It felt like a calm summer for the Rangers, with most business done early.
After a successful campaign, Steven Gerrard and Ross Wilson have managed to keep Ibrox’s big names as they seek to defend their throne.
They weren’t a team that seemed to need a lot of tinkering after dominating the Premiership with a league unbeaten streak.
Despite this, a significant number of players have been quietly dispatched from the club in the background, having struggled to climb to first-team level.
Players like Jordan Jones and George Edmundson quietly moved to England’s lower leagues, while Niko Katic was on loan in search of first-team fitness.
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Talented youngsters like Kai Kennedy and Josh McPake have also temporarily left Glasgow as they look to increase their minutes on the pitch.
Sport record enforces the rule on players who left during that calendar year.
Jordan Jones (Wigan Athletic)
After being loaned out to Sunderland in January, Jordan Jones returned to Auchenhowie this summer. However, he was drafted by League One side Wigan Athletic and has been a regular starter in the Latics’ rise to the top of League One. After being frozen after a Covid rule violation alongside George Edmundson, he has now reclaimed his place in the Northern Ireland squad with his impressive performances.
George Edmundson (Ipswich)
Speaking of Edmundson, after being on loan from Derby in January he did enough to impress Ipswich boss Paul Cook who signed the center-back for £ 1million. His violation of the Covid rule marred his Ibrox career, but after impressing in the championship under Wayne Rooney, he seemed like a safe bet to join the rebuilding of Portman Road. So far this has not worked for English. He has missed much of the season at this point due to injury, with the club already facing possible relegation.
Bongani Zungu (Amiens)
Having failed to impress Steven Gerrard and land a permanent contract, South African international Zungu returned to the French side of Amiens this summer. He returned late for the preseason after failing to organize a Ligue 2 wrestlers’ exit and has now been left out of the first-team photo. Boss Philippe Hinschberger says the midfielder trains separately from the first team, with his contract due to expire at the end of 2022.
Greg Stewart (Jamshedpur FC)
Stewart spent two seasons with Rangers but failed to hold onto a regular starting spot and left the club under contract freedom this summer in search of first-team football. This chase took him to India, where he signed an agreement with Owen Coyle’s Jamshedpur FC. The 31-year-old is set to take off for the I-League opener and a new overseas adventure begins in November.
Kai Kennedy (Dunfermline)
The teenager is considered one of Ibrox’s brightest young prospects and showed his quality to Inverness and Raith in the league last season. He would get a loan from Dunfermline this summer, but things haven’t worked out so far under Peter Grant. He hasn’t been a regular so far this quarter in the second tier, with the bottom of the Pars division. Despite the setbacks at the start of the season, Kennedy backed Grant to get it right: “You could see we’re all behind us and we’re all behind the manager.”
James Maxwell (Ayr United)
Maxwell has been in and out of Ayr United’s side as he seeks to gain experience in the Championship. The 19-year-old has had to deal with a lot of changes after David Hopkin left, with Jim Duffy as interim boss.
Lewis Mayo (Thistle Partick)
The 21-year-old is another on loan to gain experience in a first-team environment. At Patrick Thistle, boss Ian McCall has offered the defender plenty of first-team chances so far which will benefit him when he returns to Ibrox.
Jake Hastie (Chardon Partick)
Alongside Mayo in Firhill is the wide man Jake Hastie. The winger has proven to be an enigma since joining Rangers and has spent most of his time on the books at Ibrox on loan. Having spent last season on loan at Motherwell, he struggled to gain playing time after returning to Fir Park. He spent time with the Colts upon his return to Govan, before the Jags nabbed the 22-year-old. Hastie hasn’t quite hit the ground running at Firhill, with just two appearances on the bench so far this quarter.
Cédric Itten (Greuther Furth)
Cedric Itten’s talent for scoring on the bench translates into the Bundesliga. After moving to Greuther Furth this summer, he scored a consolation against Bayern Munich on the bench. However, he hopes for more than just cameo appearances. After his strike against the German giants, Itten said: “Of course I would have liked to start and it’s my challenge now to prove to the manager that I can be trusted to play for 90 minutes.”
Nikola Katic (Hajduk Split)
Katic is on loan in his home country after returning from injury. At Hajduk Split, Katic played his first 90 minutes in over 18 months in the Croatian Cup clash with minnows Primorac Biograd. Although he was sent back to the bench for the next clash with NK Lokomotiva, things are improving for the Croatian as he looks to plead with Steven Gerrard for a top-tier squad comeback.
Glenn Middleton (St Johnstone)
After winning a Scottish Cup winner’s medal with Callum Davidson’s men following his release from loan in January, the winger has picked up where he left off in Perth this summer. He has gained valuable experience in the Europa Conference Conference and is fighting for a starting place at McDiarmid Park.
Josh McPake (Morecambe)
After impressing at Harrogate Town in the second half of last season, former Motherwell boss Stephen Robinson was keen to bring the 20-year-old to Morecambe. He has been used as a substitute in three of League One’s last four games with his only start in the EFL Trophy against the Everton Under-21s.
Ben Williamson (Livingston)
Despite being in and out of David Martindale’s squad this season, the defender has shown he is capable, impressing especially in the shock victory over Celtic. This is the one that will certainly have caught the attention of the Ibrox coaching team.