Ryan Hardie was Man of the Match, as Livingston put Hearts to the sword in last night’s SPL fixture.
The young striker has only just returned from a long spell on the sidelines. However, he scored the second and third goals in a 5-0 win at the Tony Macaroni arena.
As a result, he caused quite a stir among Rangers fans, who feel he could already do a job at Ibrox.
Ryan Hardie has got to be worth a recall…. the boy scores wherever he goes
— Rangers Easy OK (@CFLOYAL) December 15, 2018
Ryan Hardie 3 goals in 4 appearances (197 minutes)
Kyle Lafferty 4 goals in 14 appearances (643 minutes
If you don't think scoring goals is even worthy of a place as a rotation player then what does he need to do? Do you understand football? pic.twitter.com/AtVcNCJCef
— BIG DOG SOSA (@bigGucciL) December 14, 2018
Some noticed a physical change in the striker, which could be behind his improved performances.
Livi have outplayed Hearts so far. Ryan Hardie has played quite well. He’s looking a lot stronger these days.
— Jamie (@jamiecurrie89) December 14, 2018
He certainly took his two goals well. Despite his long-term absence, he has clearly retained the composure required of all top strikers.
Yet, some weren’t convinced that we were seeing anything new in last night’s display. For one, it’s indisputable that Hearts’ woeful defending gave him a helping hand.
Ryan Hardie will enjoy playing for Livingston. He's got great movement on the counter attack.
It's always been the link up play and back to goal stuff he's struggled with.
— Alexander Staff (@strider80) December 14, 2018
When Rangers loanees start banging goals in, it’s inevitable that fans will call for their return. Rightly so. If you have players already contracted to the club who are proven SPL goal scorers, why look anywhere else?
Yet, should Hardie return now, he would not realistically be first choice at Ibrox. In reality, he would mainly be restricted to cameos and the occasional start.
At Livingston, he is the main man and the importance of that for his development, cannot be underestimated.
Only just fit again, the main thing Hardie needs is an extended run of games.
If he can cope with the burden of being the main provider of Livi’s goals over a sustained period, he can then return to Ibrox ready to genuinely compete for a starting position.