Ryan Kent tipped to slay Celtic again as former Rangers star Jamie Murphy claims he can ease Alfredo Morelos blow


He’s Rangers’ quiet assassin.

Off the pitch, Ryan Kent doesn’t say too much.

Inside the club’s training centre, the winger might be modest and softly-spoken.

But that all changes when he crosses the white line.

On the pitch, he’s brave, expressive and takes great delight in hurting the opposition. Especially Celtic.

Jamie Murphy spent three years at Gers alongside Kent after his £1million move from Brighton in 2018 following a period on loan.

At times Murphy tried to dislodge him from the left wing so he knows how difficult it was to oust the Englishman.

And he has seen Kent develop into one of Rangers’ key men, especially in the Old Firm derby.

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The 25-year-old’s numbers for goals and assists this season should be better. But no one can dispute his influence on Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side.

And when Celtic or a big European side comes calling, Kent usually delivers.

Murphy says his old team-mate has two different characters.

A man who is calm and placid away from football.

And the player who comes alive when the whistle blows.

On Sunday, with Rangers facing their oldest rivals in one of the most important derbies in years, he expects Kent to perform.

Murphy said: “I got on well with Ryan at Rangers. He’s actually a really quiet, reserved guy behind closed doors.

“He’s not loud or a show off, he’s always calm and laid back. Although he’s quiet, he’s a player who does his talking about him on the pitch.



Rangers' Jamie Murphy during the Premiership match between Rangers and Hamilton Accies
Jamie Murphy in action for Rangers

“It’s on the pitch where he expresses himself. He’s not afraid to go at players and take the ball in any situation.

“Ryan’s ability levels are right up there and I can see why clubs in England will be really interested in taking him back down there.

“They’ll have watched his performances in Europe and against Celtic.

“He has been great against them and I’m sure Rangers fans will be looking to him as one of their main players again this time. In the big games, including the Old Firm, he’s the one Rangers can rely on to produce.

“When I arrived at the club, I could tell right away that Ryan had real ability.

“At first, he was maybe a bit rough around the edges in terms of doing it for full games.

“But you saw how fast his feet were and how good he was with the ball, on his right or left side.

“I was lucky enough to be there when he was putting the building blocks in for the rest of his Rangers career.

“And he has gone on to be a real success story.

“I’m not sure this Celtic team under Ange Postecoglou, with the way they play, worry about other teams too much.

“But if there’s one player they will be looking to try to stop – given his record against them – it will definitely be Ryan.”

Even more onus than usual will be put on Kent this afternoon as star striker Alfredo Morelos misses the match through injury.

The Colombian returned from international duty on crutches and should be replaced by Kemar Roofe in attack.

Murphy knows how vital Morelos is to Van Bronckhorst’s side having played alongside him at Ibrox. The wide man, now on loan at Mansfield from Hibs, expects Roofe to step up to the plate for one of the most eagerly anticipated derbies in memory.

He said: “It’s a big blow that Alfredo isn’t playing. He’s always performed well against Celtic.

“When you want that first shot or tackle in early, you look for someone like him to do it.



Ryan Kent celebrates against Celtic

“Roofe can play up there but he will have to do what Morelos has done against Celtic recently.

“It’s a great chance for him and he’s got the ability to do it.

“He can hold the ball up and he’s proved that he can score goals, even in this fixture.

“It’s been a while since both teams were up there going for a title.

“Last time Celtic were all over Rangers, who didn’t really show what they’re all about, and won 3-0.

“But Rangers will be thinking this is the time for payback.”

Celtic’s emphatic victory in February swung the title pendulum back in their favor and left Van Bronckhorst’s men playing catch-up.

Postecoglou’s side are renowned for fast starts in games but Murphy says this time Rangers need to fly out the traps and stamp their authority on the derby.

He said: “Celtic had Rangers under real pressure from the start and they were surprised by it.

“It’s up to Rangers this time not just to match that but better it.

“You know when someone puts that first tackle in, the fans will respond. So the quicker you do that, the quicker the crowd gets behind you.

“The first goal is big, especially in an Old Firm game.

“It immediately puts the other team on the back foot and that’s particularly true when you’re at home.

“I’m sure that’s what Rangers will try to do.”

If the Ibrox men lose today, Celtic will go six points clear at the top of the table and they have a far superior goal difference.

But even with just six games left, Murphy insists it WOULDN’T be all over for Gers.

He said: “I don’t think it’s over if Rangers lose because stranger things have happened.

“There will still be another Old Firm league game left and some tough Premiership games.

“A lot of things can happen between now and the end of the season but it would obviously be a huge blow if Rangers don’t win it, especially at Ibrox.”




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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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