If there’s one man who has been quietly standing out in recent times for Rangers in the kind of way we’ve been waiting for, it’s Nigeria’s Joe Aribo.
The former Charlton man, who will consider himself a little unfortunate to have been removed, was probably Rangers’ most effective outfield player tonight, with a frankly superb showing particularly in the second half.
Aribo has really changed since that superb performance v Utd – he’s looked more confident, he’s coming for the ball more, and he’s been showing the kind of gumption he perhaps used to lack.
In short, he’s been extremely effective for this club in recent weeks, and tonight, if not for ‘that’ save by Allan McGregor, he’d have been an outstanding candidate for MOTM.
We’re seeing the Joe Aribo we were led to believe he was when we signed him, but it’s felt like he’s just taken his own time to adjust to this team, this league, and this manager’s style of play.
While his performance lacked a goal tonight, Aribo did everything else – almost everything went through him in the second half, and he enjoyed a much more obvious ‘trequartista’ role, as the Italians would say.
That is, the dangerous freedom behind the front men to use the ball, shield it, dribble it, supply the wings and generally supply the striker.
He was just a stand out, and he looks like the confidence is growing from him every passing match.
He’s not especially quick, agile or good in the air despite his frame, but his comfort zone is the ball at his feet, making things happen and doing so with precision and power.
His display shows he can absolutely mix it at this level, and on this path, Aribo is quickly becoming one of Rangers’ most valuable assets.