Jake Hastie programme interview

Posted : 11th March 2022

Linfield winger Jake Hastie is loving life at Windsor Park after arriving on loan from Rangers late in the January transfer window. He’s a player who possesses real pedigree and some were surprised the Blues were able to capture his signature, but the Scotsman says David Healy was a key factor in his decision to sign for the remainder of the season.

“I am delighted to be a Linfield player and once I spoke to the manager, it was an easy decision to make. He sold it to me straight away and the demands and pressure to be successful here are what you want as a player. It’s a chance to get back playing football again.

“The gaffer has been brilliant with me, and all the players and staff have been good to me too, so I am really enjoying myself here at Linfield. I had the benefit of already knowing Cammy Palmer, Chris McKee and Sam Roscoe which helped. It’s brilliant here - a massive club! I knew before I came over here that Linfield is a huge club. Belfast is great too. My partner was over a few weeks ago, so I went into the city centre and had a wee wander about – it’s nice.”

Despite being young and only turning 23 next Friday, Jake is experienced after bursting onto the scene with Motherwell as a highly-rated 17-year-old energetic and quick winger. In 2019 Rangers signed Hastie on a pre-contract after seeing his potential but after numerous loans to the likes of Rotherham United where he impressed in League One, and a stint back at Motherwell, he has only made two first team appearances for Rangers. He spent the first half of this season at Partick Thistle in a frustrating spell and now he wants to kick-start his career and enjoy the game again.

“Definitely, I do see this loan move as a platform to hopefully kick-start me again. As I said, I hadn’t really played in the first half of the season, but coming here and getting game time has meant I’ve started to enjoy myself again.”

Hastie believes now with five appearances under his belt since arriving at Linfield, he is coming back into the groove after a spell without match action. The winger was heavily involved in both goals in last week’s 2-1 win away to Carrick Rangers and he hopes there’s more to come.

“I don’t think I could claim an assist for an own goal but I’ll take an assist for the second goal! But yes, I think that’s me starting to find my feet. Before I came here, I hadn’t been playing a lot and it has taken a few games to get going but now I am starting to feel fit now and as a result, I am starting to feel as if I am getting better with every game I play.

“I would hope that there’s a lot more to come from me now that I’m building on my fitness and performances by the game. I want to get that first goal. I’ve had a couple of assists but I am trying to get off the mark.”

As we approach the business end of the season, the Blues will be searching for a ruthless cutting edge. In a season of transition with changes aplenty on and off the pitch, the Blues remain in contention in an ultra-competitive title race and Jake believes there’s more to come from Linfield. Hopefully, that’ll come to fruition tonight against an opponent the winger is already familiar with.

“We’ve been wanting to be more clinical and to be scoring more goals. I thought we were good in the first half against Carrick last week but we should have been more than two goals ahead at the break. In fairness, once Carrick got back into it, we defended well to see out the win for a big and important three points.

“We are just focusing on each game as it comes. Personally, I didn’t come here blind because when I was younger at Motherwell, we played against Crusaders in the Irn Bru Cup and things like that, so I had a fair idea of what to expect coming over here. It’s a physical league but I enjoy that and a lot of teams including ourselves play good football. We need another big result against Crusaders and hopefully, the fans can drive us on as every point matters, especially at home.”

Hopefully, Jake can continue to make a positive impression in the closing stages of what everyone at the club is hoping will be a successful league campaign.
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