Rangers win a fitting send off for Fernando Ricksen – Gerrard

Steven Gerrard believes Rangers gave Fernando Ricksen a fitting send off with a hard-fought 1-0 Europa League win over Feyenoord at Ibrox.

The death of the Gers’ former Dutch captain on Wednesday at the age of 43 following a six-year battle with motor neurone disease made it an emotional night in Govan.

In a pulsating Group G opener, Rangers skipper James Tavernier struck the outside of the post with a 10th-minute penalty before Sheyi Ojo fired in a glorious 20-yard drive in the 24th minute for what proved to be the winner.

Light Blues boss Gerrard said: “We gave the supporters a performance to be proud of.

“It has been an emotional 24 hours for everyone connected with the club so that put more pressure on the players.

“Everyone was looking for that performance for Fernando’s young family to be proud of and thankfully we got the win.

“I thought my players were outstanding, especially the first half.

“We carried the game plan out really well, to be aggressive, press on the front foot and try to take them to a place they are not used to going from a domestic point of view.

“I was slightly disappointed not to go in at the break further in front.

“Feyenoord improved in the second half but over the course of the 90 minutes I don’t think anyone can take the three point away from us, we deserved it, the fans were fantastic. It was very fitting.”

The former Liverpool skipper, however, noted that Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor was also called upon to make several good saves to keep Feyenoord at bay.

He said: “We’re going to need Allan McGregor in every game we play, playing at this level.

“That’s where we are. That’s the reality. Allan’s going to have to be big for us.

“We knew that when the group was made…Feyenoord, Porto, Young Boys. That’s Champions League opposition and Allan is going to have to be big for us and he was again tonight.

“It gives us a good start. It gives us a lot of confidence and belief but there’s no doubt when we go to Rotterdam it’s going to be another big challenge and a tougher game.”

Feyenoord boss Jaap Stam insists his side did not take advantage of the space they were given by Rangers.

The former Manchester United defender said: “It was an intense game. Rangers used their physique and pace up front.

“We conceded a penalty, they missed it, luckily, but straight away we tried to build from the back and we lost the ball and they came at us again.

“That gave us a shock and we couldn’t control the game and we were too weak in terms of keeping the ball and using our bodies in the battles.

“They scored and created a couple of opportunities. At moments we had the ball we didn’t do enough with it.

“Rangers gave us a lot of space to play football and we didn’t use it, we never made the right choices.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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