Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has explained his surprise decision to leave Ryan Jack out of the starting XI against Celtic on Saturday afternoon, as captured by RangersTV.
Jack had returned to the Gers team for their last Premiership match against Ross County following a calf injury, before going on to make three Scotland appearances in the ten days before the Old Firm.
He performed particularly well against Slovakia in the final match of the triple-header and many saw him as a shoo-in for the derby.
However, he had to settle for just 30 minutes off the bench at Parkhead, with Steven Davis, Glen Kamara and Scott Arfield getting the nod in midfield.
“I was torn in terms of what team to pick,” explained Gerrard, as captured by RangersTV. “Hagi deserved to play, Jack deserved to play, but that midfield did ever so well against Galatasaray and I thought it would be a similar type of game.”
“To a man, I thought the three of them were outstanding and I thought Jacko came on and put in a real professional half an hour as well.
‘I’m delighted with my midfield and hopefully, in 10-12 days time, we’ve got someone to add to that as well in Zungu, who will be more ready then.”
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) October 17, 2020
Rangers boss Gerrard explains Ryan Jack omission vs Celtic – Verdict
It was a big call from the manager to leave Jack out of his starting XI for this game, given how important he’s been in recent seasons.
The 28-year-old scored an Old Firm winner at Ibrox back in 2018 and after a period on the sidelines, he showed he had returned to form whilst away on Scotland duty.
However, in the end, it was the right decision, as Davis, Arfield and Kamara dominated their opposite numbers for the first hour of the game.
Jack was then able to come on and provide fresh legs and greater security in the closing stages, as the Gers saw out a comfortable win.
It’s unlikely he’ll stay out of the starting lineup for long, though, and there’s every chance he’ll get the nod when Rangers kick-off their Europa League campaign against Standard Liège on Thursday evening.