Joe Aribo returned to action for Rangers on Saturday afternoon with a late substitute appearance in the 2-0 win over Celtic.
The importance of his comeback was perhaps lost at the time amid the buzz that an Old Firm victory always creates amongst the fanbase.
Yet, the significance of the cameo won’t have been lost on Steven Gerrard and Aribo’s return to fitness is the big under the radar boost from a perfect weekend.
The Nigeria international was Rangers’ standout performer during pre-season and he hit the ground running in the Premiership, impressing as his side started the 2020/21 campaign with three consecutive victories.
He scored in the 3-0 win over St Johnstone at Ibrox on 12 August but was substituted after 61 minutes and wasn’t seen again until the closing stages of Saturday’s Old Firm.
Two months is a long time to be without a key player but impressively, Rangers went undefeated across the period, despite also being without Kemar Roofe and Ryan Jack for a number of weeks.
Livingston and Hibernian are the only sides to take a point off the Gers so far this season and Aribo returns to the fray with his side top of the Premiership table.
In recent seasons, Rangers have failed to back up big derby performances with a run of wins but the return of such a dynamic and versatile performer should give an extra boost ahead of a key phase in the season.
Gerrard’s side face Livingston, Kilmarnock and Hamilton before the November international break and if they can secure the maximum nine points from those fixtures, as well as getting off to a strong start in the Europa League group stages, then they will be well placed for the run-in to Christmas.
With Kemar Roofe close to his own return from injury and Bongani Zungu soon to enter the mix, Rangers certainly have the quality to achieve their goals.