Denmark legend bemoans Aribo absence as Rangers stutter

Brian Laudrup has pointed to the enforced absence of midfielder Joe Aribo as an explanation for Rangers’ limp goalless draw at Livingston.

The Nigeria international, who missed out on the trip to the Almondvale Stadium with an ankle injury, has been influential since joining the club in 2019. He was, however, conspicuous by his absence on Sunday, and the Gers looked flat and lacking in attacking ideas.

Denmark legend Laudrup, who spent four years at Rangers in the 90s, winning three league titles, took to his column in the Daily Mail on Monday to lament the injury to Aribo.

“Gerrard was right to say his match-winners didn’t really function on Sunday,” Laudrup wrote.

“It’s their job to produce something in games like this and they couldn’t find a moment of creativity that really mattered. But it is much more difficult for the opposition if you also have that impetus coming from midfield, through someone who can take people on or drive from deep.

“Glen Kamara and Ryan Jack are both very composed, solid players, while Scott Arfield brings a lot of energy. But no one can quite do the same job as Aribo and I think that showed. Rangers couldn’t find the final piece of the jigsaw.

“Aribo’s close control is excellent. Even in tight spaces he can take players on or produce a piece of skill to bring someone else into the game. There were times on Sunday when that could have been invaluable to unlocking something for Rangers.”

Rangers boss Steven Gerrard will be hopeful his star man is back to full fitness for the visit of Kilmarnock on Saturday. It is also expected that defender Leon Balogun will shake off the knock that also kept him out at the weekend to start at Ibrox. Alex Dyer’s Killie are the only side to take points off Glasgow rivals Celtic in the Scottish Premier League so far this season, and so are expected to provide a stern test.

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