MIDFIELDER Kyle Hutton admits it is difficult to stay focused after finding his place in the Rangers team threatened by the arrival of five Newcastle players.
Magpies owner Mike Ashley sent Haris Vuckic, Gael Bigirimana, Remie Streete, Shane Ferguson and Kevin Mbabu north on transfer deadline day, with caretaker boss Kenny McDowall claiming he has been ordered to play the Magpies youngsters whenever fit.
Ibrox chief executive Derek Llambias hit back to say the interim manager has got it wrong - insisting he has been given no team orders.
But Hutton says the row has left him struggling to focus.
Asked if it was difficult to deal with the fact that performances in training might not be rewarded with a start because of the alleged selection instructions handed to McDowall, he said: “We all need to be professional but this is the situation we are in.
“It’s hard not to lose the head but you just need keep concentrating and focused on being professional.
“We just concentrate on working hard in training, we leave that side (who is picking the team) out of it. It’s just down to ourselves really and everybody being professional to prepare properly for every game.
“Whatever has happened with the Newcastle players is another matter, but if you are not playing – as I know from the start of the season - you can sort of get misled a wee bit but you just need to focus, keeping being professional and keep working hard.”
With Bigirimana, Streete, Ferguson and Mbabu all injured, only Vuckic – who netted in last Sunday’s 2-1 defeat to Raith Rovers – will face Hibernian tomorrow night as Rangers aim to keep hold of second place in the Scottish Championship.
But Hutton bears the Newcastle five no hard feelings as individuals.
“They have come in and been brand new,” he said. “The lot of them are good guys. They have got on well and settled in nicely.
“They are all good players so they are going to come in to bolster the squad and help the team. It’s only Haris who is fit now but I’m sure when the rest of them are fit they will give an extra spark to the team.
“Haris scoring at the weekend will give him confidence and hopefully he can take that into tonight.”