Kent says he won’t be back to his best for Rangers until he builds fitness with a run of games

Ryan Kent, left, in action against Hearts on Sunday, says he needs more game time before getting back to his best. Picture: PA.
Ryan Kent, left, in action against Hearts on Sunday, says he needs more game time before getting back to his best. Picture: PA.
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Ryan Kent looked back to his best in Rangers’ Betfred Cup semi-final win over Hearts on Sunday, but he believes there is still more to come.

The 22-year-old winger’s return to fitness has been managed following a hamstring injury picked up against Livingston in September, his first game following his £7 million switch from Liverpool, which came after a loan spell at Ibrox.

Kent was handed a start at Hampden Park and looked sharp against the Jambos who fell behind just before the interval Filip Helander converted a cross by Alfredo Morelos.

The Colombia striker bagged a brace after the break – the second from a Kent assist – to take his tally to the season to 20 and clinch a meeting in the final with Old Firm rivals Celtic on 8 December.

Kent was replaced by Joe Aribo in the 66th minute to huge applause from the Rangers supporters but he has told them to expect even better in weeks to come.

He said: “ I am not yet (back to my best). I would probably say I am around 85 per cent at the moment.

“I am still struggling to do two games in one week on top of training sessions as well.

“Me and the physios will be managing myself correctly so I can make an impact on the games I do play.

“I think my fitness levels are high, as long as I can manage my training time and my minutes, like Sunday, gives me the best chance possible.

“Once I get a run of games under my belt, and get into the swing again, I will probably be seeing better performances but right now my focus is just on maintaining fitness. I can’t really afford to have another injury like that.”

Rangers had lost their previous five cup semi-finals and Steve Davis conceded that it was time the last step was taken again.

However, the midfielder knows how difficult it will be to wrest the cup away from Celtic, who have won the last nine trophies in Scotland.

“We want to get to cup finals on a regular basis but we haven’t achieved anything yet by doing that,” he said. “It is another step in the right direction, but ultimately we want to get the win when it comes to the day.

“Cup finals are always difficult to predict. We are expecting a very tough game.

“Celtic have been in excellent form this season as well so it sets the tie up nice and it is going to be an interesting one.

“You have to give them an amount of respect for what they have achieved over a number of years, but the challenge for us is to try to lift the trophy.”