Leach.

Ashley owns 8.92% of the Ibrox outfit and his company Sports Direct agreed to provide a £10m loan in January to ensure the Scottish Championship club stays in business.

While £5m has been drawn as immediate working capital, the influx of cash was also used to repay a £3m loan made by Ashley last year.

In return, Sports Direct got security over the Scottish Championship club's Murray Park training ground, registered trademarks and other properties.

Rangers also gave them, for the duration of the loan, a further 26% of shares in Rangers Retail Limited, 49% of which was already owned by Sports Direct.

The Scottish Football Association has called Rangers and Ashley to March hearings about his dual interests in the clubs, having already blocked his desire to increase his shareholding.

What does Sports Direct's £10m loan mean for Rangers?

Three Newcastle players - Bigirimana, Vuckic and Streete - could make their first appearances when Rangers play Raith Rovers on Sunday.

The Scottish Cup fifth-round match at Ibrox will be shown live on BBC One Scotland.

Ferguson and Mbabu are expected to arrive in Glasgow in the next few weeks after recovering from injuries.

Rangers trail Hearts by 16 points in the race for the Scottish Championship title and the automatic promotion place that comes with it.

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Rangers manager Kenny McDowall
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