BBC Sport – Rangers: Newcastle loan players must play if fit

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Rangers manager Kenny McDowall claims he has been told by the club that the five loan signings made from Newcastle must be in his starting XI if fit.

Midfielders Gael Bigirimana and Haris Vuckic and defenders Kevin Mbabu, Remie Streete and Shane Ferguson

joined from the Premier League side on Monday.

Their parent club are owned by Rangers shareholder Mike Ashley.

McDowall says chief executive Derek Llambias and football board chairman Sandy Easdale told him the news.

Llambias, who was previously chief executive at Newcastle, is

one of two

Ashley appointments to the Rangers board alongside finance director

Barry Leach.

Interim manager McDowall, who

took over from Ally McCoist

when he was placed on gardening leave on 19 January, recently

handed in his notice

to resign.

He is now working a 12-month notice period.

“I have handed in my notice and have told the guys I am happy to take the team. So I am not going to complain,” McDowall said.

“I will carry out the instructions that they give me and do my best. I have a job to do and I am happy to do it.

“The boys have come up to play and they will play. That’s just how it is.”

Ashley, who owns 8.92% of the Ibrox outfit,

provided them with a £10m loan

in January to ensure they stay in business.

While £5m was available as immediate working capital, the influx of cash was also used to repay a

£3m loan

made by the Newcastle United owner last year.

In return, Ashley got security over the Scottish Championship club’s Murray Park training ground, registered trademarks and other properties.

Rangers also gave him, for the duration of the loan, a further 26% of shares in Rangers Retail Limited, 49% of which was already owned by the Sports Direct owner.

The Scottish Football Association has

called Rangers and Ashley to March hearings

about his dual interests in the clubs, having already blocked his desire to increase his shareholding.

The five Newcastle players could make their first appearances when Rangers play Raith Rovers on Sunday.

The Scottish Cup fifth-round match at Ibrox will be shown live on BBC One Scotland.

Rangers trail Hearts by 16 points in the race for the Scottish Championship title and the automatic promotion place that comes with it.

Rangers manager Kenny McDowall

McDowall has admitted that years of being involved as a coach with Celtic and managing Rangers had taken its toll on him

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