Rangers winger opens up on 'sacrifices' made and life in a Covid-secure hotel

Rangers winger Josh McPake is out to make an impact on loan at Harrogate after stepping outside the Ibrox bubble.
Rangers winger Josh McPake is on loan at English League Two side Harrogate.Rangers winger Josh McPake is on loan at English League Two side Harrogate.
Rangers winger Josh McPake is on loan at English League Two side Harrogate.

Living in a Covid-secure hotel away from his family – including brothers Max, Luke, Matthew and Joseph – McPake has already spent the first half of the season in the Scottish Championship at Morton.

It is a step the 19-year-old feels he needed to take to broaden his horizons.

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"It's about sacrifices, these are the sacrifices you need to make. Sometimes you need to leave if you want to get to your end goal," said McPake, who has 18 months left on his deal at Rangers.

"I'm only 19 but going out on loan makes you more mature because you're playing with older players, it naturally rubs off on you and I do feel I've matured a lot.

"It sounds strange but even just washing my own kit at Morton helped. You couldn't shower at the training ground because of Covid, so you'd train, go home and wash your kit.

"Now I'm in a hotel, it's very strict in terms of what we can do. I'll come back and play PlayStation - I'm a FIFA and Call of Duty man - but there are so many games we're training, travelling or playing.

"I'm just pleased we can still play football."

He also credits his time with Morton boss David Hopkin for improving him as a player.

McPake made 10 appearances for the Ton and believes ex-Crystal Palace midfielder Hopkin's influence was priceless.

"He talked me through things, he would always let me know what he wanted and was a massive part of my development," the Scotland Under-19 international explained.

"He showed me the ugly side of the game, the defensive side, and he valued that in his team. He would also talk to me about goals and assists all the time as that's how you get noticed. He has been a massive part of my development.

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"He helped show me how to do both – the ugly and nitty-gritty which people don't want to do – and taking people on, the stuff I'm good at. He's managed to get me between the two."

Hopkins' advice has started to rub off and McPake scored his first senior goal in Harrogate's 3-2 defeat at Tranmere last month.

Simon Weaver's side have kept clear of immediate relegation danger in Sky Bet League Two this season after promotion to the EFL for the first time in their history last term.

"It is a massive step up, the professionalism even at the lower clubs in England is top notch and you're looked after so well," said McPake.

"With the fourth tier it's so easy to look down on it from the outside but when you're here, the first week you realise how big it is.

"The standard of players and what they are trying to do, they have the same target as me – to make a name for themselves.

"Rangers helped me a lot with my development on the ball but the hardest part is making the jump from the youth team to first team.

"The manager is no-nonsense, has good morals and will crack down on mistakes. They always want better. I like that."

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