Ryan Jack: Rangers have to give Hibs the Hearts treatment at Easter Road
Lee Johnson’s in-form side are next up for a Rangers team who have found their feet since the Viaplay Cup final defeat to Celtic following their 3-1 win over Kilmarnock on Saturday, abeit that they remain a little unsteady.
It will be up to a Hibs side who have taken 13 points from their last 15 to try and manipulate any weakness in Rangers’ armoury. There was an expectation that Hearts might have put a spoke in Michael Beale’s wheel – and it is worth remembering that he has not lost a league game yet since taking charge – but it was a night where Rangers produced arguably their most commanding performance of the season. They scored three and had the same number chalked off by VAR on a night where Hearts could not live with them.
Jack has urged the same hell-for-leather approach against Hibs. “If we’re at our best and reach those Tynecastle levels then I’m sure we’ll do all right,” he said. “Previously we’d been up and down with the away form. But since the manager’s come we’ve gone to the majority of away grounds and got results. In the past, a lot of those grounds are places where we’ve dropped points which cost us but now we’re getting results. In the league we’re in good form. We just need to keep that going, build a run and see where it takes us.”Jack, meanwhile, is intrigued to see if 22-year-old Belgian midfielder Nicolas Raskin can offer a bite that he believes has been absent from Rangers this term. “He’s good in possession and off the ball he’s aggressive. The type of midfielder we need. The longer he’s here, the more games and training sessions he can put under his belt playing alongside us, the better I’m sure he’ll become.”
Former Hearts defender John Souttar made an appearance at Ibrox on Saturday as a 90th-minute substitute. It was only his second competitive display for Rangers since heading to Glasgow last summer after ankle surgery restricted his contribution. If there are questions to be asked as to the wisdom of the signing given the catalogue of injuries, Jack took a different view as he suggested that the mentality required to come back from serious issues bodes well in terms of the necessary psychology required to play at Rangers.
“I don’t really think he’ll have a point to prove, I just think he’ll be glad to be back fit and in the squad,” added Jack. “As soon as he came through the door in pre-season we all saw the quality he has and the presence he can bring. There’s no doubt it’s a hard road, I’ve been there myself. But Saturday would have been worth it for John. Yeah, he only came on late as a sub for a few minutes but to be out there and back in the match day squad, that’s obviously what you go through all that hard work behind the scenes in the gym for, for moments like that. John’s the type who never complains.”