“I’M the proudest man in the house” was Steven Gerrard’s verdict after Rangers overcame Legia Warsaw to reach the Europa League group stages amidst incredible scenes at Ibrox tonight.
A minute into injury-time, Alfredo Morelos’ perfect header on the end of a Jordan Jones cross sparked sheer delirium around the famous old ground to guarantee Gers at least six more European games between now and Christmas.
It was just a sensational night for the club, and speaking to RangersTV at full-time, manager Gerrard beamed: “It’s quite difficult to put it into words right now. Emotions are still running high, and I just have to get myself off the ceiling really!
“Listen, it’s about the players. They have knocked a good team out and I have to pay my respects to Legia who were a tough nut to crack. They were really, really well-organised with good players throughout and outstanding support.
“So the players deserve all the plaudits and all the credit and that is where I want all the praise to go.
“I thought in the first half, we never really went into top gear and we still had the handbrake on and I had to go for them a bit at half-time as I thought they needed to be provoked and we did as a staff, and I got the reaction I wanted as in the second half we took the shackles off and we really went for Legia.
“We ground them down, we were fitter and it was just about people stepping up for those moments of quality, and Jordan Jones provided it with an exquisite cross and Alfredo does what he does and scored the goal.”
Grabbing the goal so late isn’t a new thing for Gers this season, and the manager paid tribute to a number of different parties for their efforts in getting them over the line.
He continued: “They keep going and they keep going. They’re not scared of a challenge and we are going to be facing many more challenges as a group together and nobody wants it more for them than me and these supporters as well.
“We’ll keep working as hard as we can to keep improving and keep trying to get over the challenges that we face.
“Today was a huge hurdle for many reasons – financial obviously – and it has been tough putting this squad together.
“The recruitment deserve a mention as we have built this squad as best we can without spending big money, so the recruitment deserve credit, and I’d just like to finish off on the fans.
“3000 were missing today and I’d like to pay my respects to them as I don’t think they all deserved to miss the game and the 47,000 that were in here made the place absolutely rock at the end.
“I was the proudest man in the house.”