Mark Warburton insists he is not looking for his loan Rangers to do him any more favours as his side closes in on the Ladbrokes Championship title.
Gers were able to extend their lead over rivals Hibernian to a commanding 14 points after Ibrox youngster Andy Murdoch - who is spending the season with Queen of the South - smashed home a spectacular winner for the Palmerston side on Tuesday night.
Warburton joked after his own team’s 2-0 win over Raith Rovers that Murdoch’s contribution had all been part of his “masterplan”.
But the Englishman was nothing but serious when he insisted he would prefer the other youngsters he has farmed out to concentrate on their own development rather than worry about assisting Rangers’ promotion push.
Hibs still have to face a number of sides who have borrowed from the Light Blues before the season is out, with Rovers - who have extended their deal for Ryan Hardie untll the end of the season - next up on March 19.
Tom Walsh is at Dumbarton, Robbie Crawford is with Alloa, while Morton have taken Luca Gasparotto and all face the Leith men before they round off their season with another clash against Murdoch’s Doonhamers on April 30.
Warburton said: “I’d like to think any young player out on loan is giving 100 per cent, no matter who they are playing.
“The idea is to send the lad out to as high a level as possible and let them develop.
“So I was delighted for Andy. Ryan Hardie has gone to Raith too and also scored at the weekend. But I’d expect them to give their all every time they play.
“It is about them going out and playing games that really mean something. You can’t replicate three points on a Saturday afternoon.”
Gers have, however, kept promising 17-year-old midfielder Liam Burt on their books for the time being.
He was given his debut off the bench against Rovers and his boss has high hopes.
“He didn’t look overawed at all,” said Warburton, who will wait to see how many of his players receive national team call-ups before deciding whether to postpone the March 26 clash with Queens.
“He’s fearless, a young player who has done exceptionally well here and internationally for the 17s and 19s. He’s just signed a new contract and has a really bright future. He’s a good talent.”
Rangers will put their top-flight plans to one side this weekend as they concentrate on their William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-final with Dundee.
Paul Hartley’s side grabbed an impressive 0-0 draw at Celtic Park on Wednesday even after resting top-scorer Kane Hemmings and influential forwards Greg Stewart and Gary Harkins.
But Warburton has backed his side to put up a good test again after knocking out fellow Premiership side Kilmarnock in the previous round.
He said: “Saturday’s going to be a tough test. Dundee showed last night that they have strength in depth. They made four or five changes and I’m sure those boys will come back in.
“They played three at the back so they have flexibility of formation and they are a really good team. It’s a big game for them in terms of silverware and we recognise the test.
“I think they will give it a go. They get men forward, they move the ball quickly, they have wide men playing on the opposite flank to their preferred foot, meaning they can drive inside.
“But whatever they do, we will look forward to it. We will respect them. If they try and press us high or drop off, if they play three at the back or four, whatever they play it will be a challenge for us.
“They are a good side but so are we. We’re in good form ourselves, we’re at home and I’m looking forward to a high-quality encounter. It’s up to us to get on the ball and be brave. We will be better for this experience, I’m sure.”
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