Rangers fans have been treated to some big performances this pre-season so far, but the emergence of Joe Aribo as a key man in midfield has particularly caught the eye.

The lanky midfielder might often look unorthodox on the ball, but he has immense technique and ability and if the Gers can get those big performances consistently, big things are bound to happen.

Twisting, turning, teasing, twirling, the Nigerian international has a real silkiness to his game that is utterly mesmerising to watch at times. The boy has clear talent.

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Joe Aribo, 24, looks ready to take his game to the next level this season and has been wowing Rangers fans in the club’s early preparations. (Photo by Ewan Bootman/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

We saw more than a few flashes of this last season, but after a year settling into Scotland and into Rangers, this could be the campaign where Aribo seriously stamps his authority on this Gers side and takes his game to the next level.

He looks hungrier, more dominant, more demanding and more direct on the ball. There’s a growing confidence there.

Criticised for joining Rangers by Charlton manager Lee Bowyer, Aribo’s game has clearly been taken up a notch by playing with better players and with higher expectancy on his shoulders.


European experience – his substitute appearance against Braga was special – and the emergence as a key part of the Nigeria squad – Super Eagles boss Gernot Rohr had Joe earmarked as a key player from his first selection – have also helped.

As Aribo’s stock continues to skyrocket in Scotland, former club Charlton have also now been relegated from the English Championship, back down to League One.

It’s not appropriate to gloat here – well, not that much – but it does highlight exactly why Bowyer wanted Aribo to stay in London.

It also highlights that Aribo made exactly the right decision to move to Glasgow and work under Steven Gerrard.

Aribo left Charlton for Rangers despite helping to guide the Addicks to promotion to the English Championship in 2019. (Photo by Leila Coker/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

In the 4-0 pre-season friendly win over Motherwell, a stunning Aribo effort summed up everything that’s good about the player and the progress that he’s made.

Nimble passing, powerful running, incredible feet, a composed finish. Even that little shoulder feint to set up the first one-two with Morelos was outstanding.

It’s even better with Here Comes the Hotstepper by Ini Kamoze as the soundtrack, courtesy of Twitter user @The_JazzyB.

You could watch it on repeat – and it earned a collective clang from the Rangers support as their jaws hit floors, desks, keyboards and mobile phones across the country.


A humble Aribo also spoke to RangersTV at full-time, expressing his desire to “take every game as it comes” and suggesting he is “ready to go” this season.

The Ibrox support will be hoping these pre-season performances are just a taste of what’s to come from a player who very much looks like he’s about to take things up a level.

Here comes the Hotstepper.

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