Kris Boyd has praised Rangers star Joe Aribo for his heroics in the Europa League Round of 32 first leg against Braga and has even suggested that he plays in an unfamiliar forward role in the second leg.
Steven Gerrard’s side earned a 3-2 home win over Braga at Ibrox on Thursday and travel to Portugal next week for the return leg.
Ianis Hagi (two) and Aribo scored second-half goals to see the Gers overturn a two-goal deficit to take an aggregate lead.
Aribo entered the action as a substitute during the second-half and the midfielder certainly made his impact.
The 23-year-old netted a stunning individual goal after dribbling through several Braga players and he showed his versatility by slotting in at left-back.
The Scottish giants go into next week’s game with Braga without their main centre-forward Alfredo Morelos through suspension, while Jermain Defoe is currently sidelined through injury too.
That leaves either Greg Stewart or Hibernian loanee Florian Kamberi as the most likely replacements to lead the line.
But Boyd has suggested that Aribo could even do a job in a striker role, something he has never done for Rangers before.
“He climbed off the bench on Thursday night to help rescue Rangers – and maybe convinced his critics that he’s the real deal,” Boyd wrote in the Scottish Sun.
“Gerrard says there’s much more to come from Aribo. You know what? That’s exactly what I’ve thought about him for a while now.
“There’s always been something which has attracted me to Aribo. He’s someone you would always leave on the pitch because he’s likely to produce something.
“Aribo must be a consideration for a role through the middle, as he’d get the freedom up there to really hurt Braga. He would look to make things happen in the final third.”
Aribo enhanced his reputation with his contribution in midweek on the European stage and he’s a player that on his day can bring so much to the Rangers XI.
He’s a central midfielder with an eye for goal and has shown he’s got the attacking flair to play on the wing, while his contribution at full-back was massive too against Braga.
But it would a colossal ask to chuck him in at centre-forward out in Portugal and one that Gerrard should look to avoid.