BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
Raith Rovers have agreed a one-month loan deal for highly-rated Rangers striker Ryan Hardie.
The 18-year-old has already made 10 appearances for the Ibrox outfit and opened his account for the club with a clinical brace in a 3-1 win over Dumbarton in April 2015.
However, Gers boss Mark Warburton is keen for the talented teenager – who has been limited to four outings this term – to get regular first-team football.
The paperwork is expected to be formally completed ahead of Saturday’s Championship fixture against Livingston, allowing the striker to potentially make his debut against the Lions.
Should Hardie impress, and Rangers agree to an extension, the initial loan deal is likely to be lengthened until the end of the current campaign.
Hardie will add some desperately needed depth to Raith’s attacking pool, with Leicester City loanee Harry Panayiotou their only other specialised striker.
Ironically, the youngster was at the centre of a spat between Rovers and Rangers earlier this season when he was allowed to leave Scotland under-19 duty ahead of a Championship fixture involving the sides.
Craig Wighton, who was on loan at Raith from Dundee at the time, remained with the national team and the Fifers asked SFA compliance officer, Tony McGlennan, to investigate a potential rule breach.
In a statement, they urged Mr McGlennan “to consider whether Rangers FC, through David Weir, have breached SFA articles and rules by requesting and securing the early release of its player Ryan Hardie”.
Rangers subsequently hit back by demanding an apology from the Stark’s Park club and suggesting they had “besmirched the honour of” Weir with their comments.
However, the clubs have buried the hatchet and Hardie will now look to enjoy a prolific stint with Rovers.