Ibrox Noise’s Derek alluded to it earlier today, but we wanted to really dig into this one – the loss of Ryan Jack.
We just don’t know when the lad will be available, with previous hopes now drastically fading for his participation in the CL group stages.
We discussed some weeks ago how his fitness was a game-changer, and could be the difference between Rangers getting to the CL group stage or otherwise, but worryingly with absolutely no sign of him at all at Auchenhowie, even in the best case scenario, he is absolutely months off match fitness and is looking a near-certain absence for the opening CL fixture.
The difference without Jack in the team is stark, and worrying.
With Jack in the team last season Rangers conceded just 10 goals in 24 matches, and 6 of them were v Antwerp and Benfica. That’s 4 lost goals in just 22 matches, which is literally staggering.
Without him? 22 shipped goals in 32 matches.
And in pre-season, the way defensive midfield opened like a sieve for Morris’ goal and no one was there to bail them out was indicative of the chasm Jack’s absence causes Rangers.
Ryan Jack has been the fabric of Steven Gerrard’s Rangers since the manager took over in 2018 – the 29-year old’s impact on the way the team plays cannot be overstated. Rangers don’t strictly play ‘better’ with him, but they do keep their defensive shape far better and infinitely less goals are lost.
At the level of the CL, that is all the difference.
At this point, we’re kind of needing some divine intervention to get Jack ready for the CL and the season starting, because we absolutely need him.
Are we a one-man team? No – but we do crave Jack in our team.