It would clearly be extremely unfair to place all the blame for Rangers’s Scottish League Cup final defeat on Ryan Kent.
Steven Gerrard’s men created more than enough chances to win at Hampden Park. And by the end of the game, it felt as if Rangers could have been on the field for another two or three hours and they would have still struggled to beat Fraser Forster on that particular day.
Alfredo Morelos has, understandably, taken a lot of flak for his performance. The striker could have had a hat-trick. His performance was summed up by him winning a penalty and then having it saved by Forster.
Morelos certainly needs to prove a point. But perhaps no player owes Rangers fans a big performance against Young Boys on Thursday more than Kent.
Kent was poor at Hampden. He made little impact on the game and arguably came off worse in his duel with Jeremie Frimpong – while the Celtic full-back was on the pitch that is.
The winger is allowed an off-day. But Rangers spent £7 million to sign him from Liverpool in the summer (via STV). He needed to step up on the big stage. And on Sunday, he disappointed.
The Gers have another massive game ahead on Thursday. They round off their Europa League group-stage campaign with a clash with the Swiss side. A draw will guarantee qualification, while a win would secure Rangers top spot in the group.
Defeat however, would mean that the Gers are out if Porto beat Feyenoord. So there is certainly an opportunity for some of Sunday’s demons to be banished immediately.
Kent has to be Rangers’s talisman given the fee spent on him. He has to be the player that takes the game by the scruff of the neck when Gerrard’s men need inspiration – just as he did at Parkhead back in March.
Kent may not get too many opportunities to prove that he is a £7 million player at Ibrox. He squandered one on Sunday. So he must take advantage of having another chance just days later.