Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst has explained why Ryan Jack was absent from the squad for the 1-0 win at Hibs on Wednesday [Sky Sports].
After a long period out through injury, Jack returned to action in early November, coming off the bench in a 4-2 win over Ross County at Ibrox.
Then, after a fortnight of training during the international break, he featured in the League Cup semi-final defeat to Hibernian.
However, he’s yet to make an appearance under GvB.
The 29-year-old made the bench for the Europa League clash with Sparta Prague last week but was an unused sub and he was a surprise absentee from the matchday squads against both Livingston and Hibs.
When, for the second game in a row, Jack’s name didn’t appear amongst the subs on Wednesday night, some fans feared the worst.
However, GvB confirmed to Sky Sports ahead of kick-off that the Scotland international hasn’t had an injury setback.
“Ryan was out for a long time and he’s still working up his fitness,” said the Dutchman, who went on to explain that only being allowed to select seven subs for Premiership matches means he has to make tough calls regarding who to take and who to leave out.
Jack update provided by Rangers boss GvB
Given that prior to last month, Jack’s last appearance for club or country came in February, it was always going to take him a while to get up to speed again.
It’s a little surprising that he’s dropped down the pecking order after being reintroduced, but there were only two midfielders named on the bench at Easter Road – Scott Arfield and John Lundstram – and it also would have been harsh if either of those players were left out.
Jack could return against Dundee at the weekend, but perhaps it’s more likely that he’ll receive a chance to impress at Lyon in the club’s final Europa League Group A fixture next Thursday.
Meanwhile, after the Hibs win, Bears have thanked a rival player for his gift.