Thursday night saw Mike Ashley’s half million bonus all but disappearing, though there was another surprise with Shane Ferguson’s belated appearance for Rangers.

The first leg of the final play-off for a place in the Scottish Premier League took place last night and after 47 minutes Rangers were three down to Motherwell at Ibrox.

Haris Vuckic played the full 90 minutes and a late Darren McGregor gave the Glasgow club some faint hope of turning things around in the second leg on Sunday.

However, it was the introduction of Newcastle loan player Shane Ferguson for the last 25 minutes which turned the tide.

Looking the best player on the pitch and very sharp considering his long-term absence, Ferguson put in a number of decent crosses from the left and his display has led to Rangers fans calling for him to start in the second leg.

For Newcastle fans, we wonder whether Shane Ferguson and/or Haris Vuckic will end up being announced as ‘like a new signing’ this summer as NUFC have a massive job in terms of bouncing back from the mess of the season just gone.

Whilst there are claims of a spending spree by Mike Ashley, it is hard to see all the gaping holes being filled by outside signings.

Amazingly, despite being so out of the first team fixture at Newcastle for so long, both Shane Ferguson and Haris Vuckic still have a year left of their contracts remaining at St. James’ Park.

A disastrous polocy of handing ridiculously long contracts to young players who’d achieved nothing, saw Haris Vuckic awarded a new five and half year contract in January 2011, whilst Shane Ferguson was given a new five year deal in summer 2016 (back in the day even Nile Ranger was awarded a five year deal).

Mike Ashley was due a £500,000 bonus if the Newcastle loan players helped Rangers into the Premier League this season but with hopes of that fading he won’t be best pleased, nor is he likely to be thinking of doing the Glasgow club any ‘favours’ as he faces conflict with the new Rangers board over his crippling contracts via Sports Direct.

So as for the future of the five Newcastle loan players who were sent up to Rangers, they are now waiting to see what Mike Ashley’s next move is for them all, like moving pawns around a chess board.

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