STEVEN GERRARD lauded his side’s second half performance as they came from behind to defeat St Johnstone – but admitted he was ‘concerned’ by their first half showing.
Trailing at the break to a Matty Kennedy goal, Alfredo Morelos struck on 66 and 89 minutes to turn the game on its head and set the Light Blues up for two huge games at Ibrox this coming week.
Speaking at full-time to RangersTV, boss Gerrard explained: “They certainly deserve credit for the second half performance. I thought we were much better and I thought we played with purpose and showed bravery, personality and character – the non-negotiables when you wear that Rangers shirt.
“We played like Rangers players in the second half but the performance in the first 45 was really concerning – we were second best all over the pitch and we didn’t have any individual out there who was standing up and doing the shirt justice.
“So you certainly saw the two sides of us today. I’m really worried about the first half showing but delighted with the second.
“I had to have the honest one with them [at half-time], individually and collectively, and I had to tell them exactly what I thought.
“I think you could tell by our crowd’s reaction sending them off – the boos were there and quite rightly so – they were well within their rights to boo even louder as that wasn’t acceptable – that’s not a Rangers team or a Rangers showing first-half.
“In the second half, we played like the real us – we played like a team that wants to push and put ourselves in a really good position for the second half of the season and we played like a team that really fancies getting involved at the top end of the table. In the first-half, that wasn’t there.”
Gerrard introduced Glenn Middleton at half-time and Kyle Lafferty soon afterwards, and the manager was thrilled with what the duo
“We created a lot more second half and I think our subs gave us a bit more. Glenn was excellent and got his assist with a fantastic ball, and Alfredo finishes them off.
“I thought Lafferty was a constant thorn in their side and could have had a couple himself – his goal will come.
“But we played with more purpose in the second half and looked like a proper team and a team that is up there high on the table.
“So we are very pleased with the second half but I was very concerned at half-time and I had to tell them that.”
On goalscorer Morelos, who grabbed goals 18 and 19 of the season, the manager added: “It would be nice if he goes and gets in the 20s, wouldn’t it! I’m sure if he keeps providing the ammunition it will come. I thought he was excellent at Hibs, but he just couldn’t get that goal and that breakthrough as a team.
“But from the first day of the season until now, he has been incredible for us and you have seen the quality today quite clearly with two top-class finishes.”
And on Borna Barisic, who limped off before the break, the manager said: “He will be out until we return after the New Year.”