Rangers: Newcastle's Shane Ferguson closer to debut on loan

Newcastle's Shane Ferguson joins Rangers training
Newcastle's Shane Ferguson has yet to play for Rangers on loan

Stuart McCall thinks on-loan Newcastle United winger Shane Ferguson could yet play a surprise role in Rangers' bid for promotion via the play-offs.

The Northern Ireland cap has not played since joining the Ibrox side in January despite carrying an injury.

But he finally checked in at the Murray Park training base on Monday.

"He is mentally in the right place, as in he is here to help, and he could be a welcome addition for the back end of the season," said McCall.

"I was really pleased yesterday when I saw him training.

"When you have been out for so long with a knee ligament injury, it's not just the physical aspect but the mental one.

"But he was really positive. I've had a wee chat with him and he's desperate to get involved.

"He's a wee bit away from match fitness and won't be ready to play in the next week or two because he's been out too long."

The signing of five players on loan from Newcastle on the final day of the January transfer window has proved controversial considering only midfielder Haris Vuckic has played regularly.

Haris Vuckic and Kenny Miller celebrate a goal for Rangers
Newcastle's Haris Vuckic (left) has scored seven goals in 12 goals on loan to Rangers

Rangers fans were also unhappy to learn that the deal includes a clause that will result in the Glasgow club paying shareholder and Newcastle owner Mike Ashley £500,000 should they win promotion to the Scottish Premiership.

"It was a surprise to everyone when the news about that came out, because it's quite a lot of money, especially when only one of them is playing," said McCall.

"But if it was me - and it's not because it's not my money - I'd love to give Newcastle £500,000 because that means we have got promotion."

Remie Streete picked up an injury on his debut against Raith Rovers in February and has not played since, while fellow defender Kevin Mbabu and midfielder Gael Bigirimana have not made a single appearance because of fitness problems.

Ashley's allies were ousted from the Rangers boardroom in March by a new regime led by South Africa-based former Ibrox director Dave King.

The new board is planning talks with Ashley's Sport Direct business, which runs Rangers' retail operation, after issuing a statement insisting that they and not the Englishman still control rights over the club's badges.

"I'm sure there will be some good talks come out of that," said McCall, who may hope to retain Vuckic next season after the Slovenian scored seven goals in 12 Rangers outings.

"Haris has another year left on his Newcastle contract. For the here and now, he is trying to get us promotion.

"He is still a Newcastle player, but I don't think there has been any great falling out with the club and Newcastle whatsoever."

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