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Rangers will dictate whether Kai Kennedy extends Inverness loan, says John Robertson

Kai Kennedy in action for Inverness.
Kai Kennedy in action for Inverness.

Caley Thistle manager John Robertson says the ball is in Rangers’ court over a possible loan extension for teenage winger Kai Kennedy.

Youngster Kennedy has been an impressive performer since joining Caley Jags at the start of the season, making seven appearances and netting his first senior goal in Friday’s 3-0 victory over Queen of the South.

The 18-year-old has signed initially until next month and although Inverness have first option to extend the loan deal, Robertson says it will depend on whether the Ibrox club see him as being a part of their first team plans.

Robertson said: “It will be reviewed in January. At the end of the day, he is Rangers’ player.

“From their aspect, they understand how big a talent he is. He was in their squad at the start of the season.

“There are contractual issues between them but I think that’s going to be resolved, I think it’s going in the right direction for Rangers and for Kai.

“What they wanted him to do was come up here and be toughened up a little bit, and he has hit the ground running.

“The initial deal was to January. If Rangers are to leave him out on loan, we have the first option on that loan. If Rangers want him to stay on loan, I don’t think there’s any problem there.

“If he continues to play as he has done in recent weeks, the problem we may have is that Rangers may want him for their first team.

Robertson feels Kennedy has added an extra dimension to Caley Jags’ side, which has justified the decision to bring the Scotland under-19 international to the Highlands.

Robertson added: “Our job for a loan player is to develop them. That’s one of the reasons we’ve got to look at loan players – do we develop another team’s player or do we continue with one of our own young players in that position to develop him for us?

“I very rarely take loan players because I feel I’ve got to be fair to players who have committed themselves to the club full-time, and signed one, two or three-year contracts.

“First and foremost I’ve got to be fair to those lads who have made the decision to live in the Highlands and play for us.

“We just felt in this situation that Kai was of an exceptional ability level. It was worth taking the chance on him, and I think we have seen already he is a player who gets people off their seat.

“Even in training and in games, when he gets the ball you just do not know what he’s going to do.

“There were only 300 fans at the last home game against Raith, but I’m sure those who were not stuck to their seats because of the cold would have been off their seat when he got the ball.”

Robertson feels Kennedy is contributing to a dangerous attacking unit, with the Caley Jags boss thrilled to see all his forward players among the goals in recent matches.

He added: “We have asked Roddy MacGregor to add goals to his game, he has got a couple already this season and he’s capable of getting more.

“Miles Storey scoring from a striker’s position will do him the world of good, while Kai Kennedy got off the mark.

“James Keatings has been scoring recently, Nikolay Todorov has led the line terrifically well for us, while Shane Sutherland has had a couple of was unlucky not to have another one on Friday.

“That’s important – as we want competition for places all round.”

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