Football: Newcastle loanees 'must play' - Rangers coach

Rangers caretaker manager Kenny McDowall revealed on Thursday that he has been told he must play the five Newcastle United players who arrived on loan on transfer deadline day.

The extraordinary claim came after Newcastle players Haris Vuckic, Remie Streete, Gael Bigirimana, Kevin Mbabu and Shane Ferguson joined Rangers on Monday until the end of the campaign.

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley owns an 8.92 percent stake in Rangers and is being investigated by the Scottish Football Association over whether he has breached rules concerning dual interests.

"On Monday night I got a call from Derek (Llambias, Rangers chief executive) saying he had secured five players on loan," McDowall told a press conference at Rangers' Murray Park training ground.

"Three of them arrived and two of them will be coming in the next three or four weeks. They are injured.

"When I was given the job, I was told players incoming and outgoing wouldn't be my responsibility. I take the team and coach the team and I am more than happy to get on with it."

Asked if he had been explicitly told to play them every week, McDowall replied: "Yes. They are obviously good players -- they play for Newcastle -- but I will carry on and do what I am told to do."

The controversy continued when Llambias responded by issuing a statement to Sky Sports News denying there was any boardroom interference: "There's no way the board is picking the team.

"The basis of any loan deal is that the players who arrive bolster the side and give the squad more depth. That's exactly what is happening here."

McDowall stepped in after previous manager Ally McCoist resigned in December, but has already handed in his notice at Ibrox and will leave the club at the end of the season.

Rangers are currently second in the second-tier Scottish Championship, 16 points below leaders Hearts with two games in hand.