Borna Barisic stuck his head above the parapet on Thursday evening and announced himself as a Rangers hero in waiting after his match-winning display.

The 28-year-old left-back stepped up to cover for the injury-stricken James Tavernier to power two penalties that secured a vital 4-3 victory over Antwerp in the first leg of their round of 32 tie.

There may be question marks raised over his role in a couple of the Gers goals conceded but no one can deny the influence he held on proceedings in Belgium.

It was enough to earn him a place in UEFA’s Europa League Team of the Week as the sole Rangers representative alongside star-studders performers like Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes.

The Croat has also soared 111 positions to 18th in UEFA’s Power Rankings to further underline his importance on Thursday.

It was all the more fitting that such a performance occurred on a special milestone as he made his 100th appearance for the Light Blues since joining in 2018 from Osijek.

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According to stats by Wyscout he completed eight passes to the penalty area against Antwerp, a figure he has beaten only once previously this season.

Despite not registering an assist Barisic recorded his third-highest xA [0.61] of the current campaign, more than doubling his season average of 0.25.

This is where the similarities with Tavernier lie.

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The Gers captain is sometimes criticised for his defensive failings but even on these rare occasions he more than makes up for them with his sterling attacking forays and impeccable delivery from wide areas and set-pieces.

Tavernier has also shown himself to be a performer capable of stepping up when the pressure is on, and Barisic did exactly that.

Perhaps he will even supersede Tavernier on the penalty taker list after Thursday heroics.

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The Rangers right-back has missed his last two kicks so it could be something to consider for Steven Gerrard after Barisic dispatched two in the second-half alone.

Regardless of whether he is chosen to resume these responsibilities one thing is for sure – Barisic is someone that can be relied upon to deliver at the top end of the pitch when needed.

It has been a brilliant century of games for the Light Blues and we cannot wait to see how he develops over the next 100.

At the rate this Rangers side is developing there should be plenty of silverware for him to look back on.

In other Rangers news, see our exclusive interview with Big ‘Eck for his verdict on the 4-3 victory v Antwerp.

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