Derek McInnes reveals Rangers wildcard to replace Morelos as he gives insight to Ryan Jack reaction


Derek McInnes believes the time is now for Rangers to give Ryan Kent a shot up front in a bid to find a solution with Alfredo Morelos on the sideline.

Kemar Roofe toiled against Celtic up top before Fashion Sakala produced an erratic display in the 1-0 Europa League quarter final defeat to Braga.

And now former Ibrox star McInnes believes Gio van Bronckhorst must think outside the box in the search for a spark – with a mammoth week against St Mirren, the second leg against the Portuguese outfit and Celtic at Hampden looming.

Speaking to Mail on Sunday, he said: “I’d now be inclined to take the reins off Ryan Kent and give him a shot through the middle.

“Alfredo Morelos has been Rangers’ talisman in this competition but getting to the last eight was not all down to the Colombian.

“And, in Kent, Giovanni has a player capable of taking advantage of the high defensive line that Braga are like to deploy.

“Rangers need someone who is willing to run in behind. If the timing of Kent’s run is right he eliminates defenders. They don’t get the chance to get back to him.

“It’s about willingness, intelligence and speed. And for me the one who has all of that is Kent.

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“You could do with him at left wing, right wing or 10. He is Giovanni’s best wide player and he might be reluctant to move him in. But it might be easier to find an alternative on the wing.

“Let him run, rampage and exploit the high line that Braga deploy areas where you don’t really want him to be. I would prefer someone a wee bit more functional on the left and give Kent the chance to play across the top line instead .

“Just free him up and let him rampage.

“When Braga come after you and demonstrate that real press, the trade-off is the space they leave in behind and Rangers could have taken advantage of that better in Portugal.”

Midfield enforcer Ryan Jack was subbed in the second half and he launched into a furious reaction with a bottle and a jacket copping as he was replaced by Joe Aribo.

Former boss McInnes believes the fiery response sums up the type of competitor the 30-year-old is.

He added: “A lot has been made of Ryan Jack’s reaction to being substituted.

“At Aberdeen I can’t actually remember ever taking Jacko off but he is a player who wears his heart on his sleeve.

“When he is not happy he never really hides it. What you see is what you get.

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“He would have been frustrated at the fact his team was losing and he was unable to rectify the situation.

“In a wider sense I did not see any players feeling sorry for themselves after losing to Celtic last weekend.

“The challenge for any Rangers team after a defeat is to go and win the next game but Braga in the quarter-finals of the Europa League is not a straightforward task.

“There’s no doubt these boys will see this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get to a European final.

“That even goes for 40-year-old Allan McGregor, who played in the 2008 UEFA Cup run but missed the final through injury.

“So the players would have been ready. They are used to the demands and scrutiny after a disappointing defeat.”

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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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