Ryan Jack puts Euro woe behind him and targets cup success

It is now seven seasons since a Rangers team won serious silverware, the 2010-11 SPL title being the last major trophy secured by the Ibrox side.

06/08/17 LADBROKES PREMIERSHIP
 MOTHERWELL v RANGERS
 FIR PARK - MOTHERWELL
 Rangers' Ryan Jack applauds the fans at full time
06/08/17 LADBROKES PREMIERSHIP MOTHERWELL v RANGERS FIR PARK - MOTHERWELL Rangers' Ryan Jack applauds the fans at full time

Midfielder Ryan Jack won the League Cup with Aberdeen in 2014 and was also a beaten finalist in that competition and the Scottish Cup last season with the Dons.

His decision to quit Pittodrie and become part of Pedro Caixinha’s revamped Rangers did not, he concedes, get off to the best of starts with the humiliating Europa League elimination at the hands of Luxembourg part-timers Progres Neiderkorn last month.

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Jack admits that the lack of quality on display during that 2-0 defeat had made him fretful about the future but now, bolstered by the introduction of Bruno Alves and Graham Dorrans and helped by the challenge matches which have allowed manager Caixinha’s other new signings to become assimilated, the 25-year-old believes that he and Rangers can realistically expect to become winners again this season.

Tonight they host Championship side Dunfermline, with a place in tonight’s Betfred Cup quarter-finals draw the carrot for the victors. Jack is now confident that Rangers, buoyant after Sunday’s win at Motherwell, can go all the way.

“It gives us something to build on,” he said. “There was a lot of pressure after the European result but we got together at the Marseille game and said we needed to build momentum. Whenever you win a trophy it’s special and there’s no doubt in our minds we’re all thinking about lifting silverware this season. A club the size of Rangers should be aiming to do that. It will take a while to forget about that European result and only results can get people back onside.”

Jack admits that it was not only those supporters who needed convincing after their capitulation in Luxembourg.

“It was straight into the European stuff and the expectation on that was obviously massive to get through, [with] the club being back in Europe for the first time in so many years,” he said. “To go our so quickly was really disappointing.

“There were three or four nights after that when you were up at night thinking: ‘What happened there?’ and you’re worrying.”

No longer, however. Jack is now optimistic that a combination of hard work and an injection of quality in key areas can lead to a trip to Hampden before the end of the year.

“I think it’s a good idea we have the [Betfred] final in November; if you have a good cup run you could have a winner’s medal in your pocket before Christmas,” he said. “It gives you that wee incentive to get that and kick on for the rest of the season.”

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For his part, Caixinha, pictured, was pleased to start with a victory at Fir Park but less happy that Motherwell had been allowed to deliver 27 crosses into their penalty area. He also admitted that the overly robust approach of the Scottish game had taken him by surprise.

“It’s definitely much more than I was expecting,” he said. “When I was here, for example, on the coaching courses to take my badges I understood them to be really tactically orientated.

“I [understood from that] that Scottish football is dominated by tactics. For me, tactics should be dominant but, in the real world, it looks like physicality is the main content of the majority of the Scottish teams.

“I’m not against or for; it’s just a different way to see the game. For me, the most important thing is about decisions, and the decisions are tactical and not physical. You need to be fit to play a football match.

“You have to understand the physicality that you have is different from other teams because you play differently. That’s the way it is.”

Playmaker Niko Kranjcar has recovered from a hip injury and is available tonight.

l Jack was promoting the sale of Family Section season tickets, available from www.rangers.co.uk and on 0871 702 1972.