IT would take a braver man than I to call Calvin Bassey by the affectionate nickname of ‘Big Shirley’, as he is sometimes referred to, to his face. But it will certainly take a real big spender to prise him away from Rangers this summer.

The 22-year-old has now been the standout performer in both the Europa League Final and the Scottish Cup Final all in the one week, showcasing the remarkable physical attributes in both defending and attacking that have him looking every inch like the next big thing to break out of Scottish football.

Whether excelling as a redoubtable centre-back or as a dynamic left-back – as he was here – Bassey has shown for some time now that he may well have what it takes to move up a level or two.

The only worry for Rangers fans about his rise to prominence will be that he has showcased that excellence in two massively high-profile matches, and is sure to have caught the eye of scouts from the big leagues across the continent.

And it shouldn’t only be those impressive physical attributes that are acknowledged as the qualities that make him a stand-out prospect. As he showed here, he can certainly play a bit too.

It was his wicked cross from the left that gave Amad Diallo the best Rangers chance of the first-half, putting the ball right on the forward’s head just six yards from goal. He should have had an assist to his name right there, but Diallo headed over.

At the start of the second half, he was at it again, performing stepovers and pirouettes in a tight area before eventually being smothered by the sheer weight of Hearts bodies that were forced to gather round him.

He was the player who most epitomised the strong start to the half though by Rangers, who far from wilting physically after their exertions in Seville in midweek, had seized the upper hand in the contest.

Indeed, he almost broke the deadlock when he slalomed past a challenge on the edge of the area and attempted to bend the ball past Craig Gordon, the Scotland keeper getting down well to deny him.

It was all looking so easy for Bassey. Too easy perhaps, in the view of Willie Collum, with the referee inexplicably deciding not to award a foul to Rangers when Andy Halliday clattered into him down on the Hearts by-line. Ah Willie, what are you like?

If Bassey does indeed attract a huge bid this close-season and moves on, the Rangers support can at least console themselves with the fact that John Souttar will soon be slotting into their defence.

The centre-back was a colossus for Hearts, particularly during that second half when Rangers were exerting some serious pressure around their area. When a cross came into the box, there was Souttar to head clear. When a ball broke to the edge of the area for a Rangers player to shoot – as it did so invitingly for John Lundstram – it was Souttar who was first on the scene, charging out to block brilliantly and bravely.

Then in injury-time, the ball broke the way of Joe Aribo in the box. Collum somehow missed a pull on his shirt from Nat Atkinson, but it still looked for all the world that Aribo would tuck it away only for an incredible stretch by Gordon with his left foot diverted the ball inches past the post.

And so, it was extra-time. Again, for Rangers. Could they go to the well once more? Bassey certainly could.

The full-back put another ball on a plate for a teammate, whipping an almost identical ball in for Aribo as the one he had teed up for Diallo earlier in the game. Unfortunately for Rangers, the outcome was also the same, the ball flying over the bar off the forward’s head.

Moments later though they forced a corner, and when the ball broke back to Ryan Jack, he fizzed an absolute beauty off the underside of the bar and in. This time, there was nothing Gordon could do.

If there were weary bodies and bleary eyes galore in the Rangers end at the start of the game, they had been shaken well out of it by now, and they had hardly calmed down before their favourites broke and buried the game once and for all.

Hearts were caught upfield with three men breaking onto their two at the back, and Kent worked it well for Scott Wright to drive it home low with a smart finish. The restorative powers of a goal remain unparalleled.

And so, a week that promised so much for Rangers at least brought a tangible reward. It has been a period, and a season, that has taken much out of Giovanni Van Bronckhorst’s men, but they will also be able to take out of it plenty of positive signs for next term.

Not least of which has been the emergence of Bassey as an outstanding asset. Whatever happens this summer, Rangers will either have a brilliant defender in light blue next season, or a hefty old wedge in the coffers to strengthen across the board. Shirley there is no doubt about that.