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Rangers could unearth Scott Arfield upgrade in Cole McKinnon

Glasgow Rangers returned to winning ways on Sunday as they beat Motherwell 2-1 in the Premiership away from Ibrox after losing in the Champions League in midweek.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side were hammered 7-1 by Liverpool in Europe – a defeat that leaves them rooted to the bottom of their group with four defeats from four – prior to their win in the Scottish top-flight.

Scott Arfield gave the Light Blues the lead against the Premier League side with his first strike on the continent since he scored in the Europa League in the 2020/21 campaign.

The 33-year-old remains a regular fixture in the Dutch head coach’s team this season but his end product, from an attacking midfield position, has left a lot to be desired since the start of last term.

In 2021/22, the former Burnley man scored six goals and failed to provide a single assist in a whopping 50 appearances in all competitions, with two of his strikes coming in the domestic cups.

He lost 64% of his individual duels and only created 0.6 chances per game in the Premiership last season, whilst missing nine ‘big chances’ in 29 outings – scoring four in total.

In 2022/23, Arfield has lost an eye-catching 78% of his battles on the pitch and created 0.7 chances per match in the competition. He has also scored just twice in ten appearances, whilst missing two ‘big chances’.

Thus, Van Bronckhorst must seek an upgrade on the misfiring midfielder, who has been weak out of possession and lacked creativity on the ball. How could he find that man? Well, young Rangers wizard Cole McKinnon certainly stands to attention.

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Gio van Bronckhorst coaching on the touchline for Rangers

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He is currently on loan at Partick Thistle in the Championship but the head coach could look to recall the teenager in January or bring him into the first-team fold next season.

The 19-year-old talent made his Premiership debut for the Light Blues last term as he scored against Hearts in a 30-minute cameo, whilst winning 100% of his duels in the game.

Head of academy Craig Mulholland previously heaped praise on the young attacking midfield, saying: “He has an outstanding desire to win, is a supporter who cares about the club and we are all very excited to see him maximise the potential he has in the coming years here at Rangers.”

His promising start to life in the first-team for Rangers was rewarded with a loan move to Partick Thistle in the Championship and he has produced two goals and two assists in nine appearances so far – more assists than the ex-Claret has managed in his last 39 league matches.

The dynamo, who scored five goals in the Lowland League in 2021/22, is capable of playing in central midfield, as a number 10, or out wide, just like Arfield. Furthermore, he has shown that he has the potential to score and create goals at senior level – which is something the current Gers starter has been struggling with over the past 18 months.

At the age of 19, McKinnon has plenty of time on his hands to develop and grow as a player and van Bronckhorst could help the young prospect to become an upgrade on Arfield in midfield as the Canadian’s time comes to a natural conclusion at the end of his contract in 2023.