After five months in charge at Ibrox, the jury remains very much out on manager Pedro Caixinha. On one hand, the Portuguese has presided over an impressive recruitment drive, hitherto unknowns Alfredo Morelos and Dani Candeias already looking like inspired additions.
On the other, Rangers’ humiliating Europa League qualifying defeat to Luxembourg minnows Progres Niederkorn will live long in the memory while improvements in the Scottish Premiership haven’t exactly been clear to see.
However, Caixinha’s willingness to give youth a chance has helped him remain in the good books of many supporters. And, despite a huge number of new additions, the 46-year-old’s desire to provide a path to the first-team for Rangers’ Auchenhowie graduates remains.
“We have Ryan Hardie, who was on the bench in midweek. We have Zak Rudden who is 17 but I trust him as well. If I have to go back to the youth team to get some players for one or two matches we should have no problems with that.”
And Caixinha’s commendable trust in youth should be a major boost to Hardie in particular.
The 20-year-old offered a tantalising glimpse of his vast potential as Scotland reached the semi-finals of the prestigious Toulon Tournament this summer, scoring three goals in the competition including a stunning strike to seal the third place play-off against the Czech Republic.
As such, supporters have clamoured for the Stranraer-born forward, a boyhood Rangers fan, to be handed an opportunity this season despite the signings of Morelos and Eduardo Herrera, plus the presence of the evergreen Kenny Miller.
And though Caixinha may continue to divide opinion, Hardie can take solace in knowing that he will get his chance as long as the Portuguese remains at Ibrox.