If Jake Hastie was in any doubt as to a section of Motherwell fans’ negative feelings towards him, he now knows the full extent of their anger, writes Craig Goldthorp
Hastie (20) – who has netted seven goals in 15 appearances for the Steelmen since January after returning from a loan spell at Alloa Athletic – will leave Motherwell this summer as he has signed a four-year pre contract agreement with Rangers.
Nevertheless, the sight of him running past Motherwell’s away support in Perth and being subjected to hundreds of fans’ abusive chants including: ‘You’re just a ***** David Turnbull’ made uncomfortable viewing and listening from the press box above.
In my opinion, these chants towards Hastie left a sour taste in the mouth and were unsavoury and ill advised on a few fronts.
The main one being that without Hastie’s goals this season (six of which in 14 Premiership appearances contributed towards eight of Motherwell’s total points tally of 48) the club would currently be sitting one place lower in ninth and trailing Livingston by two points ahead of the clubs meeting in the final league game of the season at Fir Park this Saturday.
The second one is that – as Hastie is a youth product under the age of 22 – the Steelmen will likely receive compensation of upwards of £400,000 this summer when he leaves for Ibrox.
Had the youngster not shone so much in the second half of this season after returning to Motherwell, there is little chance a bigger club would have come calling to sign him up.
One of Motherwell fans’ main gripes in the first half of the season was the unattractive style of football in the tried and trusted 3-5-2 formation which often favoured brawn, battling and long balls over silky soccer.
But Hastie’s outstanding speed, trickery and goalscoring ability provided many fine moments for fans to enjoy.
My final two points both relate to the hypocrisy of booing Hastie – who has been an undoubted success for Motherwell – while not giving similar treatment to other less effective players who look 90 per cent certain to leave this summer.
Fellow attacker Curtis Main – who has netted just three goals in 31 appearances this season – looks certain to quit the club with Aberdeen and Hearts linked with his signature.
Midfielders Alex Gorrin and Chris Cadden also look odds on to leave for English clubs and Carl McHugh and Tom Aldred (who admittedly is only on loan from Bury) appear certainties to depart with Indian Super League Clubs vying for their services.
Winger Elliott Frear is another who looks set for the Fir Park exit door upon the imminent expiry of his contract, while it is unclear if Gboly Ariyibi’s loan from Nottingham Forest will be extended.
So Hastie is just one of more than half a team who look set to depart Fir Park, yet he’s seemingly the only one bearing the brunt of fans’ discontent.
Going back to the game itself, Motherwell were defeated 2-0 in Perth thanks to Scott Tanser’s first half penalty for Charles Dunne’s foul on Chris Kane, then Murray Davidson’s second half strike past Mark Gillespie.
It could have all been so different if ’Well had won an early penalty for Tanser’s apparently obvious handball on the goal line from Ariyibi’s shot.But referee Colin Steven controversially waved away the appeals.
’Well are now guaranteed to finish eighth.