Impressing Steven Gerrard and winning over Jake's mum ... how Rotherham United landed wing ace Hastie

Jake HastieJake Hastie
Jake Hastie

The word reverberated around the empty spaces of the training ground.

A young winger was taking part in a short, eight-a-side game the day after his deadline-day move from Glasgow Rangers.

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He beat a man, raced in on goal and did everything right only to see goalkeeper Lewis Price push away his shot.

All players swear but the curse was bellowed, not shouted.

Anger marked his face like his curse scarred the air before he gathered himself and ran back into position.

Welcome, Jake Hastie.

That was last month when the 20-year-old arrived at Rotherham United not fully fit but with a reputation as one of Scotland’s hottest prospects.

Since then, he’s bagged three goals in his first three League One appearances and, only five matches into his loan, is already the Millers’ ‘go to’ figure for set-pieces or when they’re looking for a touch of one-on-one quality to open up the opposition.

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“He’s hit the ground running,” says manager Paul Warne. “He’s always blowing, bless him. He’s not yet 100 per cent match-fit. He’s getting a little bit fitter each time.

“What I like about him is that he’s a no-fuss footballer. He doesn’t do 15 step-overs and then do nothing with the ball. All he wants to do is get down the outside of full-backs and put crosses in. He’s a dream for us. He’s a great kid and we’re lucky to have him.

“The way of the world now, young players watch YouTube videos and they’re all obsessed with doing round-the-worlds and nutmegs. That isn’t really proper league football. Jake plays with greater maturity than his age.”

A number of clubs wanted the Scottish under-21 international when Rangers decided to release him for the season but coach Matt Hamshaw, without realising at the time, had already performed a perfect audition to put the Millers at the head of the queue.

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Hamshaw completed his UEFA Pro Licence coaching qualification earlier in the summer and one of the people who had been with him on the course was Steven Gerrard, manager of the Glasgow giants.

“When Hammy did his presentation on his Pro Licence, it was about the culture we have here and how we changed the culture when we took over,” Warne says.

“Maybe Stevie G liked all that and it added to the trust that is there. Scotty (head of recruitment Rob Scott) spoke to Jake’s agent and we took things from there.

“This is a nice place to come to and play football. I don’t know if we’re a dying breed, but there aren’t loads of clubs who play with out-and-out wingers. I’ve always loved them.

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“Of all the English clubs who fancied him we must have looked the most attractive.”

Hastie has settled in well at Roundwood, padding round the communal area in his flip-flops and a pale-pink hoodie that complements the fresh-faced cheeks which always carry a boyish, flushed tinge whether he’s exerting himself or not.

He’s still shy around microphones and notebooks but there’s an air of physical confidence about him.

“The gaffer has been absolutely brilliant with me,” he says. “He’s a different kind of gaffer. You’ll come in for training and he’ll have a laugh with you. That’s a good thing.

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“He gets to know the boys. It’s like a big family really. I’m enjoying it down here.”

Warne left it late in the transfer window to bring in wingers but acted in the final days of August to land Chiedozie Ogbene and Hastie to open up a switch from 4-3-3 to his favoured 4-4-2.

Ogbene has since suffered an injury but the manager has moved Ben Wiles from central midfield to the flank in his pursuit of width.

“There is definitely more attacking threat when the ball goes out wide if it’s someone like a Wilesy or a Jake out there,” Warne says.

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“They can get past people and cross it. It’s harder for centre-forwards to do that. We tried to play with a 4-3-3 and we can revisit it when we like.

“We played that way because of the people we had in the building. We had no wide options at the start of the season. I’m a massive advocate of 4-4-2. With the energy we have in the team, I think it suits us above anything.”

Hastie remained 250 miles away in Glasgow when the boss’s personal touch sealed the deal.

“I FaceTimed him for about an hour,” Warne reveals. “I was completely honest, as always, saying he could come here and fight and that we’re good people who would look after him.

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“I asked him ‘Do you want me to speak to your parents or anything like that?’ and then his mum chirped up from the background saying that she’d heard everything I’d just said.”

Happily, Warne — in stark contrast to Mrs Hastie’s son in training — had refrained from using any bad language. “Fortunately, I didn’t swear once,” he grins. “I’m very pleased about that!”

Within two days of the left-winger donning a Rotherham training bib the verdict was in: there were things to work on when he was out of possession but when he had the ball at his feet he was fast, balanced and direct with a bit of inner fire. The Millers had a player on their hands.

He’s a key man but still a wee boy, and Rotherham won’t lose sight of that fact.

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“People forget that Jake’s just a young lad,” Warne says. “He’s just out of his teens and he’s moved to a different country.

“Until recently, he’s always lived at home and his mum has always done things for him. We’re trying to get him to make all the right decisions because we need him to get stronger and fitter. Ideally, we need him to play virtually every minute of every game if his form keeps up.”

