12 February 2020 15:57
STEVEN GERRARD knew life without Ryan Jack would be tough — just not this tough. The midfielder is poised for a welcome return at Kilmarnock — three weeks after limping off with a calf injury in Rangers' damaging 2-1 defeat to Hearts. 3 Ryan Jack in action for Rangers Credit: Willie Vass - The Sun And Gers boss Gerrard insisted there's no doubt he has been missed. Gerrard said: "Ryan's helped us raise the standards to where we want them to be because of his own personal drive and how he approaches training and games. "If you could sum Ryan up in one word it is 'winner' and I want winners around me closely.
3 Gerrard speaks to players in Rangers training Credit: Willie Vass - The Sun "I've got every trust in Jacko. It has not helped not having him available for the last three weeks. "We always have a better chance of being more consistent with him available. "I think it's been clear from the get-go, from the very first conversation I had with him man to man, that he was so keen to let us know he was on the journey. "The way he lives his life, the way he works in training and the relationship I have with him makes it very clear that Ryan is someone you want with you.
No one wants this more than Ryan Jack. "It doesn't matter if it's five-a-sides or an 11-a-side at Celtic Park he wants to win. "If you practise and rehearse every single day how you want to play, more often than not it comes out. "I'll always trust my medical team, the doctor and the physios. "We've got good, strong people here and of course I will listen to Ryan. "If there is any doubt or I'm told there is any risk I will try to protect him, but sometimes you have to listen to the player and trust his judgment on certain things. "The good thing is that he is back available and I will make the decision, whether that's from the beginning or coming into the game. While Gerrard was able to deliver positive news on Jack, the timescale surrounding Filip Helander's return to the side is less clear. Gerrard said: "He's progressing well but it's not an immediate return. I'm hoping he will be close towards the end of February or the beginning of March. "We won't be able to determine that until he's back outside kicking balls again. "But he's continued to smile and go about his work. When I have all four centre-backs available, we'll certainly be stronger." Rangers left it late on their last visit to Rugby Park and Gerrard knows his side face another tough test this evening. He added: "It's a big challenge for us because we've always had tough games there. People will obviously compare the return from the winter break from last season to this because we suffered a sore one at Hearts. "But for me it's very much a game in isolation and trying to make sure that the best players are available to go down there. "Then they've got to turn up and perform and if we do, I'm confident we can get the result we got earlier in the season." Meanwhile, winger Ryan Kent believes Rangers are slowly edging back to their best, helped by a series of clear-the-air talks between the players. Gers have scored six goals in their last two games but Kent insists there's still more to come from Gerrard's men. He said: "In the last two performances we have got back to where we left off before the winter break. "It's important we build on those performances now. "Those chats were important, especially the input from the more experienced and senior players who have been in those positions on many an occasion in their careers. "For the whole team to get that info on board and know what's required between now and the end of the season is important." Keep up to date with ALL the latest news and transfers at the Scottish Sun football page Former Scotland goalkeeper Alan Rough has tipped Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos to hit the 40-goal mark this season and believes he will achieve the feat without much trouble. The Colombia international has scored 29 goals and provided nine assists from his 39 appearances across all competitions for Rangers so far this season. Morelos is just 11 goals away from taking his goalscoring tally to 40 for the season, which would make him the first Rangers player to do so since Ally McCoist. Former Scotland goalkeeper Rough has tipped the 23-year-old centre-forward to take his goalscoring tally to 40 before the season comes to a close. The 68-year-old is confident that Morelos will achieve the feat with much ease, and expects him to have a similar season to that which Hoops striker Leigh Griffiths had in the 2015/16 campaign when he scored 40 goals. "He'll score more goals", Rough said on PLZ Soccer's The Football Show. "I really do think he'll get 40 before the end of the season. I think it'll be that kind of a season for him." Rangers lock horns with Kilmarnock this evening and Morelos will have the chance to score his 30th goal of the season, which would see him match last term's tally, while playing eight fewer games. Aside from winning trophies, Rangers number one priority this season is undoubtedly keeping star striker Alfredo Morelos at the club. Rangers and Morelos have reportedly been engaged in contract talks for 'several weeks' over a new and improved deal. The 29-goal hitman just signed a new deal last March but both sides are keen on extending the Colombia international's agreement further. Morelos is attempting to become the club's first 40-goal striker since Ally McCoist netted 49 times in the 1992-93 treble-winning season and Gerrard has been raving about the 23-year-old's change in attitude. "I've had a good chat with him since we returned from the winter break," he said. "We always support all the players across the board, not just Alfredo. "Alfredo's mindset at the weekend looked all right, he played his part in another win. He looked a lot sharper and took his goal well. "If he goes onto to achieve individual accolades then fine, but I'm always one for the team. "If he breaks an individual record as a player but we achieve nothing as a team that's not where I want to be." Morelos is already just one goal away from matching his personal-best tally of 30 goals he set last season.