STEVEN GERRARD could not have been more proud of his players after they battled with just nine men to progress to the group stage of the Europa League.

Against a tricky Ufa side on their home patch, the Light Blues showed their fighting spirit and defensive qualities to draw 1-1 on the night and win 2-1 on aggregate and the manager, speaking to RangersTV, believes it was a big moment for the club.

He said: “It feels good. I think it’s what we deserve and tonight we became a team and we’ve relaunched Rangers because I feel like we have achieved something together.

“But I can’t stand here and take any credit. It has got to be about the players, it’s got to be about the whole squad, bur particularly tonight it’s got to be about nine men who absolutely rolled their sleeves up and gave me everything.

What I saw tonight for a long period of the game is what it is about to be a Rangers player and what it should be about, which is you basically give your body and soul for this football club. My players did that tonight.

“They are tired and they are drained, but they are happy and they deserve to be happy. Tonight it’s about enjoying the moment and remembering this moment because we can always come back to this now and say, remember when it was backs against the wall, remember when it was tough and we stuck together and look what we achieved. I think this is a big moment for the club today.”

Rangers got off to the perfect start this evening when Ovie Ejaria scored a stunning goal to put his side 2-0 up on aggregate, and Gerrard praised the midfielder in his post-match interview.

He continued: “Ovie’s goal was sensational. I think his last four performances he has become a man and he is performing at a high level.

“He has been really good since he came through the door but he’s getting better and better and he’s growing. He’s doing the other side of the game very well.

I thought eleven v eleven we looked very dangerous, we took the lead and we were in control.

“I spoke to the players before the game about being disciplined and trying to keep eleven on the pitch. Obviously you don’t get away with what you get away with domestically here in Europe. The referees are card happy so we’ve got ourselves to blame.

“I’m sure the players are a little bit down that got sent off today and I’m sure they’ll apologise to their teammates and we move on together.

“But tonight is a big night for the players and we’re very proud as a staff, but the players need to take all the credit for this.”

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