The way the Rangers have been successful through Celtic is still more important than the fact that it did. Steven Gerrard’s team was very extensive in dismissing Celtic – even from home – in an encounter that raises the theory that Rangers have won their first championship title since 2011.
For Gerrard, this was an important moment that lasted one and a half years in his management career. The former Liverpool captain has revealed in detail the message sent to his players at halftime at Celtic Park 1-1.
“I just told them to play the second 45 minutes and reward themselves for the past six months of hard work,” said Gerrard. “Go back to the first day of the pre-season and how do you want to feel when you leave this stadium? Do you want to reward yourself with a really tough graft for half a year and get a result that most of the first half deserves? And the last 90 minutes have earned that against this team. I think they delivered. “
Gerrard declined calls to declare his team as potential champions. Instead, he insisted on qualifying for the next round of the Scottish Cup, which will be the Rangers’ job after the current winter break. However, the 39-year-old admits that his team has made progress.
“The plan is to try to overcome the distance. That is the plan, ”said Gerrard from the league. “But there is a lot of football to play and a lot of challenges, big challenges, at home and abroad. These include two other competitions where I have to try to navigate with the players and do my best. But we want to try to fight the best possible fight to the end. “
What Gerrard, of course, cannot influence is Celtic’s answer. Rangers are now two points behind their oldest opponents with a game in hand. However, Celtic is expected to invest more than its competitors during the transfer window.
“Listen, the fans will be the fans,” said Gerrard. “I can only say that in this dressing room we don’t believe that we [against Celtic] have achieved anything other than three big points and a big win. We deserve it and we will enjoy it, but that’s all it is. We respect the challenge.
“I have characters. The team needed a spine, a lot of change, big players who weren’t afraid of the big event. There were some and some I wished they were 10 years younger than Kenny Miller. However, many changes had to be made. We had to wipe it practically clean over two or three transmission windows. We are still not done. We have to keep building, learning more. But now I’m looking at this team and it’s different from the one I’ve inherited by far. “
Gerrard defended the actions of Michael Beale, his first-team coach, who was knocked down after an argument with Celtic’s deputy manager, John Kennedy. “I think you also have to respect the position we are in,” said Gerrard.
“It is an emotional game. In the end, the referee plays more than the four minutes that have passed there. We get a red card [for Alfredo Morelos] and there is one [against Morelos] that was blatant. Understand being in our shoes, it’s an emotional time. I will not apologize. “
The fallout of Morelos’ farewell continued yesterday when the Rangers, who also called for the introduction of VAR in Scotland, toppled the striker’s alleged racist abuse. “We believe Alfredo has been racially abused and we would now expect all measures to be taken to identify and deal with those responsible.”
Celtic replied with a statement that read: “We are aware of the player’s gestures towards the Celtic followers. We have not received reports of racist abuse, but we would investigate all if we were made aware of it. “
Morelos made a few gestures with his hand over his neck as he walked away. The Rangers insisted that the striker’s actions had been misinterpreted.