Gerrard hails Rangers’ ‘A+’ game as they halt Celtic’s Old Firm dominance

Steven Gerrard dedicated his maiden Old Firm victory to the long-suffering Rangers support after watching his side finally halt Brendan Rodgers’ run of derby dominance.

The Celtic boss had racked up 10 wins and two draws since moving to Glasgow in the summer of 2016.

But his undefeated streak came to an end as Ryan Jack fired the only goal in a 1-0 victory at Ibrox as Gers claimed their first league triumph over their bitter rivals since March 2012.

The Hoops were backed by just 700 travelling supporters and found themselves drowned out both on and off the park as Rangers’ pressing game fired up the jubilant home faithful.

The Light Blues now join the Parkhead table-toppers on 42 points and Gerrard said: “It’s a fantastic result for myself and the team but this is about the supporters.

“They’ve waited a long time for an Old Firm victory. You could feel the tension and the emotion in the air in the dying moments, so I’m just pleased that they can enjoy it.

“I asked the players to deliver an ‘A’ game – it was an A-plus.

“To a man we were better than Celtic. We were more aggressive, we created more, we could have won by a bigger margin.”

Gers were boosted by the return of injury doubts Scott Arfield, Ryan Kent and Connor Goldson while key Celtic duo Kieran Tierney and Odsonne Edouard were only fit enough to start on the bench.

Gerrard confessed his men had shown Celtic too much respect as they lost the opening derby clash back in September but there was no sign of that this time as the Light Blues’ incessant pressure forced the visitors into mistake after mistake.

Parkhead skipper Scott Brown had a day to forget, capped off when Jack’s 30th-minute strike clipped his shins before flying past Craig Gordon.

“We wanted to play on the front foot,” said Gerrard. “We showed Celtic too much respect in the first Old Firm game this season.

“If you show good players too much respect they can pass you off the pitch, and they did for 45 minutes. Today we never game them a second.

“Ryan Kent’s performance, considering he’s been injured was outstanding. Scott Arfield left every single thing in his body out there. Connor Goldson took a jab to play.

“I can’t praise them any more for going out and carrying out the game plan so well.”

But Gerrard was careful not to get carried away and added: “Look, there’s still a lot of improvement and growing needed from us, but we need to take confidence and belief from that performance. That’s the level we’re looking for.

“It was a fixture we dare not lose, because the gap would have been very damaging.

“So the result puts us closer to where we want to be – but there’s no getting away from it, we still need to get better.”

Rodgers could offer no excuse for his side and said: “Rangers deserved to win. We didn’t play well. We made too many unforced mistakes.

“We’ve got players missing but on the day Rangers were better than us – 13th time unlucky, unfortunately.

“You have to be humble when you win but honest when you lose and the honest answer is they were better than us today. We have to accept that.”

Asked if he felt his team’s meagre ticket allocation had affected his performance, the Celtic manager added: “The games are better when there is a higher proportion of away supporters there but that doesn’t make you pass the ball better on the pitch.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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