RYAN Jack was fully aware of the fall-out and the vitriol that he would be subjected to when he opted to leave Aberdeen and join Rangers.

Now, as it was in the summer of 2017, it is of no concern to him when he is on the park and in a battle against the team for whom he made his name and that he used to captain.

He has heard all the abuse, brushed off the boos. When it became personal off the pitch, it was taken too far, though.

Jack returned to Aberdeen in January and was confronted whilst out on Union Street. He and his family were abused by punters inside Soul Bar and bouncers stepped in to break up the fracas.

The unsavoury incident could have left a sour taste for Jack but the 27-year-old won’t be put off returning to the city where he grew up as a man and a player.

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Come kick-off at Ibrox tonight, he will be the target for the travelling Dons fans once again as Rangers meet Derek McInnes’ side in the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup.

That has become the norm for Jack now that he is in Light Blue. Once again, the verbals from the stands will be put to one side as he focuses on the job in hand for Rangers.

“That just spurs me on,” Jack said. “You have to relish that and accept that’s part of football and why I’m in the game. It spurs me on and I’ll be trying to get the job done.

“I knew that I didn’t make a decision to come to Rangers for anyone else or to worry about anyone’s opinions were. It was entirely down to me and my gut feeling and what I wanted to do with my career. What everyone says I can’t really control.

“I was out with my family as we had some time off and I went out for a couple of drinks and a couple of idiots turned up. That’s just the way it is. People take it outside of football.

“When it’s on the pitch and fans give you stick it’s fine. But when you are with your family and maybe having a meal it’s a bit different.

“We just finished our drinks and left. That was it.

“You have to be sensible. I’m not going to be jumping about Aberdeen city centre on a Saturday night, but it won’t stop me going back to visit family and seeing friends.

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“The fact it is an issue shows that everyone is interested and still thinking about you and showing you a bit of love! It’s part of the game and you just have to accept it and it spurs you on and makes you want to do better. I suppose the day they stop giving you stick is when you start worrying.”

The sight and sound of Jack being abused by Dons fans has been the backdrop to every meeting between his former club and his current one over the last two seasons now.

There has only been one occasion this term where the midfielder has had the last laugh, however.

Rangers’ 4-2 win at Pittodrie last month was one of their finest showings of the campaign but there have been two draws and two defeats from the other quartet of fixtures.

Boss McInnes will bring the Reds to Ibrox confident they can record a second cup win over the Gers and Jack knows how important a night it is for Gerrard and his side.

“It’s usually a tough but entertaining match,” he said. “Hopefully this one is no different and we turn up and play the best we can and get the club to a semi-final.

“I don’t think it feels like a bigger game. The next game at a club like Rangers is always massive and especially after we were frustrated at dropping two points on Friday night.

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“It gives us something different to focus our attention on - it’s a quarter-final of the Scottish Cup in front of a full house at Ibrox and it has all the makings of a game to be excited about and we need to show up and show that.

“The fact Aberdeen will be coming to Ibrox they have been competing against Rangers for a few seasons and I’m sure Derek McInnes will be getting the team riled up and telling his team to get in our faces and stop us playing by going man for man. It’s for us to show up and show how much we want to get to a semi-final.

“I definitely think they will have belief. They have beaten us a couple of times and I’ve no doubt they will have belief.

“We have to focus on ourselves and we want to get the club to a semi-final and if we turn up and play as we can then that will be the case.”

Given the rivalry and what is at stake for both teams, the last eight replay at Ibrox has the potential to be one of the best games of the campaign.

It can only be hoped that it is the football that makes the headlines this evening after our game has once again been spoken about for all the wrong reasons in recent days.

Ibrox captain James Tavernier was confronted by a Hibernian fan during the draw at Easter Road on Friday night, just a week after Scott Sinclair had a bottle thrown at him from the same section of the ground.

The scenes can only be condemned but there are no fears for Jack despite the alarming increase in incidents, both here and south of the border.

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Jack said: “There isn’t any place in the game for the incidents we’ve seen recently and the individuals who are deciding to come onto the field and confront and assault players need to be dealt with.

“Whether that is a jail sentence or lifetime bans from football, whatever it has to be, because there is definitely no place for that in the game.

“I’ve played in a lot of games where it’s been hostile and every tackle is cheered like a goal but I’ve never felt unsafe on a football pitch.

“James deserves credit for the way he handled it because it’s not easy, especially in the heat of the moment in a big game and adrenaline is running high, when a supporter is in your face but he dealt with it brilliantly.

“If you look over the weekend there were some great games of football live on TV in every league and all we’re talking about are these individuals who have decided to enter the field of play and assault players.

“It’s frustrating because you don’t want to be giving these type of guys the headlines every week when the football should be talked about.”