Ryan Hardie’s Rangers future hasn’t been the source of much talk recently. Is that because the writing is on the wall?
The Rangers youngster has spent his entire youth career with the club. Spending four years in the youth team between 2010 and 2014, he quickly shot himself to stardom. A series of impressive displays seemed to have everyone talking about when he would make his step up.
The next step in the youngster’s development were some loan periods. This involved spells at Raith Rovers, St Mirren, and latterly Livingston. He currently operates with Livi these days on a season-long loan deal. This came after signing a new one-year extension with Rangers at the start of the season.
But, truth be told, Hardie has failed to really light up the Scottish lower divisions during his respective loan spells. He has shown some real efficiency whilst operating in the Scottish Championship. Rangers quality? Unfortunately not.
Over the course of his four previous loan spells, the youngster bagged just 28 goals in 82 appearances. It’s a decent return, but nothing mind-blowing unfortunately.
Time to start discovering potential
At 21-years of age, Hardie should now be discovering some of his potential. Unfortunately, he’s still trying to fully recover from a troublesome injury that dates back to last season.
You have to now compare him to Rangers’ current forwards. Outside of Umar Sadiq, who’s been a woeful signing so far, is he capable of stepping into Kyle Lafferty or Alfredo Morelos’ boots? As disappointing as it is to say for a young Scottish striker, the answer is no. As is stands, Hardie just hasn’t been able to replicate his goal-machine form during his youth career into his professional one.
Meanwhile, Rangers are consistently striving to improve under Steven Gerrard. Lafferty and Morelos have so much traits to their game, and Gerrard will only want to improve that. With Hardie’s contract running out in 2020, time is simply running out to impress.
Livingston’s Dolly Menga is having a fine campaign, and will be tricky for Hardie to overtake in the pecking order. If he is going to return and fight for a place in the Rangers squad, he needs to kick on and show it in the Premiership.
Should he fail to do that, then it may be time to admit that Rangers have just gotten too good for Hardie’s potential.