Steven Gerrard reveals why impressive newcomer is close to Rangers starting place
But Scott Wright’s home debut for the runaway Premiership leaders was an intriguing subplot of the 1-0 win over Kilmarnock which stretched Steven Gerrard’s unbeaten league run this season to 29 games.
Wright’s former Aberdeen team-mate Ryan Jack was the man who ensured Rangers matched the club’s best undefeated sequence of league matches in a single season since Walter Smith’s outstanding team of 1992-93.
Jack’s sumptuously struck volley eight minutes before the interval proved enough for Rangers to see off a Killie outfit which provided dogged resistance under new manager Tommy Wright.
But the game was still in the balance when Wright entered the fray as a 78th minute replacement for Ianis Hagi.
The 23-year-old’s time on the pitch was brief, as it had been when making his first appearance for his new club as a late sub at Hamilton the previous week, but was long enough to form the view that Rangers have made another shrewd signing from Aberdeen.
Wright’s clever movement and ability to keep the ball under control while moving at pace, allied to signs of quickly being on the same wavelength as his new colleagues, helped Rangers to make it 14 wins out of 14 at Ibrox in this remarkably consistent Premiership campaign.
The effort Rangers made to get Wright’s deal over the line on transfer deadline day, rather than waiting for his pre-contract agreement to kick in at the end of the season, looks like a cute piece of business.
“You could see Scott’s quality again today and if he keeps doing that, there will be a start for him in the near future,” observed Rangers manager Gerrard who also advanced the pre-contract deal for defender Jack Simpson from Bournemouth just before the winter window closed.
“Both Scott and Jack have settled in well,” added Gerrard. “Jack was outside the squad today but his opportunity will come in the coming games.
“He just has to be patient. He was probably a signing we didn’t expect to happen so quick. Him and Scott have been a nice breath of fresh air.”
Rangers passed up several chances for a more comfortable margin of victory on Saturday but are now within touching distance of dethroning Celtic as champions. Kilmarnock full-back Brandon Haunstrup, part of a resilient but blunt effort by the Ayrshire side, has no doubts Gerrard’s men will finish the job.
“If they keep playing like they are, then I’m sure they will be champions,” said the former Portsmouth player.
“They’re a good team and they are where they are in the league for a reason. You don’t not lose a game all season by playing badly. That’s what these teams are like. If it takes that one piece of brilliance to win a game, like they produced against us, how often do you see that at the higher level?
“They’re really good, they’re clever. They will get that lead, they find the gaps when a team is chasing, especially towards the end. They are good on the counter, they are pacy. There maybe just wasn’t enough quality from us compared to them.”
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