Stephen Craigan was impressed by Joe Aribo’s second-half performance for Rangers as they drew 1-1 Slavia Prague in the Czech Republic on Thursday night.
Aribo, 24, was dubbed as “sloppy” in possession in the first half by Charlie Adam [BBC Sport] but after the break with the Nigeria international playing further forward, he looked a completely different player.
The ex-Charlton ace was a key player in a stronger second-half performance by Rangers and BT pundit Craigan pointed that out.
“He’s been the catalyst for me, Joe Aribo,” said Craigan on commentary on BT Sport 3 on Thursday night.
“He’s the one that has really carried the fight to Slavia Prague in this second half and his team-mates have gone along with him. Ever so impressive.”
Aribo was substituted off for Kemar Roofe in the 82nd minute, which Alex Rae wasn’t expecting.
He said: “I’m a little bit surprised by that, I thought Aribo was really imposing himself on the game.”
Game of two halves
Just because there are differing views on Aribo’s performance in Prague, doesn’t mean they’re wrong because in the opening 45 minutes, he really didn’t play well.
We’ve seen it time and time again this season how Aribo has struggled when playing in a central midfield role and teams get at him. He’s simply not a defensive-minded player and having him in the middle against a strong team was perhaps the wrong call by Steven Gerrard.
It seems Gerrard noticed that and changed things up at half time because after the break, Aribo had a fresh lease of life as he played more advanced.
As Craigan said, he was like a catalyst and his attacking team-mates fed off that. It’s just a shame that he didn’t help get another away goal in the Czech capital.
In other Rangers news, Charlie Adam slammed this “sloppy” Gers player at Slavia Prague.