The Chalkboard: Hastie’s arrival at Rangers could spell the end for Candeias

Rangers play the final game of their Scottish Premiership season on Sunday but the gaze of Steven Gerrard and supporters is likely already on the new challenges that await in 2019/20.

Having already made a number of pre-contract signings, fans have something of an idea about how the Gers might line-up in the team’s earliest competitive matches and one player everyone is eager to see is Jake Hastie.

The Motherwell winger will join up with Gerrard’s squad for pre-season and he’ll be hoping he can get an opportunity to impress in upcoming European qualifiers.

Where will he fit in and can he displace the talent already at Ibrox?

On the chalkboard

Hastie’s pace and power are the main attributes that have caught everyone’s eye in his half-season in the Scottish Premiership and that’s principally what the Gers have been lacking at right wing for the last couple of years.

Bursting onto the Motherwell scene in January having spent time on loan at Alloa, the 20-year-old took the league by storm before speculation about his move to Rangers derailed performances somewhat.

The fact fans at Fir Park appear angry about his departure speaks volumes when it comes to his ability and potential.

Seven goals in 15 appearances for the Steelmen this term is compelling initial evidence that he can be a real success at Ibrox next season embedded in a more attacking and ambitious team.

The energy in and direct nature of his game will give Rangers a new dimension on the right flank, where Daniel Candeias has suffered inconsistent form throughout this season.

Candeias cancelled?

The Portuguese winger has been an effective signing at Rangers over the last two seasons and at times he has produced some joyous football that has made fans’ mouths water.

His problem though is reproducing that week upon week against all styles of opponent. He isn’t very versatile and his final ball delivery over the last few months has been pretty dire.

An accusation could be made that he slows Rangers down too much on the right side, often a little more patient with the ball than is necessary in the final third.

The explosive nature of Hastie could make his contribution obsolete, though it must be stressed that the youngster will need to find regular goals and assists, with Candeias providing a direct goal contribution of 18 this season.

There’s a case for the 31-year-old staying at the club beyond this summer, for depth reasons as much as anything, but Hastie’s arrival means he’s very much on notice and he must produce more exciting form if he wants to stay relevant at Ibrox.