‘I would love him to stay here!’ Raith Rovers boss Ray McKinnon hopes to keep Rangers kid Ryan Hardie

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BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport

Raith Rovers boss Ray McKinnon admits he is desperate to hold on to Rangers loan star Ryan Hardie for another season after revealing that Mark Warburton is delighted with the youngster’s progress at Stark’s Park.

The 19-year-old is back in the Fifers’ squad for tomorrow’s trip to Queen of the South after being ineligible to face his parent club in last weekend’s dramatic 3-3 draw in Kirkcaldy.

And he will hope to continue his sparkling form since joining the club in February, scoring four goals in four starts and impressing with his work-rate, movement and clinical touch.

Ray McKinnonShould the Gers decided to loan out the Scotland under-19 star again next term, Raith are likely to have competition from elsewhere in the Championship for his signature, but McKinnon remains hopeful of tempting him back to the Rovers.

“Honestly, I would love for Ryan Hardie to be back here next season,” said the Rovers boss. “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.”

Meanwhile, Raith have been handed a huge fitness boost with the news that Scott Robertson, who signed a new one-year deal this week, will return to the squad for the trip to Palmerston Park.

The former Scotland, Hibs and Dundee United midfielder has missed Rovers’ last seven matches with a groin complaint but is set to be a key figure in their playoff push.

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