Liverpool loanee Ryan Kent returned to the Rangers lineup to inspire a pivotal 1-0 Old Firm derby victory over Celtic on Saturday at Ibrox.
Kent has barely featured for Steven Gerrard’s side since the start of November due to injury, but was back in the XI for a must-win game in Glasgow.
Deployed on the left wing, the 22-year-old was in fine form as he set up the first and only goal of the game on the half-hour mark.
Driving towards the byline with Mikael Lustig in pursuit, Kent made an ankle-breaking about-turn before cutting back into the penalty area for midfielder Ryan Jack to fire home for 1-0.
The hosts dominated throughout, with the Guardian‘s Ewan Murray, watching on at Ibrox, describing it as “the finest Rangers performance of Steven Gerrard’s tenure,” before adding that “Brendan Rodgers hasn’t seen his team outplayed to this extent in a domestic fixture.”
Kent could have doubled Rangers’ lead just after half-time, but was unable to test Craig Gordon with a decent effort, but ultimately the solitary goal proved enough.
Ryan Jack has just scored his first ever goal for Rangers. It's come in an Old Firm derby with a nutmeg of Scott Brown. pic.twitter.com/dw5q5k0r4B
— Mootaz Chehade (@MHChehade) December 29, 2018
Gerrard’s side now sit level with Celtic at the top of the Scottish Premiership, having played one game more, which is a significant step in their progress under the Liverpool legend.
With Ovie Ejaria having returned to Merseyside under halfway through his own loan spell with Rangers, it is encouraging to see Kent back in form after seeing a bright start curtailed by fitness issues.
“Looked skilful and a threat any time he had the ball,” the Daily Record‘s Stuart Hodge assessed, awarding Kent a nine-out-of-10 rating.
“Not just that, he worked hard to win possession back for his team and battled hard as well as displaying intelligent passing and running. Superb display.”
Kent now has three goals and two assists in 12 league games for Rangers, with this latest contribution perhaps his finest so far.