It would be understandable if Ryan Jack felt assailed from all sides right now.
Being barracked on his Scotland debut this week at the home of his former club Aberdeen would have been enough on his own to leave him feeling put upon. That, though, came after he received an almighty blast from Kris Boyd for having earned selection despite having had, the striker said, more red cards than good games since his summer move to Rangers.
Meanwhile, said disciplinary issues – despite two of the dismissals being later rescinded – suggest he is in the bad books of Scotland’s officialdom.
Jack can set that to all one side. Earning his first cap at right-back in the friendly defeat to the Dutch on Thursday, and earning praise for his display from temporary Scotland manager Malky Mackay, outweighed being on the receiving end from supporters inside Pittodrie. It wasn’t as if the jeering came as any surprise to him.
“It’s part and parcel of football and doesn’t bother me at all,” he said. “I got booed coming in off the bus and got booed when you I got the ball but look, we were up in Aberdeen, the majority are Aberdeen fans that are here supporting Scotland, I knew that before the game. Look I just want to concentrate on my football and make the most of my first cap for my country.
“It’s not for me to make the decision [as to whether Scotland fans boo a Scotland player], people just express how they feel and I just need to deal with that.”
He dealt with the right back role he hasn’t performed in for Rangers – “I’m delighted to play anywhere,” he said of a position he felt comfortable in – as admirably as he did the reception from, patently, a section of Aberdeen fans who find it unforgivable that a local boy who was one of their own signed for the club they despise above all others. Jack was stripped of the Aberdeen captaincy on the week of the Scottish Cup final after it emerged he was heading to Ibrox but he would have no problem with Derek McInnes being appointed, and said this week he looks forward to whoever is given the job of succeeding Pedro Caixinha on a permanent basis.
Jack accepts he will require to produce better than he has in the early part of the season.
“As a player if you sit down and think how’s it going to go and it’s not gone that way how I’d planned out but, look, that’s part and parcel of the game,” the 25-year-old said. “This is probably the proudest moment of my career, right now I’m just delighted to have got my cap and I hope can build on that and go back to my club, start doing really well and get the nod again for the next squad.
“I think I’ll always strive to be better, it doesn’t matter if I’m doing excellent or not doing so well. It’s no doubt that’s in me, I’ve had that my whole career since I’ve been a professional. Every day, whatever game I play, I always strive to do better, strive to shut people up that doubt you.”
Different pressures are brought to bear as a Rangers player, Jack acknowledges, but he has the support structure to cope with that – including a father who was the “proudest man” inside Pittodrie the other night.
“I’ve got good people around me, I’ve got a close-knit family and I’ve got my wife and daughter and away from the pitch they keeping me going. That’s what you do it for: you do it for your family, you do it for yourself and you do it for your fans.” Well, the fans that don’t do you.