Joe Aribo was at his magical best on Wednesday night as the Super Eagles star delivered another assured performance at the centre of the park to guide Rangers to a fine 4-0 victory over Ross County, leaving Gers manager Steven Gerrard a pleased man.
Liverpool legend Gerrard has expressed his delight at the performance of his men after two goals each from Alfredo Morelos and Ryan Jack saw the Ibrox giants record their biggest ever victory at Ross County.
Nigeria international Joe Aribo was terrific for the entire duration of the tie, providing two glorious assists and seeing another effort crash against the woodwork as the Light Blues dominated from start to finish in front of 6, 575 supporters at the Global Energy Stadium.
A beaming Gerrard thereafter named the Nigerian duo of Aribo and Sheyi Ojo, who also claimed an assist, among the stars who were particularly impressive on the night.
“I’m very pleased,” Gerrard told RangersTV.
“It’s three important points just before we go into a semi-final, so it was important we kept focused tonight and I thought we started the game on the front-foot, competed really well and we earned the right to play.
“Then our quality came through and we scored four excellent goals. There are a lot of positives – a clean sheet as well and a lot of strong performances. The fans too were excellent.
“Tav [James Tavernier] was superb and I am pleased for him as obviously he has been in the firing line of late, but I thought he was immaculate tonight.
“Ryan Jack with two goals – he got excited! Plus, another couple for Buff [Alfredo Morelos] so I am very pleased.
“I thought we got sloppy in the last 20 minutes – the game is won, but I want the standards to remain the same because goal difference could be important and I don’t want us putting ourselves where we are risking injury and taking too many touches and slowing things down so we need to just remain with the same standards all the way through.
“But in the main, it was a very strong performance.
“Ryan was outstanding in his performance, and I had the luxury where I was able to take him off and rest him as he is so important for us.
“But he scored two fantastic goals from the edge of the box and Buffalo, I think Sheyi [Ojo] does magnificently well for the first goal – passes it, runs and then puts a delicious ball to the back post.
“The second goal was all about Buff really – it was a lovely little slide-pass from Joe Aribo and it is what we have been working on a lot in training.
“From there, he just smashes the side of the net off, and it was a fantastic finish again.”
“I think they had one moment where they needed a bit of luck with the deflection and the ball hits the post.
“I am delighted we got the clean sheet as I thought with the way we did the basics and the way we competed and did the dirty bits tonight, I thought we deserved a clean sheet.
“In possession, we had a lot of control and a lot of strong performances besides a bit of sloppiness and laziness in the last 20 minutes.”
“I have been a player when things are not going your way and you are in the firing line and you are fighting to get your top form back.
“The last thing you need is teammates getting on your back, your manager getting on your back and supporters ooh-ing and aargh-ing.
“The supporters here are fantastic – they are up there with the best in the world, there is no doubt about that.
“But sometimes I need to plea at times just for a bit of support for maybe an individual – that is what I did and I thought they got right behind James tonight and it is no surprise he performed really well.”
Joe Aribo has been included in the 23-man squad set to face Benin Republic and Lesotho in an African Cup of Nations qualifying double header in November.