Liverpool’s Ryan Kent made another big mark on the Old Firm derby as he scored an excellent strike in Rangers’ 2-1 defeat to Celtic on Sunday afternoon.
Kent made the headlines in the reverse fixture at Ibrox in December, laying on the winner as Steven Gerrard’s side won 1-0 to boost their chances in the title race.
Rangers went into Sunday’s meeting at Celtic Park 10 points behind the Scottish Premiership leaders, but the intensity of their rivalry ensured a fierce contest.
It began badly for the visitors, as Odsonne Edouard fired Celtic ahead before Alfredo Morelos picked up his fifth red card of the season for an elbow on Scott Brown.
But with just under half an hour to play Kent made another major impact on the derby, this time getting himself on the scoresheet with a brilliant effort.
After a sweeping move from the back led by James Tavernier, the captain found Kent outside the box, with the Liverpool loanee skipping a lunge from Dedryck Boyata and firing through Scott Bain to make it 1-1.
Boyata later left the field with an injury to reduce both sides to 10 men, but unfortunately for Rangers they were unable to capitalise.
Instead, James Forrest netted the winner after an error from Tavernier, consigning Gerrard’s challengers to defeat as they dropped 13 points off top.
Kent was actually fortunate to stay on the field after he pushed Brown to the ground with minutes left to play.
It appears unlikely he will remain with Rangers beyond the end of the season, despite the best intentions of both player and manager, as Liverpool are seeking a big-money fee due to his fine form in Scotland.
Reports suggest the Reds will demand up to £10 million for the 22-year-old, which could rule out a permanent move to Glasgow.
Instead, it may be that a lower-level Premier League side, or one in the Championship, will take a punt on Kent, whose ability to shine in these big games will no doubt earn him plenty of admirers.
It could even raise speculation over whether he could slot into Jurgen Klopp‘s squad next season, but given he was loaned out again last summer may indicate he won’t be in the manager’s plans.
Kent now has six goals and nine assists in 38 games for Rangers in all competitions.