Rangers: Ryan Hardie delighted at dream double
Last updated on .From the section Football
Being chosen ahead of his boyhood hero, scoring twice on his first start for the team he supported as a child, Ryan Hardie admits it was a dream come true.
The 18-year-old striker scored twice as Rangers came from behind to defeat Dumbarton 3-1.
"When I was growing up, Kris Boyd was my boyhood hero," Hardie told BBC Scotland. "I had pictures of him in my room.
"I am just ecstatic to be playing in front of him."
Hardie had made four substitute appearances since his first-team debut against Falkirk in September.
But he made the most of his opportunity when handed a start against Dumbarton while Boyd, the top scorer in Scottish Premier League history, was left sitting on the bench.
"Kris Boyd has been very supportive of me and helped me through and given me a few pointers," said Hardie, who also praised the club's other experienced strikers.
"The same with Kenny Miller and big Jon Daly as well - and the captain, Lee McCulloch, has given me a lot of confidence.
"It was never a target for me at the start of the year.
"The target was just to play regular football for the Under-20s, but it's just amazing to play for the first team from the start."
Hardie was given his chance with points being crucial for Rangers as they attempt to secure the runners-up spot in the Scottish Championship ahead of the promotion play-offs.
"It was obviously a dream come true - my first start," he said.
"I was just hoping to get through the game, play well and never expected a goal.
"But I always hoped and, to be fair, I was confident I could get a goal. In time it would come.
"It is one of the best feelings you could ever get, scoring for my childhood club."
Since Stuart McCall became Rangers manager in March, he has also handed regular starts to teenage midfielders Andy Murdoch and Tom Walsh.
"The gaffer is obviously looking to the future and to use some of the young lads," added Hardie.
"It is good to get a chance and I'm delighted to play for Rangers. I hope to just keep being involved in first-team squads."