Since his arrival from Amiens on transfer deadline day, Bongani Zungu hasn’t had the smoothest of starts at Glasgow Rangers.
The 28-year-old has had a gradual start to life at Ibrox – with just 283 minutes of first-team action so far this season – and it hasn’t all been plain-sailing for the South African midfielder, who ran out of steam after the break against St Mirren.
Glasgow Live were equally scathing in their assessment, claiming he was solid albeit ‘nothing spectacular’, whilst he ‘didn’t protect the back four well enough in the second half.’
Whilst Zungu struggled against St Mirren, particularly in the second half, Steven Davis outshone the South Africa international during his brief cameo against the Buddies, as he came off the bench to level the score.
Ultimately, his efforts were in vain, as Steven Gerrard’s side crashed out of the competition thanks to a last-gasp winner from Connor McCarthy, but this doesn’t mean that his drive and determination should be ignored nor indeed go unnoticed.
Davis’ importance is something that has become blindingly obvious over the past few months or so, with Alex McLeish waxing lyrical about his former charge after he became the most-capped player for his country in the Euro 2020 playoff semi-final against Bosnia-Herzegovina in October.
He told Ibrox News: “It’s quite an incredible feat when you think about.
“It’s really amazing. Steven has been some servant to his clubs and country.
“I’ve always liked him as a player. I liked him every since I was in the Premier League with Birmingham City, when he played for Fulham. I thought he was a great signing by Walter Smith when he brought him in first time round, and he really transformed Rangers’ midfield.
“That’s what we really need to see from Rangers if they’re to be successful – a midfield controller of the ilk that Steven is. Of course, he’s still there and he’s found a little bit of his top fitness again, and he is an outstanding performer.”
And with Motherwell next on the agenda, the timing couldn’t be better for Gerrard to bring the Northern Irishman to back into the fold, especially when you consider the fact that he hasn’t started in the past three games in a row.
With games coming thick and fast between now and Christmas, coupled with the fact that the Old Firm derby is a matter of weeks away, the Ibrox boss will be well aware that he will have to manage Davis very carefully, as he can ill afford to lose one of his best players to injury before the mouth-watering clash with Celtic at the top of the table.
But giving the 35-year-old, who earns wages worth £18,000-per-week, the chance to get some minutes under his belt against the fifth-placed Steelmen could prove vital later down the line.