When the Gers signed the 29-year-old from Birmingham City in the summer, the response was mixed. Some questioned how a player who had contributed very little during a loan stint with Aberdeen, would enhance Steven Gerrard’s squad.
But it would be fair to say that many fans have been impressed with what Stewart has done so far in Light Blue. The primary problem is that we haven’t seen enough of him.
To date, he’s played just 531 competitive minutes for the club, with that match time spread across 17 appearances. That’s an average of half an hour per outing, highlighting the propensity to bring him on for short cameos in the tail-end of matches.
Stewart is not the quickest player about, nor the most energetic. He is not going to select the ball up, dribble past four defenders and fire into the top corner.
But what we have observed is an intelligent and creative player who can pick a pass and who has a knack for getting himself into good positions.
Across his 531 minutes, he’s scored three goals and registered four assists, which averages out at an immediate target participation every 76 minutes [Transfermarkt].
His display in the 5-0 home win over Aberdeen, in his first league start, was the standout of his first half of the campaign. He scored, hit the post and registered an assist that day, drifting into spaces and getting shots off on target.
Every now and then he has had a quiet outing. He wasn’t overly effective against Motherwell at Ibrox in October, nor after coming on as a replacement against Young Boys for his Europa League debut.
Yet, generally, he’s outfitted himself quite well and within the context of players such as Sheyi Ojo as well as Scott Arfield, who fought across the first stages of the campaign, he has been under-used by the director.
An ill-timed injury is presently ruling him out of contention and the rise in prominence of Joe Aribo may ensure things continue to be hard for him in the short term.
However, with the few genuine opportunities he has been afforded, Stewart has proven himself worthy of the Rangers shirt and needs to be included more regularly upon his return to fitness.