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…
Outstanding, if there was a time for Kent to turn up and show us the player we know he can be it was tonight. Fantastic performance considering the injuries and shocking refereeing, now to put them to the sword at Ibrox.
— CraigScottBoyle (@craig_boyle) February 18, 2021
Thats the Ryan Kent we all love 🇬🇧💙⚽️👊 pic.twitter.com/sm8UXjpuHk
— Andrew Bluebells (@andrewbluebells) February 18, 2021
That is absolutely sensational from Ryan Kent absolutely delighted for him.
— Rangers Bantz (@RangersBanter17) February 18, 2021
@ryankent Take a bow ⚽️👏👏👏 brilliant goal and performance 🔴⚪️🔵🏆
— graeme shankland (@gshank72) February 18, 2021
Great win tonight Gers , bit sloppy at times but Ryan Kent coming on changed it for me .
— Sargman (@Sargman2) February 18, 2021
The kick up the backside was needed. Was brilliant tonight 💙
— Tam (@TGlchrst12) February 18, 2021
Never drop this man again! WATP ❤️🤍💙
— Mike John Graham (@MikeJohnGraham1) February 18, 2021
Changed the game 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻🔴⚪️🔵
— Alfie Atkin (@AlfieBoy78) February 18, 2021
Got dropped, got subbed on and tore them apart👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
— Declan Little (@Declan_1872_) February 18, 2021
— Mary Boyd (@PrincessBoydy) February 18, 2021
Big game player 🔴⚪️🔵 https://t.co/reyyzHtLQb
— Bill Simpson (@billsimps) February 18, 2021
That's the Ryan Kent we want to see ever week. Quick & direct unplayable when he's like that. https://t.co/pvWcL2XFp9
— Campbell (@campbell1083) February 18, 2021
In other Rangers news, see the 32y/o that was off the boil in our player ratings v Royal Antwerp.