Dundee United have opened talks with Celtic about the possibility of re-signing Gary Mackay-Steven on loan for the remaining of the campaign, the Scottish Sun reports, but does this represent the midfielder’s last chance to impress Brendan Rodgers?
The 26-year-old earned himself a move to Celtic Park in February 2015 alongside Tangerines team-mate Stuart Armstrong but while the latter has cemented his place in the midfield thanks to a series of energetic performances, Mackay-Steven has played just four times during Rodgers’ tenure.
Consequently, the Scottish Sun claim that his former employers are aiming to take him back to Tannadyce as they aim to seal a return to the top flight at the first-time of asking.
As it stands, Dundee United are second in the Scottish Championship table, six points adrift of Hibernian, and the addition of Mackay-Steven would prove a huge boost in a league where he should stand head and shoulders above his opponents.
However, whether he still has a future in green and white remains to be seen. The fact that Rodgers has handed him just two league starts all season and has recently strengthened his midfield stock with the signing of Kouassi Eboue doesn’t bode well for his long-term prospects in Glasgow.
Then again, the Northern Irishman was effusive in his praise after Mackay-Steven delivered an eye-catching performance against Manchester City in the Champions League in December.
“There is no question he has a future here,” said Rodgers, as reported by the Scotsman. “He is a fantastic talent. You can’t throw boys in the garbage.”
Critics will point to the fact that he made a very similar claim about Scott Allan before farming him out to Rotherham but it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that Rodgers believes a short-term loan at a familiar environment could give Mackay-Steven the impetus he needs to make an impact on his return to Celtic.