As Rangers midfielder Ryan Jack misses his chance to exact Scotland revenge v Aberdeen, the player’s latest injury presents an almighty Ibrox contract dilemma.
There can be no doubting that the former Dons midfielder, now 31, is one of the Scottish Premiership’s top midfielders on his day and when fit a first choice pick at Ibrox.
Combative and athletic, calm and assured, progressive and direct, there’s a stoicness to Ryan Jack’s style which is visibly lacking from Rangers whenever the Tartan Army’s whipping boy isn’t on the park.
And against Aberdeen – in a match which always gets Jacko’s fire burning – we’re sure to miss it once again as a rejuvenated Pittodrie side prepare for their Cup Final.
Jacko to miss chance for Scotland revenge
Rangers will miss Ryan Jack and Ryan Jack will miss the chance to get it right up those knuckle dragging northeast simpletons who were accused of booing the midfielder on Scotland duty during the last break.
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But if we’re looking at the bigger picture, Rangers have a major dilemma over whether or not they can feasibly give Ryan Jack a contract for another year given the impact of injury on the club’s season.
If the management of Rangers – that is those handling the playing squad, recruitment and medical side of things – fail to get it right next season there will be hell to pay and it will be felt from the bottom to the top of the club.
If Rangers offer contracts or paydays to players who simply cannot play and take up important slots in the squad and it strikes disaster once again there will be a public and vitriolic response from the stands to the area around Edmiston Drive.
For all of Ryan Jack’s positives – and there are many – signing the player down on a new contract amid his latest injury, a four week stint on the sidelines which rules him out of the Scottish Cup semi-final, the optics on handing him a new deal after a season of disaster in the medical room are terrible.
Ryan Jack contract risk
You can add Ryan Jack to a swelling list that has contained – at various points this season – Robby McCrorie, Jon McLaughlin, Ridvan Yilmaz, John Souttar, Connor Goldson, Ben Davies, Glen Kamara, Steven Davis, Ianis Hagi, Alex Lowry, Tom Lawrence, Rabbi Matondo, Scott Wright, Alfredo Morelos and Antonio Colak.
Oh, and perennial crocks Filip Helander and Kemar Roofe; who could forget those high-earning international footballers who’ve barely mustered a kick all season long?
The homegrown quota, off-field influence and intermittent minutes might swing it for Ryan Jack when it comes to a new contract, but another player of similar quality is required to pick up the slack and to eventually replace him.
What’s more, we need to have a serious discussion about Ryan Jack and Scotland because if Rangers are doling out a new contract for him to push himself to breaking point with a Tartan Army who clearly dislike him, there are no winners.
It’s a major risk giving Ryan Jack a new contract irregardless of what happens off the pitch, but if Rangers are going to commit to him, then perhaps the least he can do is ditch Scotland and commit to keeping fit for Rangers.