Recently Ryan Jack signed an extension to his existing deal, taking him to 2023 and committing effectively his best years to Rangers.
Part of the publicity of the announcement, from both Jack and assistant manager Gary McAllister, was a very curious emphasis on the midfielder’s Scotland ambitions.
We found this a very curious addition to a story that was primarily about him securing a long-term deal at the club he’s finally found his home at, especially given the currently-toxic relationship Rangers have with the NT, and indeed manager Steve Clarke’s recent farcical ‘management’ of Jack’s well-known knee injury.
First of all, Jack’s own statement:
“I have always said, first and foremost, I want to establish myself here and make sure I am playing well for Rangers week-in and week-out. If I am doing that and the calls come, then I am happy. I want to play for my country and I want to get caps for Scotland. The last couple of trips have been unfortunate through injury and not making it, but I am fighting fit now and hopefully going forward, I can play a part for Scotland. In the trips I have been on under the Scotland manager, the ambition is that we want to qualify and we want to get to a major tournament. If I can stay fit, play for Rangers and hopefully be a part of that, then it would be a great experience for myself and all the boys in the Scotland squad to be part of a major tournament. There is a long way to go to get to that, and I am sure over the next few months, we will be working hard and working towards that.”
“Looking at our national team, I think the strongest part is in the middle of the park. It is very competitive and there are a couple of players from Celtic who are doing very well, you have young John McGinn at Aston Villa who is doing very well and you have Scott McTominay at Manchester United. But, I think Ryan has a part to play. Steve Clarke knows what he does and I think he respects Jacko and I think he has a part to play for the national team.”
It’s intriguing just what level of emphasis these two are placing on success for Scotland, and while under normal circumstances your friends at Ibrox Noise would have had no issue with Rangers players excelling for the saltire, these times of ours are certainly not normal circumstances.
Since Loch Lomond onwards, Rangers and Scotland have at best been at loggerheads, and thanks to current coach Steve Clarke’s incompetency Jack lost a few weeks of his career – while we’d never begrudge him the desire to put on the dark blue jersey of the national side, it’s a strange angle to take with a new contract.
Indeed, despite being booed, and despite being mismanaged, Jack still eagerly wants to represent his nation – this shows him to be a bigger man than many, certainly bigger than us petty ones who really aren’t happy with Rangers players plugging up the national team these days.
It’s his choice, of course, just like it was McGregor’s to retire – if Jack wants to play for Scotland, that is ok, but we doubt the Tartan Army will like him or anyone else of a blue persuasion more for it.