FORMER Athletic loanee Kai Kennedy has joined Championship rivals Hamilton Academical - and could make an instant East End return tomorrow.

The Rangers winger, 19, has moved to New Douglas Park on a temporary deal until the end of the season today (Friday).

Kennedy, a Scotland youth international who won his first under-21 cap in a 1-1 draw with Turkey in September, was signed for Dunfermline by former manager, Peter Grant, in the summer.

He signed a season-long loan deal and made his debut in a 4-1 win over Stenhousemuir in July's Premier Sports Cup group stages, impressing as a half-time substitute.

After again appearing from the bench on the opening day of the league season - a 2-2 draw at Morton - he was handed his first league start in a 3-0 home loss to Arbroath at the end of August.

He went on to make a further 12 appearances - seven of which he started - and scored one goal for the Pars, in last month's 3-3 draw with Queen of the South, in which he also had assists for Mark Connolly and Lewis McCann.

Kennedy, though, featured just three times since the arrival of Grant's replacement, John Hughes, with his last appearance coming as a substitute in the Boxing Day loss to Arbroath.

Following the match at Raith Rovers on January 2, Hughes said that "I don't think we will see Kai again since Rangers have done a recall", a move that was subsequently confirmed by Dunfermline last Friday.

READ MORE: Kennedy recalled by Rangers from Pars loan

Now, though, Kennedy has moved to their Championship rivals, and goes straight into their squad for their trip to East End tomorrow.

Speaking to Hamilton's website, Kennedy said: "I am pleased to be here.

"I have spoken with the gaffer at length about what he sees for me here and I am really excited for that and I just can’t wait to get started."

Hamilton's manager, Stuart Taylor, added: "We are delighted to welcome Kai to the football club. He is a very direct winger and one who will excite supporters with his direct style of play.

"I believe he is a great addition to the group of lads we have here and he’s a symbol of the identity we are working to build here."

The Lanarkshire club drew 0-0 at Dunfermline in September, before a controversial penalty conceded by, and red card - the latter of which was overturned on appeal - given to Graham Dorrans saw them win the return 1-0 last month.