Ryan Jack has only recently established himself for Scotland but it’s already difficult to imagine him not being there come the play-offs in March.
He took up where he left off for Rangers in an anchor role in the wins over Cyprus and Kazakhstan. Jack contends he is playing the best football of his career and it’s hard to disagree.
He will look to slide back into gear again this weekend as Rangers aim to pick up a sixth successive victory against Hamilton Accies before taking on Europa League rivals Feyenoord in their De Kuip stadium, reckoned to be among the finest atmospheres in Europe. Steven Gerrard’s side can qualify for the last 32 if they win and Porto drop points against Young Boys in Berne.
The intensity is unrelenting. As for Scotland, at long last the momentum is building. He is just frustrated he has to wait as long as four months to have the chance of winning his fifth cap.
“The last three wins really helps us,” said Jack. “We’re playing alongside each other more often. It is frustrating that there’s going to be a wee bit of a break now. If we had these games next month there’d be a feel-good factor from the last games.
“We’ll all go back to our clubs and be looking to play well, keep in the manager’s thoughts and I’m sure come March everyone will be involved.
“You want to win matches; you don’t want to come away and get beat, then go back to your club not feeling good about yourself. Thankfully this trip we’ve been able to get two wins, so that helps your confidence going back to your club. There’s a lot of big games coming up and a lot to look forward to.”
He shrugged off an appalling late challenge from Islambek Kuat in the latter stages of Tuesday’s 3-1 win over Kazakhstan to declare himself fit for the trip to Hamilton this weekend.
“My leg is fine,” he said. “Obviously it was a bad one but the ref has seen it as a yellow. There were a few naughty challenges – I don’t know what was behind that but the referee is there to protect us. Thankfully no-one was injured.”