Raith Rovers boss Ray McKinnon has revealed via Capital City Press that he is optimistic over keeping Rangers starlet Ryan Hardie at Stark's Park for the 2016-17 season.
The 19-year-old has been in fine form under McKinnon, netting four goals in four Scottish Championship starts after joining the Fifers on a short-term basis in February.
The Raith manager claims that he spoke with some Rangers staff after last week's 3-3 draw - in which Hardie was ineligible to face his parent club - and was told that the youngster seems to be loving his spell with the Fife club.
Consequently, McKinnon feels optimistic that he can get his man again next season - providing Mark Warburton is willing to loan him out once again.
“Honestly, I would love for Ryan Hardie to be back here next season,” said the Rovers boss, via CCP Sport. “I know Ryan is absolutely loving it here and Mark Warburton is delighted with the way things are going for Ryan.
“If he is going out on loan next season, and it comes down to where he wants to be and how much he is enjoying things, then I’d like to think we would be in with a shout. We spoke to the guys at Rangers after the game on Saturday and they told us that he is really enjoying things at Raith, so hopefully that’s a factor.
“He is playing every week, he’s in a great dressing and is scoring goals, so we’ve not given up hope of getting him back.”
McKinnon might well get his wish. With Rangers heading for the top flight, there will be more pressure on Warburton to bolster his squad to the point where they are capable of challenging Celtic for the biggest honours.
As a result, a lot of players on the periphery for much of this season will be either cut loose or, in the case of younger players, farmed out on loan.