MITCH MEGGINSON always knew Ryan Jack had the talent and mentality to become a stalwart for club and country.

And he is delighted to see his friend and former team-mate earning the rewards for his efforts after landing his first Premiership title this term.

Megginson came through the ranks at Aberdeen with Jack before they both went their separate ways. Had injury not ruled the midfielder out of action, they would have been reunited at Ibrox on Sunday.

There will be no place for Jack in Steven Gerrard's squad as the champions kick-off their Scottish Cup campaign against Cove Rangers without one of their most influential performers.

It has been a frustrating campaign in many ways for Jack but former Dons striker Megginson knows as well as anyone what will drive the 29-year-old on as he looks to hit the heights once again.

“I always look out for my mates who play football and I’ve watched him numerous times,” Megginson said.

“He’s a key player at a top class team. To see him do so well and playing with Scotland and get them to the Euros, that’s the pinnacle of a player’s career.

READ MORE: Rangers midfielder Ryan Jack visits London specialist to cure injury issues

“He was always one who could play at the highest level and since Steven Gerrard has came in, his game’s gone to another level.

Glasgow Times: Ryan Jack

"That’s testament to Ryan’s belief in his own ability and his work rate to make sure he’s working at the highest level.

“And he has to because they’re bringing in better players. He’s playing alongside Steven Davis who is an excellent player so Ryan’s own levels have to be as high as they can.

“It’s great to see him do well. You want to see the boys you played with as a youngster make it as a professional footballer. So it’s excellent to see.

“It doesn’t matter whether it is football or something else, he is one of the most competitive guys I have been around.

“He was like that as a young level and has been like that all the way. He has got a winning mentality.

“Playing at Rangers, where you have to win every week, he suits that down to a tee.

“He broke into the Aberdeen team quite early and went on to be skipper there as well. I think that speaks volumes for him.

“Steven Gerrard has also spoken about him highly numerous times as that obviously speaks for itself. Ryan has always been a winner throughout his career.”