Rangers recently hosted their end-of-season awards night to celebrate individual achievements this season for the various teams throughout the structure of the club.
The likes of Ryan Jack, John Lundstram and Calvin Bassey from the first team were honoured at the event and it was also a chance for some academy prospects to enjoy their time in the limelight.
One player who had a special night was Cole McKinnon, who was announced as the B team’s Players’ Player of the Year.
This is a particularly impressive award as it shows how highly his team-mates, who train with him throughout the season, rate him and reflects how well he has performed during the campaign, with the midfielder holding the potential to be Jack 2.0 for the Gers.
McKinnon was rewarded for his efforts in the youth team with a call-up to the senior squad for the Europa League semi-final clash with RB Leipzig last week. The midfielder was an unused substitute in Germany but it showed that Gio van Bronckhorst sees potential in him, as the Dutchman was willing to have him as an option on the bench.
After playing League Two outfit Edinburgh City in a friendly, McKinnon spoke about his desire to make the grade at senior level.
He said: “A lot of the boys haven’t really played against that level at first-team and today you could see they coped with it well. They were winning balls and going into 50/50’s and I thought the boys were excellent.
“It is what we need, we are all pushing to try and get round that first-team side and these are the games we need to play against first-teams so that we are ready when we go round there.”
This shows that the 19-year-old is determined to break into Van Bronckhorst’s side, as reflected by his performances for the B team. He has scored five goals in the Lowlands League this season as the Gers sit second in the table after 34 matches, whilst he has also chipped in with one goal and two assists in the UEFA Youth League this term.
His Player of the Year award also highlights how impressive he has been for the youth side this term, and that is why he deserves to be given a chance to impress at senior level, as he could be the new Jack in Rangers’ midfield.
The 30-year-old Scotland international has caught the eye in the middle of the park for the Gers, with an average SofaScore rating of 6.93 across seven Europa League starts. He has been a consistent and reliable option for Van Bronckhorst in 2022, and McKinnon’s award suggests that he can grow into that role as his colleagues in the B team clearly rate and respect him enormously.