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Pedro Caixinha confirms Barrie McKay has been left out of Rangers squad for Europa League opener

Barrie McKay (SNS Group)
Barrie McKay (SNS Group)

 

PEDRO CAIXINHA has confirmed Barrie McKay will play no part as Rangers make their return to European action on Thursday night.

Gers will end a six-year stint in the continental wilderness as they host Luxembourg minnows Progres Niederkorn in their opening Europa League qualifier.

But winger McKay will not feature after being dropped from Caixinha’s squad.

The Portuguese boss said: “The list is already out so I think he is not in the squad for tomorrow.”

The playmaker’s Ibrox future was cast in doubt towards the end of last season when it emerged he knocked back the offer of an improved Gers contract.

But there appears to be no resolution in sight after the 22-year-old – who will be free to talk to other clubs in January – was ordered to train with the club’s under-20s ahead of this week’s match.

He has been included in the list of players Caixinha submitted to UEFA ahead of their Niederkorn clash, unlike Andy Halliday – who is close to agreeing a 12-month loan switch to Azerbaijani outfit Qabala – Michael O’Halloran, Rob Kiernan, Joe Dodoo, Matt Crooks and Harry Forrester.

But Caixinha is now prepared to take on the minnows without one of his most naturally gifted talents.

The Rangers manager was pushed for an explanation on why he had banished the Scotland international as he held his first pre-match press conference of the new campaign.

But the Gers coach was in no mood to discuss the row.

“Nothing, he is not in the squad,” was all he said when asked what McKay had done to deserve his omission. “The under-20s were off so he is not training today.

“I’m not focusing on that situation. I’m focusing on tomorrow’s match. We’re really happy all the players and the team regarding to the plan we have for this season are working hard.

“They are really anxious in a good way to start the match tomorrow with a sold-out stadium and enjoy it with our fans.

“I don’t care about those problems (the situation with McKay). Those problems are part of our lives, our work and our decisions but I don’t want to talk about it now.”