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‘Aribo doing better and better’ - Van Bronckhorst sings praise of Afcon-bound Nigeria and Rangers star

5:11 PM GMT+8 13/12/2021
Joe Aribo of Rangers.
The former Arsenal defender praises the Super Eagle after he struck yet again to help the Gers win at Tynecastle

Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst believes midfielder Joe Aribo is getting better and better as a player after he scored yet again in the team's 2-0 Scottish Premiership victory against Hearts on Sunday.

The 25-year-old Nigeria international was on target as the Gers secured the vital away win at Tynecastle Stadium and move four points clear ahead of Celtic at the top of the table.

It was Alfredo Morelos who scored the opener for the Light Blues in the ninth minute before Aribo, scored in the 13th minute, controlling a well-delivered cross from Connor Goldson before finishing brilliantly past Craig Gordon.

The former Arsenal defender, who took over the handling of the Gers after the exit of Steven Gerrard, who moved to Premier League side Aston Villa, has described the important role played by the Super Eagle for the champions.

“[Joe] is very dynamic and we talk a lot with him and all of the midfielders about when to be available in the build-up and then when to be attacking the spaces the opponent leaves,” Van Bronckhorst told Rangers website.

“So he is doing better and better, and it was a very important role he had today [Sunday] and, of course, with the goal he helped us all.”

In a previous interview, Aribo explained how Van Bronckhorst had asked them to push and make runs so as to trouble Hearts.

“The boss always tells us to make runs to cause problems and panic in other team's backlines,” Aribo told the club’s website.

“It was similar to what happened on Thursday and the boys gave me a bit of stick about it saying I should have controlled it better to score!

"But I was just happy I was able to get the goal today - the ball was amazing from Connor and I was happy he was able to see me and then I was able to take the chance.

"We knew we had to get our heads screwed on and we needed to take in what boss says and we need to focus when he is taking training sessions because you can't miss out any information - you need to stay together and work hard.”

Aribo is among the three players Rangers will do without when the Africa Cup of Nations kicks off in Cameroon from January 9 to February. Others are Nigeria defenders Calvin Bassey and Leon Balogun.

Nigeria are drawn in Group D of the competition alongside Egypt, Guinea-Bissau, and Sudan and they will open their campaign against the Pharaohs at Roumde Adjia Stadium on January 11.