Ryan Jack says Rangers must have '˜no fear' in huge five days

Ryan Jack is calling for Rangers to be fearless as they head into a five-day spell that could have colossal ramifications for their season as a whole.

Ryan Jack leads the way in training ahead of Rangers' Betfred Cup clash at Partick Thistle. Picture: Craig Foy/SNS
Ryan Jack leads the way in training ahead of Rangers' Betfred Cup clash at Partick Thistle. Picture: Craig Foy/SNS

Ryan Jack is calling for Rangers to be fearless as they head into a five-day spell that could have colossal ramifications for their season as a whole.

Tonight they aim to secure a place in the Betfred Cup semi-finals and a date at Hampden by trying to get past a Partick Thistle side they could only draw with last Friday night.

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And then, on Saturday, they face the acid test of the first Old Firm game of the season with the horror of two 5-1 thrashings still fresh in the memories of supporters.

Jack said: “It is an important week and it is vital we meet it head on and without fear. Up until now it is the biggest week but, if we get through this, who knows? We might have cup finals and bigger games to look forward to.

“When I came here, I knew it was a massive club and a chance to progress my career.

“I would, hopefully, be in a good team, a successful team and go on to play a part in winning trophies and competing at the top end of the table.

“As a team, we realise how important it is to win a cup and all our focus is on the Partick Thistle game.

“You are either in the cup or you are out and watching everyone else competing in the semi-finals.

“It is a great game for us to go and get ourselves back to Hampden and get the fans right behind us. I am sure they will turn up in their numbers to do their bit. It is up to us to turn up and put in a good performance.”

Jack was at the centre of one of a number of contentious issues in last Friday’s 2-2 draw when he was caught late by Ryan Edwards, who may well have been sent off to change the course of the game.

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However, he has accepted the 
Australian midfielder’s apology and accepts that Willie Collum did not see the incident.

He said: “I think every tackle you could say is potentially dangerous. I spoke to Ryan Edwards after the game and he said there was no intent or malice to try and hurt me. He shook my hand and I said that is fair enough, I appreciate that.

“He caught me so high up my leg, so there is every chance it could have been a bad one. I think I jarred my ankle with the effects of it.

“At the time, you think it could be a bad one and when I pulled my sock down the swelling and bruising were there straight away, but, thankfully, I am OK.

“The referee said to me that he didn’t see the tackle and he was blocked. I said that was fair enough and I accept it.”

Jack is more concerned about Rangers losing control in matches as they allowed Partick Thistle to get back at them too easily.

He said: “In the second half we switched off and didn’t start brightly. As a team, we need to look at ourselves.

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“Why are we not starting the same way we do in the first half? There can be no excuses. It is clearly down to us and we will look at that.”

With Kenny Miller and Niko Kranjcar being rested, Pedro Caixinha has confirmed his most expensive summer signing, Carlos Pena, pictured left, will start against Thistle.

He knows it is vital that Rangers make it through and has 
taken the precaution of practising 
penalties.

Caixinha said: “Reaching the semi-finals is the major point, the key point. We really have that desire because we know how long the club has been away from these occasions.

“Two seasons ago they reached the Scottish Cup final, but it’s important for the confidence of everyone who works here on a daily basis plus the board and, particularly, the fans – who are the main reason this club has been kept alive.

“So, it’s important for us to have 
that type of feeling and ambition, so tomorrow is a major game for us.

“This is a different game and a difficult game. It’s a knock-out competition, so we just need someone to win it, whether that’s after 90 minutes, extra-time or penalties.

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“We want to be present at Hampden for the final in November so we need to win. Because of the characteristics, this is the most important game of the season so far.

“I always have the players practise taking penalties. When we have more time, we practise every single day – if we’re busy, it will be just a couple of times per week.

“You need to be ready for everything. We don’t want to be in a shoot-out 
but, if that happens, we have to be ready.”