IT is the split-second incident that has split opinions. Only time will tell if it has longer-term consequences for Ryan Jack and Rangers, though.

For some, Jack’s challenge on Stevie May was firm but fair as he knocked the ball away from the striker and then clattered into him in the middle of the park.

For others, it was a reckless and dangerous tackle that left Willie Collum with no option but to flash the red card after just 56 minutes at Pittodrie.

It is the fourth time this term that Jack has been sent for an early bath but Rangers hope he will now achieve a unique hat-trick after launching another appeal to the Scottish FA.

Jack has already had his dismissals from the matches with Hibernian and Kilmarnock overturned this term but there was nothing Rangers could do about the two yellow cards he picked up against Hamilton.

After Danny Wilson’s header had sparked the game into life on Sunday, Jack’s no holds barred block on May ignited an encounter that had simmered throughout.

Fortunately for Graeme Murty’s side, it didn’t prove costly as Josh Windass doubled their tally before the Gers stood firm after Frank Ross had given the Dons a glimmer of hope.

And Jim Bett, who saw the age old rivalry from both perspectives during his career, reckons an incident like Jack’s tackle was always on the cards at the weekend.

“I think it was a pretty obvious red card,” Bett told SportTimes. “He did get the ball first but his follow through looked pretty bad on the replay so I don’t think the referee had any choice but to give him a red card. He did get the ball first but it didn’t look good.

“Rangers against Aberdeen is always a good contest and the midfield is an area where the game can be won and lost.

“There were always going to be one or two things happening and it won’t be the last time in that fixture.

“I don’t think Ryan meant it but in these games something usually happens because of the rivalry between the clubs.

“I don’t know what Rangers are doing trying to get it overturned. It was a red card and that’s it. You could see it was a red card.

“The two of them went for the ball but Ryan caught him on the ankle. It didn’t look good.”

The tackle on May was a moment to forget for Jack on what he hoped would be an occasion to revel in as he returned to his former club. It shouldn’t be all his afternoon is remembered for, however.

The 25-year-old turned in an accomplished showing in the middle of the park as he rose above the abuse from the stands to control proceedings for the Gers.

He was always going to be the pantomime villain at Pittodrie and the home crowd didn’t miss the chance to revel in his disappointment as he trudged back to the away dressing room.

Jack was compared to Bett as he was making his way through the Reds ranks and the former Dons midfielder was impressed with his performance once again.

“He had a very good game and he was getting a lot of space to pass the ball,” Bett said. “When you give good players that kind of time, they are going to enjoy it.

“He played well last week against Aberdeen at Ibrox as well and he is just a good player.

“He just has to get on with it. Everyone has had red cards in these kind of games. You take your punishment and move onto the next game.

“He is quite competitive and it was just a spur of the moment thing. He got lost in that second.

“After it, maybe you think ‘I shouldn’t have done that’. It is part of his game.

“He is a good player and all good players have that will to win in them and they like to compete. Ryan is the same.”

If Rangers are unsuccessful in their bid to get the red card overturned, Jack will have to sit in the stands during what could be the first few weeks of Derek McInnes’ Ibrox tenure.

The midfielder will miss the matches with Ross County, Hibernian and St Johnstone as Rangers look to consolidate second spot in the Premiership.

But Bett believes the latest setback won’t slow Jack’s progress after an encouraging start to life at Ibrox so far this term.

“In a few weeks, it will be forgotten and people will move on,” he said. “You have to be careful but I don’t think you can take that out of his game because that is part of his game and what makes him a good player.

“He started off very well at Rangers and the older you get the better you become.

“I think Graeme Souness said once that he didn’t start playing his best football until he was in his thirties.

“The more experience Ryan gets the better he will get. Plus, if Rangers can invest in more good players that will help him as well.

“There is no doubt he has a good player and he will be looking to continue the start he has made at Rangers and keep getting better under the next manager.”

HeraldScotland | Sport

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