“THAT was the Rangers we want back on a consistent basis” was Steven Gerrard’s take as his Rangers side produced a remarkable Ibrox comeback to defeat Braga in the Europa League tonight.
Trailing 2-0 with 23 minutes left, a Ianis Hagi double and a super solo goal from Joe Aribo means the Light Blues will take a lead to Portugal for Wednesday afternoon’s second leg.
The manager was thrilled when he spoke with Rangers Media at full-time and explained: “That is what Ibrox deserves and that is what this club deserves – big European nights, and it is all credit to the players.
“To a man, second-half, and in parts in the first-half, we were outstanding tonight. We got a lot wrong in the first-half in-terms of our shape and being a little bit loose in possession and being a little bit negative in our play.
“But, at 2-0 down, everyone thought we were down and out, but this team roll their sleeves up and showed immense character to get back into the game against a fantastic team.
“Look, for six months these boys were absolutely superb, and for whatever reason, we have lost our mojo a bit in the last few weeks.
“But everyone is pulling and pushing, nobody is feeling sorry for themselves and everyone is working extremely hard to get the consistency back and get our mojo and our spark back.
“From tonight, whatever it was, there were positive substitutions and people rolled their sleeves up, dug-in and stuck together. That was the Rangers we want back on a consistent basis as at times tonight, we were unstoppable.”
Hagi’s first sparked-off an incredible revival for the Light Blues, and Gerrard was ecstatic with the Romanian’s performance in front of his father, Gheorghe.
“His Dad was here, and he deserves all the headlines tonight,” continued the boss. “His first goal, he cuts in from the left and it’s a fantastic strike with power. People are asking me, is he right or left footed? I don’t know!
“That is credit to him as he has been schooled and coached since he was a young boy and he is comfortable on either side.
“He gets a bit of luck with the second one, but I think his second half performance certainly deserved it.”
Gerrard was asked finally about next week’s second leg – but he was more keen to discuss Gers’ trip to St Johnstone in the Scottish Premiership on Sunday.
He added: “We don’t – it’s gone until next Wednesday and there is nothing we can do. It is all about recovery and getting ready and being fresh for a tough league game away from home and I’m sure the pitch will be difficult there.
“We need to carry on from where we’ve left off tonight. It is about carrying on the second half performance and we will worry about Portugal when we land.”