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.

Some noticed a physical change in the striker, which could be behind his improved performances.

 

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.

Verdict:

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.

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