As Rangers bounced back from their Celtic Park wobble with an emphatic victory over Hearts, it was Premiership game 101 for Scottish football’s MVP Ryan Kent.
There is no player in the Scottish game who cost more than the ex-Liverpool winger with Rangers paying up to £7.5m to bring him to Ibrox in 2019 [Sky Sports].
After an initially successful loan spell at the club in Steven Gerrard’s first season – where Ryan Kent won the PFA Young Player of the Year award – Rangers opted to splash out on the winger.
Since then no player currently active in the Scottish game comes close other than £7m Celtic defender Chris Jullien [BBC Scotland].
But over the course of this season the talented 25-year-old has come in for some criticism amid a troublesome hamstring injury and a dip in confidence.
Whatever the justification, Ryan Kent hasn’t quite been the player of recent campaigns and it was ironic that his worst Old Firm performance to date came in his 100th league game.
That Celtic Park defeat summed up Ryan Kent of this season as the winger huffed and puffed but failed to blow the houses down – as he so often does – on Old Firm night.
Rangers need more from Ryan Kent
There’s also a symmetry forming between Ryan Kent’s influence at Ibrox and that of the likes of Benfica loanee Jota and £3.5m Israeli winger Liel Abada [Scottish Sun] at Celtic Park.
Kent is averaging almost 940 minutes per goal this season.
In the same period, Jota has eight goals and seven assists in 24 games, averaging a contribution every 120 minutes and a goal every 225.
Abada has an objectively impressive return of 14 goals and 11 assists in 38 games, averaging a contribution every 103 minutes and a goal every 185 minutes.
These numbers set a challenge for Ryan Kent and his standing as the most valuable player in the Scottish game has taken a battering as of late amid a run of woeful goalscoring form.
Against Hearts we seen more from the winger but with chances spurned that golden touch in front of goal continues to evade Ryan Kent who’s downturn in numbers has unsurprisingly coincided with our downturn in form.
As Kent left the pitch against Hearts he was reminded of what he’s capable of with a word in his ear from Giovanni van Bronckhorst after terrorising the Jambos defence all game.
The test for Ryan Kent now is replicating and going beyond the influence these wingers are having for Celtic and by the end of the season proving himself worthy of Scotland’s biggest price tag.
Rangers’ title defence could depend on it.
Meanwhile, one player potentially eyed to dovetail with Ryan Kent in January has just suffered a massive title blow with his new club.