RYAN Jack last night cleared the air over his recent injury controversy and said he was desperate to play his part for Scotland – even at right back if need be. The Ibrox captain found himself at the centre of a club versus country row earlier this month, when Rangers manager Steven Gerrard accused his Scotland counterpart Steve Clarke of taking a “careless” attitude towards the player’s fitness ahead of the double header with Russia and Belgium.

Having been asked to do 11km of running in a training session two days after the Old Firm match, the 27-year-old was forced to withdraw from the Scotland camp after a long-running issue with his knee which requires careful management flared up.

Returning to the Rangers line-up after missing the league win against Livingston, Jack showed no ill effects with a fine display against Feyenoord, and said he was keen to keep his place in Clarke’s plans for next month’s double header against Russia and San Marino as he looks to build momentum ahead of two giant Euro 2020 play-offs in March.

Things are no less exciting for the player at domestic level, with Gerrard confirming that the club are set to reward the player for his excellent form with a new, improved deal – even though he put pen to paper on a contract extension until 2021 as recently as last Christmas.

“It’s all forgotten about now to be honest,” said Jack. “Our manager had his say about what he thought and I just try and stay out of that. As a player you have to train and do what you are asked.

“There is no issue, I don’t think there’s any problems,” he added. “It actually happened before the Russia game but I wanted to stay and be part of it. As the week went on after the Russia game there was no improvement so I knew I needed to come back and have it checked

“When I get selected to play for my country or to play at Rangers I give 100 per cent. When my knee swelled up, I felt I wasn’t in a position to give that and that’s why I came back. Up to that point I was delighted to be part of it and delighted to be training.”

While Clarke is an admirer of Jack in a midfield role, and his one-time Aberdeen youth colleague Stephen O’Donnell is currently the best Scottish right back operating in Scotland by a distance, Jack has played right back at international level up to his Under-21 days and could yet prove to be an option in that position.

“I’m up for playing anywhere [for Scotland]. If you get selected you go along, be professional and do your job. Wherever I get asked to play I just need to do my best. I’ve said before that if I’m selected for Scotland I’m delighted. I want to go along, give 100 per cent every day and show I want to play.”

While Jack’s injury dates back to an Ibrox outing against Motherwell, after which a scan revealed a small hole in his cartilage, the surgeons have told him it is no impediment to his career. While it required an injection “to calm it down” prior to his return to the Rangers fold in midweek, the main way it tends to manifest itself is in the midfielder doing “half a session or maybe three quarters” when it comes to training sessions featuring plenty of high impact running. “I don’t think it will change me or the way I train and play,” said Jack. “I want to train every day, do every session and play every game.”

It was fitting perhaps that Jack should put in such a fine performance on a night when Rangers were paying tribute to fallen midfielder Fernando Ricksen. While Jack is a quieter, more serious figure than Ricksen, no-one embodies his capacity to put his body on the line for his club more than Jack. Also like Jack, he wasn’t entirely popular with the Aberdeen fans.

“Watching Rangers as a boy when Rangers and Fernando were really successful, he was a great player,” said Jack. “As everyone says he was a fighter and a warrior. My thoughts go to his family and friends at this sad time. He had a few run-ins up in Aberdeen but when you play for Rangers and go up there that’s what happens ... No, Thursday was a special night and we dedicate it to Fernando. I’m sure he would be proud of that performance.”

While the narrow 4-3-2-1 which Rangers have found under Gerrard seems perfect for Europe, the intensity of Ibrox, of course, will be a far cry from the Stade de Suisse in Berne in a fortnight’s time, not to mention McDiarmid Park today or Livingston in midweek. But Rangers must learn to bring their own intensity regardless.

That is where Jack came in. Since pretty much day one, the midfielder has been Gerrard’s star pupil. This was equally the case under Derek McInnes at Aberdeen, to whom the Englishman offers praise in his development. "People might find this unusual for a Rangers manager to say but I think the Aberdeen people deserve a lot of credit for the job they did with him," he said. "I think giving him the captaincy early helped but also positionally. I could see from my opening training sessions that people had worked with him because he had a very good understanding of the game.

“I think his game has gone up a level, with games and the confidence that we have put in," Gerrard added. "I think he has thrived and is loving it. He is happy, he has little moments in training: the majority of them do, but if anyone deserves a pay rise and an extension, it is Ryan Jack because he has been one of the most consistent players since Day 1 and has earned everything that has come his way.

“We have offered him a new deal recently so we are hoping in the coming weeks we can announce an extension. He certainly deserves that.”