Scotland fans are pining for Rangers star Ryan Jack after their latest World Cup Qualifying Group F setback on Sunday evening.
The Gers midfielder was initially named in Steve Clarke’s squad for a trio of qualifying fixtures but was forced to withdraw just days before the campaign opener against Austria due to injury.
While he is an important player at club level, Rangers have managed to cope in his absence for several lengthy periods this season. The same can’t be said for the national team, though.
The 29-year-old is an established member of Scotland’s strongest XI and although there are several Premier League midfielders in the squad, as Clarke noted last week, the Ibrox star brings unique qualities to the table [Herald].
Scotland have sorely missed his energy, combativeness and ability on the ball from a deep-lying role, with their World Cup hopes already hanging by a thread.
They had to come from behind twice to secure a 2-2 draw with Austria at Hampden on Thursday, before only managing a 1-1 draw with Israel in Tel-Aviv on Sunday.
The results have left Scotland third in Group F behind Denmark and Austria, with a must-win home fixture against the Faroe Islands coming up on Wednesday, although the damage may already be done.
It’s been a disappointing week following the high of qualifying for the European Championships and many fans feel the absence of Jack has been a key factor.
Here’s a selection of reactions from Twitter:
Definitely, Jack is the best at the holding role we have
— ShadowsOfWeevil🍀 (@ATcfc88) March 28, 2021
I honestly think that’s playing him out of position. He’s not an anchor. Ryan Jack is a big miss in that area, he’s a starter every time. McTominay is more of a metronome, controlling tempo and moving their midfield around to break their shape subtly. Another mistake from Clarke
— Gary Burns (@gary_burns86) March 28, 2021
100% agree, Tierney is our best defender by a country mile. We missed Ryan Jack aswell
— Chris (@ChrisJ86249421) March 28, 2021
Scotland missing Ryan Jack heavily tonight.
Middle of the park not doing enough to get the ball and getting the game moving.
— KieranIreland (@KieranIreland11) March 28, 2021
Get Ryan Jack back in that team the minute he’s fit
— sam smith (@samsmith1877) March 28, 2021
Agree with other opinions, Ryan Jack is an essential piece to this Scotland team. Without him the midfield looks so bare.
— TTV JoseSantanna (@stillsweatshirt) March 28, 2021
Ryan Jack has been a massive loss to us. This midfield have ran rings around us.
— Yes sir, I can boogie 🏴 (@jhendy_10) March 28, 2021
Ryan Jack is scotland’s most important player
— Duncan (@ketaminedrams) March 28, 2021
Ryan Jack being sorely missed in the middle of the park in both games too, just as expected. We don’t have anyone else like him.
— Craig Anderson (@craig_killie) March 28, 2021
Jack has now been sidelined for over a month but will be targeting a return at the weekend when Rangers take on Cove Rangers in the Scottish Cup.
Meanwhile, a fellow Rangers star’s World Cup hopes have been boosted after a second consecutive impressive international display.