Joe Aribo finds form for Rangers ahead of crunch Europa League second leg tie

Joe Aribo finds form for Rangers ahead of crunch Europa League second leg tie

Super Eagles midfielder Joe Aribo scored a beauty to help G;asgow Rangers to a 4-0 win in the Scottish Premiership over St Mirren on Sunday.

His goal comes after a string of lacklustre performances for the Ibrox side after returning from international duty with Nigeria at the African Cup of Nations in January.

Following his return from Cameroon, Aribo, who is one of the Gers most trustworthy players, failed to find the form that made him a fan favourite before he joined up with the Super Eagles for the AFCON tournament.

Former Rangers defender Alan Hutton recently tried to explain Aribo’s poor form in 2022. “I was watching the [Old Firm Derby] game with a lot of friends who are Rangers fans and we all said the same thing, that he looked a bit jaded, a bit tired,” Hutton said to Football Insider.

“You look at the amount of football that he’s played. A lot of pressure falls on his shoulders to go and produce. He can open that defence, he can see a pass and split a defence.”

However, Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst has continued to put his faith in the 25-year-old, and he has now repaid that belief with a stunner in Sunday’s win to keep Rangers on track to finish second in the league.

Aribo started alongside a much-changed Rangers first XI, with the Rangers manager obviously keeping Thursday’s UEFA Europa League  return leg in mind. The Dutch manager left Aribo’s Super Eagles teammates Calvin Bassey and Leon Balogun out of the game.

It was an assured performance from the Light Blues, in preparation for their crunch clash against Braga at the Ibrox, where they hope to overturn a 1-0 deficit and progress to the Europa League semi-finals.

Aribo’s 76th-minute stunner outshone Kemar Roofe's hat-trick, earning him all the plaudits from pundits and fans alike. Van Bronckhorst praised Aribo after the game, saying that the goal will give him a lot more confidence.

The Dutchman told Rangers TV post-match : “It's good, it's always good to get on the scoresheet especially for a striker, but also for Joe.

“You know he's an attack-minded player and gives him also a lot of confidence for the games ahead.”

With his strike against St Mirren, Aribo has now scored 25 goals in 139 games across all competitions for Rangers since joining them from Charlton Athletic in 2019.

This article was most recently revised and updated 2 years ago

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