Aribo backs Rangers to hit top gear in title challenge

Joe Aribo admits Rangers were in a low gear against Stranraer but the midfielder expects to see Steven Gerrard’s team hitting top speed soon.

Rangers were really motoring after raiding Celtic Park for their first away derby win in nine years last month.

But the winter shutdown put the brakes on the Light Blues’ momentum and they struggled to get going against Stevie Farrell’s Ladbrokes League One strugglers on their return to action on Friday night.

It took 44 minutes for Scott Arfield to find the opener, while Rangers could only muster a goal from a Jermain Defoe penalty after the break as they trudged into the fifth round of the William Hill Scottish Cup with a 2-0 win.

There was little to get the 38,560 fans inside Ibrox excited and Gerrard even admitted his side’s performance left him “bored”.

But with the rustiness blown out of their system, Aribo feels Rangers will now put their foot down as title race heats up in the second half of the season.

Gerrard’s men sit two points behind the Hoops with a game in hand ahead of Wednesday night’s clash with St Mirren at Ibrox.

“We knew we just needed to progress on Friday night,” said former Charlton playmaker Aribo. “It was a frustrating game at times. We knew we needed to show more.

“We were a bit rusty after the break and we needed to get that game in so we could move forward.

“We’ve not played in a few weeks so the first game was always going to be rusty and we are just happy to get rid of the cobwebs. Now we can move on.

“We had momentum after the Old Firm game and it’s important we keep the momentum going, even after the break.

“We don’t want to slip up, we don’t want to look back with regrets. We just want to win in every game we play.”