Rising left-back Jack MacKenzie aims to impress at Ibrox today to ensure he remains high in manager Stephen Glass’ thoughts over the summer.
Glass will embark on a squad rebuild in the upcoming transfer window and MacKenzie, 21, is determined to be part of his long term plans.
MacKenzie burst into the first team set up when handed not only his debut but a starting slot in the first game following the exit of former manager Derek McInnes.
Interim boss Paul Sheerin gave the full-back an opportunity with a debut against Dundee United in March and he grabbed it.
MacKenzie has since started three of the last four Premiership games, two of them under new manager Glass.
Now he has that taste of first team action he is hungry for more.
The left-back is determined to help ruin Rangers’ Premiership trophy celebrations today to stake a claim for next season.
He said: “When you get the opportunity here it is up to you to make the most of it.
“You have to perform because if you don’t then you won’t get back in again.
“It has been great to get my chance and I have loved every minute of it.
“I had to wait for my chance and had my loan spell (at Forfar), but the season is ending at the wrong time for me.
“I am grateful to Paul Sheerin and Barry Robson for giving me the chance against Dundee United then the new gaffer came in.
“So the timing probably worked out perfectly for me.
“I have loved every minute of it and just want more.”
Since his debut in the 1-0 loss to Dundee United the highly rated defender has featured in all but one game he has been available for.
He was cup tied for the Scottish Cup matches against Dundee United (3-0 loss), Livingston (2-2 draw, 5-3 win on penalties) and Dumbarton (1-0 win) having featured in the tournament earlier this season whilst on loan at Forfar.
MacKenzie is in contention to start at Ibrox today and will be tasked with stopping a potent attack that has netted 53 times in 18 Premiership home games, all wins.
Rangers are bidding to end the season unbeaten in the Premiership and are currently on 99 points.
These are the level of games the left-back wants and he aims to rise to the challenge.
He said: “I want to be playing in these games and involved at Ibrox and Celtic Park.
“They are the champions, the best team in the league, so we want to go down there and get a result.
“I want to be playing against the best in the country and I know it will be a tough game but I am very much looking forward to it.
“I have played against Rangers many times at youth level and then a few times with the reserves.
“It’s always a big game against Rangers and they are a quality side.
“We are all up for it.
“It is important for us to go down there, put in a performance and try our best to win the game.
“We have to go down there with confidence and belief.
“We have great individuals and great players here so it is up to us to go down there with the right mentality to produce a performance.
“You saw in the game against Celtic (1-1 draw) that the belief was there.
“The performance was also there against Celtic but we obviously didn’t quite get it over the line.
“Hopefully we finish the season off with a high.”
MacKenzie underlined his quality by snuffing out the threat of Hibs’ danger man, right sided winger Martin Boyle, in the recent 1-0 loss at Pittodrie.
Aberdeen born MacKenzie joined the Dons at eight years old and attended the SFA Youth Academy and Performance School at Hazlehead Academy.
In March Aberdeen secured the former reserve team captain on a two year contract extension until summer 2023.
In a memorable two months he has broken into the first team, become a starting regular and signed a new deal.
He said: “I need to carry that on into pre-season now and establish myself.
“It will be up to me, the gaffer has given me the opportunity in the last few games so I have to take it and keep going.”