Aaron Ramsey insists Rangers title pressure suits him as shirt and tie ditched for hard graft in Ibrox overalls

New Rangers star Aaron Ramsey was left suited and booted as his team-mates were tied up in knots at Parkhead.

But when it comes to dealing with the pressure of the title race, the new Ibrox ace insists he’s made to measure.

The on-loan Juventus star was back in his work overalls on Sunday as he made his Gers debut in the 5-0 mauling of Hearts.

It was an emphatic response to a derby defeat which left the furious Ibrox faithful hot under the collar as their side surrendered their lead at the top of the Premiership in the meekest of fashion.

The champions’ hopes of retaining their crown aren’t exactly hanging by a thread but Wednesday’s Celtic Park pasting has certainly heaped the pressure on Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s team after a six-point lead was cut to ribbons in the space of a fortnight.

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From being in control, Rangers are now the side desperately trying to keep pace with Ange Postecoglou’s trendsetters.

But you won’t find Ramsey getting shirty amid the crazed frenzy of the title fight, with the former Arsenal ace insisting it’s the stresses and strains of the championship battle which attracted him to Glasgow in the first place.

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Reflecting on his first run out in a blue jersey, the Wales playmaker said: “It was a good one to come in on. Obviously the boys played really well and won 5-0.

“I’m just really happy to make my debut in front of that atmosphere, it was brilliant.

“Hopefully now I can play a lot more, get my fitness up quickly and really get going here.

“There is a lot of pressure on the players here. This is a massive football club with a massive fanbase. There’s always pressure on this team to win.

“That’s one of the reasons I came here, to challenge for titles.

“I’m not surprised by the way the fans get behind the team and always want us to be on the front foot, to attack and score as many goals as we can.

New Rangers signing Aaron Ramsey was in the stands for the defeat to Celtic
New Rangers signing Aaron Ramsey was in the stands for the defeat to Celtic

“This is Rangers Football Club so this is the way we need to be.

“There is a long way to go. We needed this result and this performance. Hopefully now that can really kick us on.

“I think we needed to show a reaction from the last result and we certainly did that.

“We are a really good team with a lot of talented players.

“These results sometimes happen. I’ve had many of them in my career. But it’s how you responded to these little setbacks and we certainly did that on Sunday.

“That’s the benchmark now. Hopefully we can continue from where we left off.”

The Ibrox faithful hoping to see Ramsey in action had to make do with a 15-minute cameo off the bench.

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But the sight of Alfredo Morelos back from international duty and scoring a brilliant brace, along with Ryan Jack’s display of control and poise on his first midfield start for almost a year, was compensation enough.

Gers ripped through a Hearts side sitting third in the table as they sent out a message to Celtic that they’re not done yet.

And Ramsey said: “I know about the quality in this team. I have played with a few of the players.

“I know a few of the players from my days back at Arsenal and from the Premier League.

“There is a lot of quality in there and there is a strength in depth. You need that, with the amount of games that we are playing, for us to keep each other on our toes and to push each other and support each other as well.

“We have a really good strong squad here who are more than capable of standing up for themselves. I am not surprised. I expected it really when I came here.”

The challenge for Ramsey now is to build up the reserves of fitness that will allow him to feature for more than a quarter of an hour.

Before Sunday, he’d managed just 71 minutes of action for Wales back in November since his last Juve run out in an October Champions League clash with Zenit St Petersburg.

The 31-year-old had featured just five times in total this term for the Serie A giants before swapping Italy for Ibrox.

But he’s hopeful a fast-track fitness program can get him back up to speed and playing a key role for Van Bronckhorst’s side.

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“We’ve got a brief plan of how we’re going to do that,” he said. “It was planned to get some minutes in the legs in this one, 15 or 20 minutes.

“It was good to be back out there. I haven’t played a lot of football, I think the last one was November.

“I’m just happy to make my debut, to get on, and it’s good to get minutes in the legs to kick on and progress over the next few weeks.”

Saturday’s trip to Annan looks like a prime opportunity, although concerns about the muscular issues that have dogged Ramsey of late may rule out a run out on the plastic Galabank surface.

But for a player who has lifted the FA Cup three times to go with the Coppa Italia triumph he celebrated during his time in Turin, the opportunity to add another medal to his impressive haul of knock-out trinkets is enticing.

Asked about the prospect of making his Scottish Cup bow at Annan’s tiny 2,500-capacity home, he said: “I’ve been warned about that already.

“I love the cup competitions. There is a great tradition there. You get to visit these smaller clubs and it’s great all around.

“I’ve had a lot of success in it so I’m coming here as well to hopefully have a positive cup run. I’m looking forward to that game in Annan.”


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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