There are many constructive positives we can take from yesterday’s tanking of Motherwell. We’ve chosen to focus on the fine performances of Eros Grezda and Scott Arfield to name but two, but also opened up room to discuss the disappointing display of Nikola Katic.
However, the thumping of the Steelmen had one unalienable truth which for us defined a major reason why the XI performed so well and looked a bit more like the late July form – a rare start for Ryan Jack.
After his form peaked against Osijek then Aberdeen, we woke up to what a player he was – it had taken him a long time to get there, but he finally delivered.
He’s had a lot of injury concerns this season, and we’ve even gone as far as writing him partially off – but on his return to fitness some weeks ago we were surprised to see Lassana Coulibaly preferred, despite the Malian’s poor form (condolences to Coulibaly on his recent loss), and Jack’s place on the bench seemed a bit of a waste.
Well, yesterday he started, and looked back to his best, breaking up, harassing, plus smart use of the ball and intelligent positioning. And is there any coincidence Rangers equally enjoyed a dramatic return to form when he was finally back in the side?
As much as we love the likes of Jordan Rossiter and Greg Docherty, we concede Rangers seem a different team with Jack starting – he is arguably the best player we have in that position, and when he’s in the mood and has fitness, he marshals the midfield and allows everyone around him to play vastly better than before.
Is it any coincidence the number of players who had excellent games yesterday? Grezda, Arfield, Morelos, and Tavernier to name just four all looked like they’d had a huge boost – and from the off in this match, red card for McHugh aside, Rangers never let up.
Jack’s presence surely made a big difference on that – he’s a DM they trust to protect and support, and he lets them play, and if Rangers found themselves in a position where the three in that position to choose from were Jack, Rossiter and Docherty, we think that would be about as good as any in the country.
And that’s a good place.