STEVEN GERRARD has praised midfielder Ovie Ejaria after he produced a standout performance against Ufa this evening.
The 20-year-old, who is on loan from Liverpool, looked at home once again on the European stage for the Light Blues and played a big part in his side’s 1-0 victory over the Russians.
Gerrard, speaking to RangersTV after the Europa League play-off round, first leg at Ibrox, said: “I thought he was magnificent and I think that is his strongest 90 minutes that he has given us so far.
“I think we have seen a lot of flashes and a lot of halves, some good performances, but I think that’s his first real excellent performance that he’s announced against a good team. I thought he was excellent from start to finish.”
The manager was delighted to see his side record a 1-0 home victory this evening ahead of next week’s tricky second leg in the Neftyanik Stadium.
He said: “I’ve got belief and confidence in my players that we can now go and finish the job off.
“We’ll do whatever it takes to get over the line, whether that be another clean sheet and get it through that way, but I also have confidence and I’ll put people on the pitch and in the team that are capable of getting an important away goal.
“I believe if we get another goal it will be a big task for them.”
Gerrard was delighted to be able to include new signing Kyle Lafferty and fit again Lee Wallace on his bench tonight, with Lafferty getting a second-half run-out when he replaced Daniel Candeias in the 69th minute.
He added: “Lee is a leader and he’s had a tough time with injury, but I wanted to name him on the bench today, not necessarily to use him but just to start getting him the feel back for the crowd and being around in the dressing room.
“The idea now is to push him and try and get him match fit as soon as we can and he’ll be a big positive for us in the squad.
“And to have Kyle in finally through the door, he’s had a big 24 hours but again I wanted to get him on the pitch to see if we could get that extra goal to give us that little bit more of a cushion. It wasn’t to be but I was pleased with his impact.”