Greg Stewart has hinted that he is ready to turn down a contract extension at Dundee which will undoubtedly alert potential suitors, including Rangers, writes Lindsay Herron.
The 26-year-old striker has one year left on his deal at Dundee and his stock is high after an excellent season forming a highly profitable partnership with Kane Hemmings.
A number of English Championship clubs have been keeping an eye on him, but he could be swayed by a strong Rangers interest after spending part of his development with the Ibrox club.
Stewart said: “I spoke to the manager the other day and had a wee chat to see what’s happening. I need to wait and see what I am going to do.
“Do I expect an offer from them? Basically, that’s what I am waiting on, yes.
“Would I sign an extension? I’ve not made my mind up yet. I just want to finish the season and do my best and take it from there. As a footballer, you always want to play at the highest level possible and whether it’s at Dundee or elsewhere I don’t know.
“I just want to concentrate on doing what I am doing. I am enjoying my football and I want to finish the season and see what happens.
“Would I have any concerns about seeing out my contract? No, none at all.”
Although he has scored fewer goals this season than last, his link-up play with Hemmings, in particular, has been excellent.
It’s a remarkable turn-around for a player who was playing amateur football with Syngenta AFC only six years ago when he went to work at the Grangemouth oil refinery company after being rejected by Hearts as a teenager. Cowdenbeath took a chance and he made the most of his opportunity, but Stewart always had belief in his own ability.
He said: “If a coach doesn’t fancy you, then he doesn’t fancy you. Sometimes it goes for you and sometimes it doesn’t. But how many of those players I played with have actually made it in the game? The way I see it, it’s about getting an opportunity and I don’t think it’s that bad to go to the lower levels and learn and get experience. That’s stood me in good stead for what I’m doing now.
“Rejection spurred me on. I’ve always thought like that. I love proving people wrong. But it’s hard when you are a young boy getting released.
“Suddenly you have to get a job outside of football. And you do wonder if you are going to get your chance.
“But I always thought I was good enough. I always believed in myself – and I feel I have proved that I am.”
Stewart recommended Hemmings to Dundee after the pair had worked so well together at Cowdenbeath and he is so proud that the two of them have now been short-listed for PFA Scotland Player of the Year.
He said: “We just clicked straight away. We’ve not worked on it, it just happened naturally. I know where he’s going to put the ball and he knows what I’m going to do. It just keeps on working.
“Paul Hartley asked me before he signed him what he was like and I said ‘definitely sign him. I enjoy playing alongside him.’
“We’ve shown again this season that we can do it at the highest level in Scotland.
“For Kane to get 25 goals for Dundee in one season is amazing. We are a bottom- six side this season, which wasn’t what we hoped for, and I think it’s the first time two Dundee players have been nominated, so that’s great.”