JOE Aribo says the pressures of playing for Rangers is making him a better player and person – as the Gers gear up to head back to Tynecastle to right some wrongs.
Aribo was part of the Light Blues side which drew with the Jambos in October, one of only two draws and a single defeat in the Premiership this season. The result was a catalyst for an impressive run, which started with an away draw against Porto.
Aribo admits it is the high level of expectation from Rangers fans and staff which is spurring him and his teammates on into a second half of the season which has started with two wins.
He told the media: “One thing I have always said is that the fans, they are just ruthless, they want to win every game and it has to be by a big margin.
“I know every week I have to perform, I have to be the best that I can be and we have to do that as a team also.
“That pressure makes you a better player and a better person because you know if you’re sloppy or you’re not at your best then you will come out of the team. It is good pressure and it is what you need to be the best that you can be.
“You have to get the chance to play in a position and grab it. I just want to keep being able to grab that position.
“I just want to go out there and express myself, that’s all the gaffer says to me before a game and I am just happy that I am able to do that.
“We know how aggressive and fast this league can be so that was one thing I had to learn when I came here. I am just grateful I am able to have caught up with it and can perform.
“We have to have a quick turnaround in this period of games because you can’t dwell on the last result or the last game; we just have to think about the next fixture that is coming.
“Momentum is a big thing and if you are winning then you just want to keep winning, keep playing and keep the games coming thick and fast so you can keep winning.”
Jermain Defoe will lead the line for the Gers this weekend, as Alfredo Morelos completes his suspension and Aribo says it does take the Rangers team some adaptation to play with a different striker.
Defoe was on target last season at Tynecastle when his side won 3-1 but the 1-1 draw earlier in this campaign was a disappointment Aribo would like to make up for this weekend.
He continued: “It was a difficult one to take because obviously the result wasn’t what we wanted but we have the chance to rectify what we did the last time and come out and be better.
“They use it (Tynecastle) as a big factor for them and you can see with the crowd being close it is a bit intimidating but you can’t use it as an excuse and we just have to be better than last time.
“With the noise at Ibrox that is the worst place to go to for opposing players. We know that with the backing of our fans at Tynecastle then we can just be confident.
“We know what Jermain can do and we know what kind of striker he is, whereas Alfredo is very different to him. You have to adapt to who you are playing with and that is what we have to do.
“You can see what Jermain does for us, Glen Kamara and I, we call him Uncle!
“You can see how professional he is, he is the first one in and the last one to go home. It just shows why he is still able to do what he is doing, even at the age he is at.”