The Motherwell Academy product scored on his debut in a 2-1 defeat at Doncaster Rovers, grabbed his first AESSEAL New York Stadium goal in the 6-1 demolition of Bolton Wanderers and saved the pick of the bunch for the 1-1 draw at Sunderland.

He moved on to Freddie Ladapo’s lay-off at the Stadium of Light and sent a shot flashing past one of the top goalkeepers in the division, Jon McLaughlin. The best thing about it was that not for a second did you think he would miss.

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“I don’t know if I’ve told you this before, but I do love a wide man!” Warne smiles. “I spent all summer trying to bring in wingers. Jake took his goal at Sunderland really well.”

As a teenager, the player had loan spells at Airdrie and Alloa before cementing his place in the Motherwell side last term and scoring seven times in 15 Scottish Premier League and Scottish FA Cup appearances to earn his transfer to Ibrox.

He’s now among a group of Millers, including other new boys Ladapo, Matt Olosunde, Adam Thompson and Trevor Clarke, renting apartments in the same block in Wickersley.

The attacker obviously has an appetite for being on the scoresheet and Rotherham have put dietary advice on the menu in a bid to make Hastie even more tasty.

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“Ross (player-performance manager Burbeary) is helping Jake with the cooking by giving him simple recipes,” Warne says.

“They all live in similar flats next to each other. Jake is on his own and is having to cook for himself for the first time in his life.

“Trev also lives on his own and he’s not the most advanced in the kitchen either. We’re trying to get those two to take it in turns to cook for each other — a night each. It’s crucial they eat well because they need to recover in between games.

“I don’t think they have as many midweek fixtures in Scotland as we do down here. Jake said to me the other week that it was the first time in his career that he’d played three matches in eight days.

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“Trying to get him fitter and ready to play games, that’s got to be based on good nutritional foundations.”

Rotherham stalled last weekend as they went down 1-0 at Bristol Rovers but Hastie was their main threat and came closest to scoring for the visitors with a dipping, 22-yard volley.

After gorging himself on goals, the winger says: “We can achieve what we want this season. The group of boys are absolutely brilliant. Since I’ve come down here, they’ve been brilliant with me.

“There’s a real work ethic at the club. You see it and you just want to be part of it and do as well as you can for the team.”

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He is giving everything to the Millers and the Millers are giving him everything in return.

“We’re doing all we can for him,” Warne says. “Hopefully, when he does go back to Rangers he’ll be a better player and more rounded person than when he came here. That would help our relationship with them.”

The player’s impact is growing and appreciation of his talent isn’t confined to Rotherham circles.

Rovers wide man and Millers old boy Jon Taylor stopped by for a chat after the match at the Keepmoat Stadium.

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Taylor, the Scouse Mouth, is as quick with the ‘F’ word as a training-ground Hastie.

“F**k me,” he said. “The new lad’s pretty good, isn’t he?”



THE form of Jake Hastie is already sparking fears that Rotherham United will lose him at the turn of the year.

The loan youngster is due to stay at AESSEAL New York Stadium until May but parent club Glasgow Rangers have the option to recall him in January.

However, Millers manager Paul Warne is more relaxed than anyone about the possibility of the winger heading back early to Scotland.

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"It's the same with loan players and permanent players," the boss said. "If they're doing really well, other clubs will take interest.

"For example, if our striker, Freddie Ladapo, scores 15 goals by January someone may want to come in and tempt him away.

"I don't lose sleep over what's happening with Jake or any of the lads. If they perform really well and they move on, it means they've done a good job for us and I can't complain."

Rotherham have three players of their own out on loan – centre-forwards Jerry Yates (Swindon Town) and Jamie Proctor (Scunthorpe United) and midfielder Matty Palmer (Bradford City) - and could choose to summon any of them if they wanted to when the next transfer window opens on January 1.

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"There is a window of opportunity in January to bring them back," Warne said. "All season-long loans have breaks in. It's the same with ours.

"You usually get led by the parent club well in advance of the transfer window opening about what they are planning to do."



Age: 20 (date of birth March 18 1999).

Upbringing: In Carfin, a small town to the north-east of Motherwell. He began his football career in Motherwell's youth set-up.

International honours: He was selected for the Scotland Under-21s for the first time in March and has played for them twice.

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Big move: He joined Glasgow Rangers in the summer after a host of English clubs, including Leeds United and Hull City, had been keen to sign him.



2016/17 season

Motherwell, Scottish Premier league:

Three appearances, no goals.

2017/18 season

Airdrie (loan), Scottish League One:

32 appearances, three goals.

2018, August - December

Alloa Athletic (loan), Scottish Championship:

23 appearances, three goals.

2019, January - May

Motherwell, Scottish Premier League:

15 appearances, seven goals.

2019, August

Glasgow Rangers, Scottish Premier League:

Two appearances, no goals.

2019, September - present

Rotherham United, League One:

Five appearances, three goals.