Jose Cifuentes has been a bit of a lost soul at Rangers, with fans excited by his arrival but not so impressed by what they consider subpar performances and a few injuries.
It’s true that the Ecuador international hasn’t yet lit Ibrox up, and when his name was in midfield yesterday, most fans questioned that selection, with a hint of justification.
But while not blowing anyone away with a world class display, Cifuentes definitely did little wrong and ingratiated himself among some fans with a very decent showing.
81 touches – among the highest in the XI.
One shot, and it was on target.
Passing was good, 88%, highest of all Rangers players.
2 tackles, and he won a foul.
Long balls 4, accurate 3.
In short, Cifu was tidy, and efficient. He was seen quite a few times intercepting loose balls (why this wasn’t picked up on the stats sites we don’t know), and often found himself reading the play well to steal in and nab the ball off an opponent’s toes.
He didn’t waste any significant passes and was certainly solid.
Cifu did not sparkle enormously, and there was little evidence the partnership with John Lundstram was working much as a midfield (Rangers’ centre was a little misfiring) but for a player coming in from the cold, the Ecuador man did absolutely nothing wrong and indeed may have secured a place for midfield v Limassol.
With Ryan Jack perennially on/off injured, and Nico Raskin still a fortnight away, Cifu has stepped in and may just have made himself first pick now.
If Philippe Clement can get his understanding with Lundstram to click in too, we may just have a very strong midfield in there.