“OUTSTANDING” was Steven Gerrard’s description of Borna Barisic’s free-kick winner at St Mirren this afternoon as Rangers maintained their 100 per-cent start to the season.
The Croatian netted his first goal for the club on 59 minutes in some style, pinging the ball into the top corner with a stunning 25-yard effort.
Gerrard was thrilled with the goal when he spoke afterwards to RangersTV, explaining: “I thought it was an outstanding set-piece. The technique, the quality – I’ve seen it in training quite a few times and it is very nice to see it in a game to go and get his teammates three important points on the back of a European game.
“It was 26/27 degrees with a dry pitch and you are faced with a challenge of beating the block – it is tough.
“If you have played the game, you know that’s a tough challenge but I thought the players in the main were very good.
“We faced the challenge and we tried to probe and make things happen, I would have liked a little bit more quality in the final third – but if you can’t do it in general play, you need people to step up and produce magic, and that is what Borna has done.
“We are going to face that [low block] a lot. Sometimes you get the breakthrough early doors and the whole outcome of the game changes, but the longer it goes on, the challenge becomes more difficult and the St Mirren players get more belief that they can get over the line and try to take an important point from you.
“But, I have to credit the players for staying with it and keeping on probing and keeping the tempo on the ball.
“We managed to create two or three other good chances as well as the free-kick – JD [Jermain Defoe] could have maybe scored early-on and he had one from a tight angle as well.
“There were a few shots from distance but, sometimes you’ve got to get over the line in any way, shape or form and it has taken a magical set-piece today.
“So I am pleased for Borna – he deserves all the credit coming his way now.”
Despite perhaps not creating just as many chances as they have in recent times, the Light Blues were still able to exert some serious control over proceedings.
On that, the manager added: “That is what we are looking for. I think St Mirren gave the ball up to us today, so it was quite easy getting into the final third.
“But, then you are faced with a team that is trying to get a lot of men behind the ball and were working so hard to stay in the game and while they have got a point to fight for, they are going to continue to fight.
“So it was a tough challenge on a tough, sticky day. But, the only slight criticism I’d have today is I’d like to manage the last 10 minutes a little bit better when we go 1-0 up, slow the game down in a different way by staying on the ball, keeping the ball and they have had a couple of moments late-on with a couple of counter-attacks that were difficult to watch from the bench.
“But, in the main, I am delighted with the three points. It’s three wins from three, and it sets us up for a big week.”