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Nigeria’s Aribo confesses form has dipped at Rangers since Afcon return

07:37 GMT 05/03/2022
Joe Aribo of Rangers.
The 25-year-old Super Eagle promises to up his game and help the Gers catch up with log leaders Celtic in the top-flight

Rangers midfielder Joe Aribo has admitted his performances haven’t been up to standard since the Africa Cup of Nations but insists getting three points is his next focus in the Scottish Premiership.

The 25-year-old Nigeria international was enjoying a good run of form before he headed to Cameroon for the Africa Cup of Nations where the Super Eagles failed to make it past the Round of 16 after losing 1-0 against Tunisia.

The former Charlton Athletic player had managed six goals and six assists in the first half of the season for the reigning champions but he has only managed one goal in nine matches in all competitions since returning to domestic action from Cameroon.

Ahead of Rangers' top-flight fixture against Aberdeen at Ibrox Stadium on Friday, Aribo has promised to improve and help the Gers retain the title.

“For me personally, I wanted to get more numbers in terms of goals and assists [last month],” Aribo told Rangers TV. “I’ve not been at my best compared to how I was before I left for the internationals.

“In football, you have these dips in form in your season but hopefully I can move past that and, come tomorrow, see a strong performance and move forward from that.

“I just need to work my hardest to get back into form and that’s what I’m doing. Every single day, I want to be my best when I’m on the pitch so that’s what I’m hoping to do.

"Of course, the attackers here want to get numbers on the board, but the most important thing is the three points. If it’s 1-0, if it’s 2-1, as long as we’re getting the three points, that’s the main thing.”

Rangers are currently sitting second on the 12-team table, three points fewer than leaders Celtic, but Aribo insists the tension that comes with being involved in the title race will help them to achieve their targets for the season.

“It’s nice to have because it is a moment for the big players to step up,” Aribo continued. “We need big characters in the dressing room. In the next games coming up, we hope that we’ll be there and we’ll get three points.

“That’s what we want from every single match that we play in.”

Rangers have not enjoyed a good run of results in the last three top-flight matches - drawing 1-1 against Dundee United, 2-2 against Motherwell before managing a 1-0 win against St. Johnstone.

Despite his form, Aribo has been named in Nigeria’s provisional squad for the upcoming 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifying fixture against Ghana.

The Super Eagles will face the Black Stars in the first leg meeting on March 25 at Cape Coast Sports Stadium before the return leg four days later at Moshood Abiola National Stadium.