Jonatan Johansson has lauded Ryan Jack as an integral cog in the Rangers machine after his recent return from a long-term injury.
The 28-year-old missed 14 games over the winter period but the Light Blues coped admirably in his absence, winning 11 of these.
However after Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Hamilton the Gers have now drawn two of their last five fixtures and Jack has not started either of these, while the first three games on his return saw him score off the bench versus Ross County before helping to guide Steven Gerrard’s side to clean sheets as he started in victories over Hibernian and St Johnstone.
In an interview with Mailsport, as reported by the Daily Record, 1999 domestic treble winner Johansson said: “He’s one that you can always trust. When I look at Rangers games now, I can see that the older he gets, the more he’s maturing.
“I can’t stress the importance of him being in the team. He got a new contract recently and with stats like this, that’s no surprise.
“What Rangers have, especially with Jack in the team, is the balance in midfield.”
On the basis of Sunday’s dismal showing at Hamilton Johansson’s words look like ringing true.
Without him and Steven Davis in the starting XI the Gers faltered against the Premiership basement boys and were made to look extremely ordinary.
Bongani Zungu was afforded the opportunity to impress alongside Glen Kamara and Joe Aribo in midfield but the South African showed just how far short he is of the likes of Jack and Davis in a woeful 60 minute display.
Jack was brought on for him and within 20 minutes the Light Blues were ahead courtesy of a Brian Easton own-goal before being pegged back in the 94th minute.
However the rot had started well before this and Jack cannot be blamed.
The lacklustre start Rangers made proved to be their downfall and that can be attributed in large parts to the absence of Jack from the starting XI.
With him in the side they play with urgency and are always probing in possession.
Gerrard must now seriously consider whether he can afford to rest him for many more games, despite only recently returning from a long lay-off.
Certainly Jack and Davis cannot both be missing in the starting line-up if the Gers are to have any real assurance that they will perform to their normal high standards.
In other Rangers news, Mark Hateley rips into Gers ace after Hamilton disasterclass.