STEVEN GERRARD was fulsome in his praise of his Rangers players as they rounded off pre-season by defeating Derby County at Ibrox this afternoon.

The Rams, who begin their Championship season next week and will be targeting Premier League promotion, may only have lost 1-0, but they were dominated by Gers for large spells and were fortunate not to lose by a bigger margin.

Gerrard was extremely pleased with his side’s efforts, and told RangersTV: “I think from around about the 20th minute, I thought we were really good today. We finished the first half really strongly and then carried it into the second half.

“I think if you look at the whole 90 minutes, Wes [Foderingham] hasn’t been troubled at all and on another day, we could have had five or six goals.

“I thought we were the better of the two teams, and certainly deserved the win. That puts us in a real, good position and good shape going into next week when it gets going for real.

“They [Derby] have a coaching staff which have won leagues in Holland and they have quality throughout the team – [Martyn] Waghorn is worth £9million and their goalkeeper is a top-level goalkeeper – they have quality throughout the team and they have quality that was coming off the bench.

“The players have done themselves proud today and put in a really good performance. It was us who looked the stronger of the two teams considering we are both a week out.”

The victory brings the pre-season period to a close for Gers ahead of them traveling to face Kilmarnock at Rugby Park next Sunday in the opening match of the Scottish Premiership.

On pre-season, Gerrard continued: “We’ve had one bump which was a goal we conceded against Blackburn, and besides that, we have had a perfect pre-season.

“But you get nothing for that – pre-season is about working hard, getting yourself fit and sharing the minutes out so everyone can get themselves in tip-top shape.

“Now, that all stops and we pick players who we believe are the best to get the job done and everyone should be fighting for shirts at a big club.

“The players have got a week now to reflect on pre-season and get themselves geared up for everything which is coming our way.

“With all-due respect, some of the games we put in place were to get fitness, minutes and to get the cobwebs off.

“But we bring the likes of Blackburn, Marseille and Derby here for a real, strong test and that is what they have given us.

“We have proved against those three teams that we are more-than a match, if not more.

“I am really pleased with how pre-season has gone and I am really satisfied with the place we are in going into the league season.

“Now, we have got to go and get into the next round in Europe and we have got to go and put in such a strong performance away at Kilmarnock and try to get maximum points there.”


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