A truly astonishing fact has recently emerged about Ryan Jack, one which sums up the man’s astonishing rise in Scottish football from disciplinary nightmare to indispensable component.
Jack, of course joined as a free agent in summer 2017, and while fans always point at Alfredo Morelos (£800,000) or Glen Kamara (£65,000) as two of the biggest bargains Rangers have ever signed, Jack transcends Kamara, and then some, and may even compete with Alfie.
Morelos might have the glitz and glam, and Kamara might be young, but this season one stat epitomises how crucial Jack is and how Rangers don’t have anyone who can cover him, not any more than Man City can replace De Bruyne or Liverpool can cover for Van Dijk.
That (remarkable) stat is that, aside the different rules that seem to cover Celtic matches, Rangers have never lost this whole season while Ryan Jack has been on the pitch.
Indeed, the only match in which Rangers lost that he featured was Young Boys, and it was 1-1 when he went off – and his absence was a direct contributor to the late goal.
Otherwise, with Jack in the team, Rangers just don’t lose – and even the most recent Celtic match was only lost due to an offside goal and atrocious profligacy in front of goal, not to mention an inspired Fraser Forster.
What inspired this article was a fan reply commenting to us that Jack’s absence for the first leg v Braga was no blow at all, that Rangers had cover and Davis would be back.
This was beyond underestimating how critical Jack has been in the big matches. Quite simply Rangers can’t replace him with anyone else from the squad.
Indeed, bear in mind he is part of the only Rangers team to have beaten Celtic at all in the past 7+ years, and himself scored the winning goal in one of those matches.
Jack is a phenomenon – a player who waited his whole career to play for his team, and after a rough start, isn’t going to waste the chance.
He got the new contract, and has only played even better since earning it unlike many who’d play for a contract and ease off after the new deal.
This is why Ryan Jack has become so monumentally vital.
He’s one of us, and he plays like all 50,000+ of us out there on the pitch. At once.