As Tom Lawrence made a starting return to the Rangers side against St Johnstone perhaps the absence of the ex-Manchester United star has been a little understated.

Signed last season when his contract expired at relegated Championship side Derby County, a team for whom he’d captained since 2021, there were high hopes attached the player.

After all, here was a creative, attacking midfielder and forward who – at the age of 28 – was in the prime of his career for club and country.

Now one year older, the last season of Tom Lawrence’s footballing career has been blighted by a devastating injury for both Rangers and Wales but the match with St Johnstone marks a major milestone in his recovery.

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Tom Lawrence hits St Johnstone milestone in Rangers recovery

Speaking ahead of the match, Tom Lawrence claimed he was fit and ready for Rangers but didn’t appear to want to jinx things with soundbites surrounding his condition.

A consummate professional, the experienced attacking midfielder was clearly more focused on putting things right on the pitch and managed the full 90 minutes in Perth.

It comes with both Tom Lawrence and Kemar Roofe – another returning Ranger who managed the full match at McDiarmid Park – being added to the Europa League squad.

After a slow start to the match, the Welsh star grew into the game and even eventually slipped the ball through for Rabbi Matondo to add a killer second in a 2-0 win.

It’s that incisiveness and moment of quality which has been missing from Rangers over the last year and perhaps the absence of Tom Lawrence has been a little understated.

If you look back to the time of the player’s signing, Rangers reportedly beat Premier League clubs and even Old Firm rivals Celtic to the player’s signature.

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There’s a reason why Tom Lawrence was so highly-rated as a youngster coming through at Manchester United and why he even played for the Old Trafford side once back in 2014.

A series of spells across the English Football League have since followed and the Welshman’s attitude and quality have been evident everywhere he has played.

For Rangers fans desperate for the missing piece in the club’s hunt for title glory, perhaps Tom Lawrence is the man to fill that role and be the club’s Premiership difference-maker.

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