By Ibrox News speaking to Alex McLeish

23rd Mar, 2021 | 6:15pm

Alex McLeish thrilled by Rangers-Ayr partnership, awestruck by Stephen Kelly

We’re delighted to welcome former Rangers manager Alex McLeish as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at Ibrox…

Alex McLeish has been thrilled by the developing Rangers partnership with Scottish Championship side Ayr United in recent years.

Jamie Barjonas became the latest talent to make that switch in the past week, with Stephen Kelly also flourishing there last season.

McLeish believes that Kelly has a big future ahead of him at Ibrox, and it all stemmed from the chance handed to him by Ayr United.

Speaking exclusively to Ibrox News, McLeish said, “Ayr United seems to be a popular team for Rangers.

“They sent Stephen Kelly there last season and he had a tremendous season there. He’s been in and out of the Ross County team, John Hughes has played him a couple of times.

“He’s still a young guy learning the game, he’s a Rangers player so Stephen continues to improve and get more experience, he’s another one that came from that partnership.”

Perfect pair.

Kelly is the perfect example of a player who has taken full advantage of this partnership and is now getting the full experience of the Scottish Premiership this season.

Barjonas is on the opposite end of the scale, unfortunately, and is likely to permanently leave Ibrox once his contract expires at the end of this season.

Moving back to Kelly, the midfielder has made 21 appearances in the top-flight this season and could be a great option off the bench for Steven Gerrard next season.

McLeish has clearly been impressed, and this is one we have to keep an eye on.

In other Rangers news, Ian Durrant shares delight of the entire squad for Alfredo Morelos