Stuart McCall believes selling Lewis MacLeod has made Rangers squad weaker

Stuart McCall says Lewis MacLeod's January departure has damaged Rangers.

Rangers boss Stuart McCall has told STV that the sale of Lewis MacLeod is one of the differences between them and Hibernian.

Rangers have now drawn five games in a row, including McCall's first two games in charge having been appointed earlier this month.

Their promotion hopes are diminishing by the week, and this weekend's clash against second placed Hibernian is a crucial battle for McCall and Rangers.

A win will put Rangers in with a shout of claiming second place as they gear up for a play-off campaign at the end of the season, but they need a real turnaround to enter the post-season games in good form.

Hibs, managed by Alan Stubbs, have won their last five league games in a row, and are in sensational form having conceded just once in that winning run.

It promises to be a daunting trip to Easter Road for Rangers, and manager McCall spoke to STV ahead of the game this weekend.

McCall says that the big difference between the two sides is the work done in the January transfer window, where Hibs thrived and Rangers disappointed.

"I think the key thing in January, if you look back at it, is they managed to bring in five players," said McCall. "They brought the boy Watson in from Dundee United, [Fraser] Fyvie, [Martin] Boyle from Dundee, [Franck] Dja Djédjé and managed to keep their best young talent in Scott Allan. Whereas if you look at ourselves we lost our best young talent in Lewis MacLeod," he added.

MacLeod, 20, emerged from the Rangers youth setup and had become one of the key players under previous manager Ally McCoist, but left Ibrox in January in order to join Brentford.

His absence is certainly felt, but Rangers fans will also be disappointed with the impact made by their transfer window signings from Newcastle.

Rangers snapped up five players from the Magpies, bringing in Kevin Mbabu, Remie Streete, Gael Bigirimana, Shane Ferguson and Haris Vuckic to the club, and only Vuckic has made any sort of impact so far - so it's understandable to hear McCall disappointed about the January business.

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