RYAN HARDIE helped Rangers reach a cup final, won an international call-up and marked his birthday this week.
Now, he wants to celebrate that hat-trick with three vital points against Dundee United as Raith Rovers seek to ease their relegation worries.
The 20-year-old is on loan at Raith from Rangers and doubled up his first-team duties at Stark’s Park by netting in extra-time on Monday to help send the Ibrox development side into the SFA Youth Cup final with a win over Kilmarnock.
The striker, who began the season on loan at St Mirren, then learned he was in Scot Gemmill’s under-21s squad to face Estonia later this month.
And, after turning 20 on Friday, Hardie is keen to keep the highs going against Dundee United.
He said: “I only played 60 minutes for Raith last weekend so I got a text on Saturday night asking if I wanted to be on the bench and be involved towards the end of the Rangers game.
“I came on in 65 minutes and I managed to get the goal in extra-time, but the most important thing was getting through to that cup final.
“It is a different challenge at Raith but it is one that I am looking forward to.
“We need to fight for our lives. This is a massive club and it cannot get relegated, so I am looking forward to doing whatever I can to keep Raith up.
“I have played against Dundee United a couple of times this season and, there is no doubt about it, they are a real quality team.
“But we just need to focus and do what we do and hopefully try to get the win.
“United will be fired up for the game so we just need to match that and go that bit extra.”
Hardie spends the first half of each week at Rangers but is still to meet new Light Blues boss Pedro Caixinha.
But his Ibrox pals have been impressed by the Portuguese boss and the young marksman is eager to make an impression whenever he can.
He added: “I have tried to bump into him but I haven’t managed to see him yet. Hopefully I’ll see him round about Murray Park.
“The other lads who have met him say he has come in with fresh ideas but he wants to play football.
“His drills are sharp and are always football related so I look forward to experiencing that.
“It will be a new challenge for me. I set myself targets and I will hopefully try to achieve them.
“My target for next year is to get towards the Rangers team – that’s what I am planning to do.”