RYAN HARDIE hopes to play his way to a new deal at Rangers after being brought in from the cold by Graeme Murty.
After making just one appearance this season under Pedro Caixinha, the young striker has featured twice in two games since Murty took temporary charge.
With his Ibrox contract up at the end of the season, Hardie’s introduction has come at a crucial time.
Now the 20-year-old – who struck Scotland Under-21s’ equaliser against Latvia on Friday – is determined to prove his worth.
“At the start of the season, I was speaking to Pedro about my options. He said he wanted me to stay and be part of his squad,” Hardie revealed.
“It was about me staying and trying to force my way into the team. It never happened under Pedro, but now I’m happy to be doing it under Graeme.
“I’ve had a lot of experience of first-team football out on loan. It’s about trying to push on and get more games now.
“This is my last season at Rangers, so I’m playing play for a contract. Getting a sniff with the first team has certainly given me a boost.
“I’ve worked with Graeme Murty for a couple of months when I wasn’t in the first-team, so he’s had the confidence in me to take me up to the first-team and get me involved.
“He’s a big factor in me being confident and being who I am today.”
Hardie’s impact for Scotland Under-21s on Friday was unquestionable. The half-time substitute instantly made Scot Gemmill’s side a more dangerous prospect.
In the end, his goal – a confidently taken injury-time penalty – secured a potentially vital point.
On Tuesday against Ukraine, Hardie hopes Scotland’s kids can claim the third victory of their European Championships qualification campaign.
He had: “We’ve got seven points out of 12 so far, and at the start we’d have taken that. But Friday’s ultimate disappointment was that the first half wasn’t good enough – it wasn’t us.
“The second half we turned it around and started to dominate possession, and we’re glad we’ve got a game on Tuesday to try and turn it around.
“The manager gave us half-an-hour to an hour to think about Friday’s game, then we had to put it behind us, look forward to the next game, and try to take four points out of six.”
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