By Nick Ware

19th Feb, 2021 | 8:30am

Rangers fans salute 'Unplayable' Ryan Kent after his Antwerp heroics in 4-3 classic

Ryan Kent may have started the game on the bench but his introduction changed the game for Rangers as they powered past Royal Antwerp in a pulsating Europa League clash.

There were eyebrows raised at Kent’s exclusion from the starting XI before Thursday night’s fixture with Joe Aribo and Kemar Roofe preferred as the wide options.

The 23-year-old has not exactly been in sparkling form of late and had scored just twice in his last 18 appearances but Steven Gerrard had showed a great deal of faith in him by handing him 16 starts in these fixtures.

However his absence did not last long as he was required to replace the injured Roofe just before half-time and on his second-half showing he looked to be back to his best.

At the peak of his powers Kent is a game-changer who has the ability to weave past defenders at consummate ease and this was on display in Belgium.

The Gers were in desperate need of inspiration after an inept performance threatened to derail their European dreams.

Kent provided just that after producing a moment of magic to level the scores at 3-3 in the 83rd minute.

What a goal it was.

He played a one-two with Alfredo Morelos on the edge of the box before jinking past a multitude of hapless Antwerp defenders before bending a brilliant strike into the far corner.

Kent wasn’t finished there as he also played a major role in the Gers winner that puts them in a strong position ahead of next week’s crucial second leg.

It was his goalbound effort that resulted in a penalty after Abdoulaye Seck blocked it with his hand and Borna Barisic crashed home the resulting spot-kick to send Rangers fans into raptures.

This is hopefully just the start of a change in fortunes for Kent and we cannot wait to see him return to the player we all know he can be for the Gers.

Take a look at the best reactions from Rangers fans to Kent’s performance down below…

https://twitter.com/Sargman2/status/1362528206356635651?s=20

https://twitter.com/Declan_1872_/status/1362526421776801794?s=20

In other Rangers news, see the 32y/o that was off the boil in our player ratings v Royal Antwerp.