Ryan Jack: We’ve overcome a mental block by beating Celtic

Ryan Jack celebrates victory at full time. Pic: SNS/Craig Williamson
Ryan Jack celebrates victory at full time. Pic: SNS/Craig Williamson
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Ryan Jack believes his Old Firm winner has broken the mental block that had previously prevented Rangers from toppling Celtic.

The midfielder struck his first ever Gers goal on Saturday to hand the Light Blues a long-awaited 1-0 victory against their bitter rivals.

Rangers had not managed a league victory over the Hoops since March 2012, with Brendan Rodgers racking up 12 games unbeaten after taking over two and a half years ago.

Jack said: “We’ve overcome a psychological hurdle by winning today. Around the city, wherever you go, everyone says they don’t care about other results - as long as you beat Celtic because it’s a must-win.

“So there’s an added pressure, no doubt. But to a man today, we dealt with that perfectly and we were well deserving of the three points.

“We had meetings in the last few days where the manager gave us belief. He told us we had nothing to fear, we’re at home with 51,000 people behind us.

“He told us to play with freedom and do what we do every day in training. We did that and we’re delighted.”

Ibrox erupted after 31 minutes when Jack pounced on a Ryan Kent cutback and fired home with a helpful nick off Scott Brown’s shins.

He celebrated the goal by racing the length of the Ibrox pitch as he looked to pick out four-year-old daughter Madison.

“She always asks me why I never score,” he smiled. “I said to her that when I do score I would dedicate it to her, so that one was for her.

“I could see where she was sitting - her face was delighted.

“I’m delighted too. I’m over the moon for the boys and the staff. Is that the best feeling I’ve had in football? I’d say so.

“It’s definitely up there. What a feeling when you see the fans celebrating and what it means to them and the players on the pitch.”

And there was no hiding Jack’s delight for team-mate Andy Halliday.

The midfielder was humiliated last year by caretaker boss Graeme Murty when he was hooked before half-time as Celtic ran riot in a Scottish Cup semi-final.

But he was solid for Gerrard’s team as he filled in at left-back and had the Ibrox faithful chanting his name after putting his body on the line to prevent Olivier Ntcham grabbing a late equaliser.

Jack said: “Andy’s deserved that. He’s been brilliant from pre-season. He’s got his head down and worked hard.

“You see his passion and desire for the club. He’s grown up a Rangers supporter so I’m extra delighted for him. You can see how much it means to him.

“He’s got that mental toughness in abundance and he’s had tough times here, especially in Old Firm games.

“It doesn’t matter what situation he’s in, he’ll battle through and put his body on the line as you’ve seen today.

“That was a gilt-edged chance for Celtic to score but he put his body in there to make sure we got the win.”