STEVEN GERRARD declared himself ‘very proud’ of Rangers’ efforts in this evening’s excellent Europa League qualifying win away to FC Midtjyland here in Denmark.
Gers will carry a 4-2 lead back to Ibrox for next week’s second leg as goals from Alfredo Morelos, Joe Aribo, Nikola Katic and Scott Arfield secured a super advantage for the second leg.
Speaking tonight to RangersTV, Gerrard beamed: “I’m very proud of the performance. I think everyone to a man was fantastic tonight, and it is a great result but it is only half-time and there is still a lot of work to do.
“We need to go and carry out the gameplan in the second leg exactly how the boys did tonight. I thought we were very close to a perfect performance, although we have conceded a couple of goals.
“The idea was to be in a mid-block and be aggressive, play as a team and be difficult to play against.
“I thought we stood up to their physical presence and I thought some of the goals we scored tonight were fantastic.
“I have nothing but praise for my players. This is a difficult opposition who have good players.
“They are very big in profile and you can see their set-piece threat. They have got good players and technicians who can hurt you.
“So we did have a bit of a wobble, but we have come away from home, scored four goals and there were outstanding individual performances.
“I thought Jon Flanagan for his first start was immense. The two centre-backs were fantastic again and Joe Aribo again gets an unbelievable goal.
“Scott Arfield got a lovely little pass finish and if anyone was doubting Big Buff [Alfredo Morelos’] commitment to this club, just watch that back for 90 minutes as I thought he was outstanding.”
The character shown by his side when Midtjylland pulled the score back to 3-2 also delighted Gerrard who added: “You saw it at the weekend, so it is no surprise to me or the fans. We saw it a lot of times last year. But, I believe we have grown up.
“I’m not sure we had this performance in us last year. Yes, we went away to Villarreal and performed really well, but I think we have gone up a level again and I think that showed tonight.
“We never panicked at 3-2. We knew we were still in front and we showed great composure to go and get another one and that could be a very important goal.
“We respect the opposition and we will respect them in the second leg. The important thing now is the players need to realise a lot of hard work needs to go into the second leg.
“But, we have Hibernian to focus on, so we need to forget Midtjylland for a week and really focus on trying to build on our performance at Kilmarnock.
“We have to go onto the next one very quick. The squad is big enough and I’ll make a few changes to freshen it up at the weekend and then we will go after Hibs.
“But I need Ibrox to be rocking at the weekend as we have put a lot into tonight so we need the crowd at the weekend.”