BARRIE MCKAY didn’t realise what he had until it was gone. Now he is determined to make the most of the opportunity he has been given at Rangers.

After bursting onto the scene three years ago, the winger is at last showing what he can do in Light Blue after a stunning start to the season.

McKay has spent time on loan at Morton and Raith Rovers in recent years as he has fallen down the Ibrox pecking order and seemingly out of favour.

But the arrival of Mark Warburton and his return to Murray Park has kick-started his career as he has quickly become a key player for Rangers this term.

McKay said: “I’ve grown up more. I don’t know if I’ve become a different person but going away has helped me.

“When you go away and come back you see how good we have really got it here.

“You see that teams don’t have this facility and it makes you want to do better when you come back.

“What was the biggest difference? I think just the facilities that we have at Murray Park.

“I wasn’t washing my kit or anything like that. But the facilities and the pitches here are amazing and it’s not quite the same elsewhere.

“I always appreciated what I had at Rangers because I came here from Kilmarnock as a young boy. But it’s good to go out and see what other places are like.

“To go to another team that’s not regarded as big, you see a different side to the fans.

“Things like they don’t expect to win every week. So there’s also bigger pressure at Rangers too but I like that. I put pressure on myself to succeed.

“I think it depends on the player. Some will cope quickly and some will take a bit of time to settle in.

“But we’ve got it great here and when you go out on loan you don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone.”

McKay has made the most of his chance to impress this term as he has become an integral part of Warburton’s plans and helped the Gers to eight successive wins.

He netted his second goal of the campaign in the 5-1 win over Queen of the South last weekend and will now look to see off his former side when Raith visit Ibrox this afternoon.

McKay said: “It is great when a manager comes in and shows real faith in you. It puts real confidence in you and your ability.

“He has come in and played me every game and that shows he does have confidence in me and that has shown on the pitch.

“I always had confidence from all the managers i have played under but it’s just the way football is that you sometimes have to go elsewhere to be guaranteed a game.

“That’s what I did and I saw a different side of football as well and met a lot of new people and I’m grateful for that.”

Rangers have got the benefits of McKay’s impressive run of form so far as he has helped Warburton’s side to the top of the Championship.

But the 20-year-old was overlooked for a place in Ricky Sbragia’s Under-21 squad for the friendly with Northern Ireland this afternoon.

McKay said: “I’m not too fussed. My big priority in the summer was to come back and play for Rangers.

"If I got an international call-up on the back of that then that would be great.

“But if I am not playing here then that’s when I need to worry. But if I got the call from Scotland in the future I’d be delighted.”

*Tickets for the Rangers v Raith Rovers game are on sale until kick-off from the Rangers Ticket Centre. Prices from £18 adults, £13 concession and £5 juniors.