Raith Rovers manager Grant Murray described Barrie McKay as ‘unplayable’ after watching the on-loan Rangers winger destroy Stirling Albion in the Scottish Cup.
McKay produced an outstanding individual performance and also netted the game’s crucial opener his first goal for the Kirkcaldy club to help Rovers into today’s draw for the last 16.
It proved a difficult tie for the Championship side, who also needed goalkeeper David McGurn to make a number of stunning saves against League One’s bottom club.
It was McKay who stole the show, however, and the 19-year-old felt that his display was his best of the season.
“I thought I played really well but I need to keep improving as a player as well,” he said. “The more games I play well, the better it is for me.
“I got more involved today and created a lot of chances. I got my goal as well which is a bonus for me.
“It was important for me to start getting goals because that’s what my game lacks just now.
“Since I came in the gaffer has just asked me to be positive, and as the weeks have progressed I’ve started to get better and more confident.”
McKay’s loan deal expires in January but he still doesn’t know whether he will return to Ibrox or stay at Stark’s Park.
“I don’t know yet, I’ve not really heard anything,” he said. “I’ll be happy wherever I’m going to play, whether it’s staying at Raith or going back to Rangers.
“The more games I get the more experience I’m going to get.
“When I do eventually go back to Rangers I’ve got more games under my belt to try and push for a place in that team.”
Stirling should have taken the lead inside two minutes when former Raith striker Gordon Smith missed a glorious chance to get one over the club that released him in the summer, but he headed wide from four yards when it looked to easier to score.
Two minutes later McKay announced himself by skipping through the Stirling defence and forcing a great save from keeper Callum Reidford with a powerful near post effort.
The Binos created another glaring chance on 10 minutes as Steven Doris volleyed over with just McGurn to beat.
Rovers were cut open again on 20 minutes as Sandy Cunningham raced on to a cutback to fire in a shot that McGurn superbly pushed wide at full stretch.
Phil Johnston was next to test McGurn with a dipping shot from 18 yards but the keeper again pulled off a fantastic save.
Rovers had also looked dangerous going forward, with McKay at the forefront, and it was the teenager who opened the scoring a minute before half-time, breaking into space to fire home a fierce left-foot strike from 20 yards.
The visitors doubled their lead on 53 minutes as Grant Anderson cracked home a stunning volley from the edge of the box after Stirling failed to clear a corner kick.
McGurn spared Raith a nervy ending by denying Cunningham in a one-on-one after the winger had broken through some weak Raith tackling.
Raith boss Grant Murray sung the praises of McKay afterwards, saying: “I told him in there that he was outstanding.
“I’m delighted that Rangers have allowed us to take him, but if he performs like that he’ll be back there. He was unplayable today.
“There was a nervousness about us until we got that first goal but once we got it I felt we were getting ourselves on top.”
Picture by George McLuskie