Rangers manager Steven Gerrard was full of praise for Joe Aribo after the midfielder helped his side bounce back to beat Braga.
The Portuguese side were 2-0 ahead before Ianis Hagi gave Rangers a foothold and then Aribo burst through to net the equaliser. Hagi’s deflected free-kick capped the comeback and gave his side the advantage ahead of next week’s second leg of the Europa League tie.
Gerrard chose to bring Aribo off the bench to replace Glen Kamara after 54 minutes and said the 23-year-old was instrumental in the turnaround.
“I absolutely loved Joe Aribo tonight,” he said. “One, because he never sulked when he wasn’t in the starting 11. He was positive in the dressing room.
“And when I asked him to come on and do a job he was super-ready, he was more than ready.
“He epitomised everything that we were about in the second half. He played out of position, he played more than one position, never complained and got on with it.
“He had a massive, outstanding contribution tonight. I’m so proud of him.”
Reflecting on the game as a whole, Gerrard said that it was the type of occasion he and his team were working to deliver at Ibrox regularly. He will now look to secure a result in Portugal next week that will see Rangers through to the last 16 but was well aware of the quality that Braga showed.
“It was a fantastic game of football,” he said. “I think both teams played their part.
“We’ve beaten a really good, dangerous team tonight. I though Braga were outstanding at times tonight and really had some success against us.
“The tie is set up really well and it’s only half time. I’ve got huge respect for the opposition because at times they could have hurt us even more.
“It was an excellent game of football.”