Paul Hartley has backed new Rangers signing Greg Stewart to succeed at Ibrox, as reported by The Daily Record.
Hartley was the manager who signed Stewart up at Dundee from the Scottish lower leagues, giving him the opportunity to shine in the top-flight and eventually win a move to the English Championship.
Having also experienced the pressure of playing for one of Glasgow’s big clubs, the former Scotland international is well placed to offer an insight into how Stewart might perform for the Gers next season.
His verdict is positive, believing that the attacker can become a big part of Steven Gerrard’s team.
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As quoted by The Daily Record, Hartley said:
“Greg showed his quality at Kilmarnock and against Rangers he scored a magnificent goal.
“He was on top of his game in the first half of the season and then it didn’t quite work out for him in the second half of the season for whatever reason.
“It’s a great opportunity for Greg and I don’t think anyone can begrudge him it. People might question him but it’s up to Greg to go and prove people wrong and I’m sure he will.
“He knows he will need to work hard because it won’t be easy for him. At 29 he has to grasp the opportunity to go there and not be a squad player. I don’t think he will be. He has to go impress, be as fit as he can be and be ready.”
Hartley is right to point to Stewart’s form for Kilmarnock in the first half of last season as a sign he can produce for Rangers next term.
The 29-year-old was scoring and assisting regularly before his season was disrupted with a loan move to Aberdeen in January.
If he can capture that kind of form, and the kind of contribution he produced for Hartley in the past, then he’s going to be a better Rangers signing than some expect.
Also possessing versatility, he can slot into a number of attacking positions for Gerrard.
As squad players go, arriving on a free transfer, the Ibrox club could have done a lot worse.