If one thing among the gamut of post mortems over Tuesday night became clear, it was the massive difference Alfredo Morelos and Ryan Jack make at this level.
Rangers have never played a UEL group match or KO match without Morelos, and that goes a long way to showing why we’ve been so strong at that level, but it’s that Ryan Jack defensive loss that’s arguably just as big.
We’ve been extolling Jack’s virtues as a massive CL weapon for us, and some months ago we regaled you with the glorious news that his return was estimated to be around the CL qualifiers and it gave us a far superior chance of qualifying.
Naturally that hasn’t happened, and Rangers’ defence was frankly exposed – Jack’s presence would have made the world of difference there.
As for Morelos, his bullying and mischief in the heart of defence is a huge tool for the club, and while Cedric Itten actually had a decent night, it was a distance off the striking masterclass the Colombian delivers at this level.
And without Jack and Morelos Rangers really were missing two of their biggest assets, big-time players who make the difference at this standard of football.
Jack won’t be back for the next one, and Morelos is touch and go for it.
It’s a huge shame, because Rangers need John Lundstram to massively up his defensive responsibilities, and there’ll be no Glen Kamara to help him out, while either Itten or Sakala will lead the line again if Alfie isn’t there and both of these are currently one heck of a downgrade.
Did Jack and Morelos’ absences make all the difference on Tuesday? It didn’t help, that’s for sure.