Pedro Caixinha's commendable comments a major boost to Rangers' Ryan Hardie

Rangers Manager  Pedro Caixinha during the UEFA Europa League first qualifying round match between Rangers and Progres Niederkorn at the Ibrox Stadium on June 29, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Ryan Hardie is right on the verge of the Rangers' first-team and this could be his breakthrough season at Ibrox.

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.

Pedro Caixinha manager of Rangers gestures during the Scottish Cup Semi-Final match between Celtic and Rangers at Hampden Park on April 23, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland.

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.

"No (Rangers don’t need to sign another striker)”, Caixinha told Herald Scotland after ten-man Gers lost 3-2 at home to Hibernian on Saturday.

“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.

Czech Republic's Alex Kral (R) vies with Scotland's forward Ryan Hardie during the Under 21 international football third place match Czech Republic vs Scotland at the de Lattre-de-Tassigny...

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.

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