Alan Stubbs is adamant the success of on-loan Rangers midfielder Ovie Ejaria will come down to temperament as much as talent – and reckons Celtic flop Charly Musonda should serve as a cautionary tale.
New Rangers manager Steven Gerrard worked with the 20-year-old in the youth ranks at Liverpool and has wasted no time in snapping him up until the end of the season as he seeks to add style and guile to the engine room.
Stubbs has seen plenty of the youngster from his work south of the Border and has faith that Gerrard must have seen something special in the England Under-21 internationalist.
However, the former Hibernian manager believes Musonda, whose 18-month loan deal from Chelsea ended after six months, despite arriving to much fanfare, underlines the danger of relying on untried youngsters in the Glasgow pressure-cooker.
“Steven Gerrard must see in his attitude that he can cope with the expectations of playing every other week in front of 50,000 people,” said Stubbs.
“You have seen some positives in the loan system, whereas Musonda would probably be a negative. He did come up with a huge reputation but obviously Brendan [Rodgers] did not see enough to justify him getting more of a chance at Celtic. I’ve seen Ejaria a few times. He has obviously been out on loan and has had experience in terms of seeing what it’s all about.”
Ejaria’s arrival adds to the captures of Allan McGregor, Scott Arfield and Jamie Murphy as Gerrard’s Rangers revolution begins in earnest. Stubbs believes the Liverpool legend has already revitalised the Ibrox atmosphere but doubts that Rodgers is looking over his shoulder just yet.
“The announcement of Steven’s appointment was very similar to Brendan,” said Stubbs, pictured. “In terms of reputation in management, Brendan has a bigger stock, but as Steven Gerrard, the player, who else would get 10,000 Rangers to go to Ibrox for his unveiling?
“But I don’t think it would have mattered to Brendan who went in. He is so focused on taking the club to levels it hasn’t reached and I don’t think that is finished.”
Meanwhile, Stubbs believes Dylan McGeouch, another player strongly linked with joining Rangers, has a dream dilemma as he weighs up interest from a host of suitors north and south of the Border.
The 25-year-old is free to leave Easter Road following the expiry of his current deal and, as well as Rangers, Blackburn Rovers and Sunderland have been credited with an interest. The offer of a contract extension which would put McGeouch among Hibs’ top earners at around £3,000 per week remains on the table.
Stubbs, the man who took McGeouch to Easter Road from Celtic in 2014, said: “I think it’s a nice dilemma for Dylan to have. He obviously has a contract on the table from Hibs.
It’s a nice position for him to be in, but I’m sure these clubs will want an answer soon. They won’t want it dragging on all summer.”