Highly-rated Rangers youngster reflects on 'debut to remember' after inspiring loan side to famous victory

Rangers youngster Kai Kennedy reflected on a "debut to remember" as he inspired loan side Raith Rovers to a famous 3-2 win over Hearts at Tynecastle.

Rangers youngster Kai Kennedy takes on Hearts captain Steven Naismith during his impressive debut for loan side Raith Rovers  (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)
Rangers youngster Kai Kennedy takes on Hearts captain Steven Naismith during his impressive debut for loan side Raith Rovers (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

Kennedy, who made the switch to Stark's Park earlier this month after spending the first half of the season on loan at Inverness Caledonian Thistle, hit the ground running with two assists in a stand-out display as Rovers shocked the league leaders on their own patch.

Playing on the left wing, Kennedy was a constant thorn in the Hearts defence, winning the penalty that put Rovers 2-0 up, drawing a foul from Michael Smith after skinning the Northern Ireland full-back as he sprinted into the area.

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The highly-rated 18-year-old was also the main architect of Rovers' third, superbly turning away from Craig Halkett before putting the ball on a plate for teammate Reghan Tumilty to net from close range, leading his manager John McGlynn to hail an “excellent performance” from the Gers youngster.

It was the first time Raith had claimed victory at Tynecastle since December 1993 in what was their first match in almost a month having only returned to training the day before the match after a Covid outbreak forced the Kirkcaldy club into isolation.

Kennedy, who recently signed a two-year contract extension at Ibrox, told the Raith website: "I'm happy to make my debut and it was certainly one to remember. Going to Hearts away was always going to be very tough but to go 3-0 up at Tynecastle ... you won't see a lot of teams able to do that.

"They came back into the game but it was always going to be hard against a very good side, but the lads put the work and effort in and it was a top performance from everyone to get the win."

Speaking shortly after joining Raith, and reflecting on his new Rangers deal, which ties him to the Ibrox club until 2023, the youngster added: "It's been long hard work, but it's what I've wanted. There's been a lot of ups and downs with it but I'm just glad to have got it done in the end."

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