Ryan Jack’s surprise injury blow isn’t something Rangers fans wanted or needed. Steven Gerrard, therefore, has to tread carefully.
The Rangers manager confirmed his star midfielder is struggling with a knock ahead of the Hibernian match on Boxing Day. It’s unclear where this has come from. Jack played the full 90 minutes at Easter Road, but was left out of the squad that beat St Johnstone on Sunday.
Many would’ve thought this was just a precaution. Instead, however, it seems as though Jack is seriously struggling to make Boxing Day.
Speaking ahead of the match on the Rangers official website, Gerrard confirmed his midfielder’s struggles.
“He is still not perfect and still not great, but he is going to have a little go this morning and see how he feels from that.
“I think it will have to be a last-minute one with Ryan in terms of the decision.
“But we are hoping he will pull through as he has been tremendous for us and been really consistent.”
Rangers need to keep him protected
If there’s even a doubt that Jack might not make the Hibs game, then he shouldn’t. And everyone knows why too.
Rangers have what can only be described as a colossal match against Celtic on Saturday. Whilst both the Hibs and Celtic games each contain three points, the latter means so much more than just a result. It would mean some symbolism of improvement, and put a serious dent in Celtic’s title-defence this year.
In order to do that, however, Rangers are going to need their best players on the pitch. It already looks as if they’ll be without Scott Arfield, whilst Borna Barisic is definitely out. Gareth McAuley is also struggling ahead of the contest.
Meanwhile, whilst Jack’s influence is difficult to replace, Rangers have plenty of experience there to take over against Hibs. Lassana Coulibaly can easily come in for him, and play alongside both Andy Halliday and Ross McCrorie.
The trio have 61 appearances combined this season alone. They’re familiar with the set-up and will be a solid enough midfield to feature against Hibs.
Of course, if Jack is fit and ready to go, then by all means play him. But if there’s even a doubt, then there’s no denying which match Gerrard needs to prioritise.