STEVEN GERRARD was ‘delighted’ as Rangers opened-up the second half of the Scottish Premiership season with victory over St Mirren tonight.

The Ibrox gaffer watched-on as Jermain Defoe’s first-half strike proved to be the difference between the sides.

And, while he concedes there may be a level of frustration at not going on to keep the scoreboard ticking over, he was thrilled with what his back-line produced to ensure Saints created very little on the night.

He told RangersTV: “I thought defensively we were excellent. I understand supporters and even some of my players expect us to win more comfortably, and are probably a little bit frustrated that we never got the second goal and the third goal – I get that.

“But, I am delighted. It’s another win, it’s a clean sheet and it moves us closer to where we want to be.

“Look, over the course of a season, if we manage to go on and make it successful, every game isn’t going to be perfect.

“It’s about winning and finding a way – and again we have done that.

“It’s another clean sheet and I thought Connor [Goldson] and Niko [Katic] were excellent. I thought Jon [Flanagan] was steady and Borna [Barisic] kept asking questions from the left.

“So in terms of a back five, I am delighted and I thought they got protection for the majority of the game from the midfield three in front.

“Of course, we could maybe have created a little bit more or killed the game off at the end when we have had some real, decent half-chances, but it wasn’t to be.

“The main thing is we have got over the line. I was really pleased with Sheyi [Ojo’s] cameo – that’s the most positive I have seen him for quite some time so hopefully he is going to kick back into a bit of form as we are going to need him, and he is going to help us.”

The winning goal was classic Defoe, and Gerrard continued: “It’s the reason why I brought him in, and it’s the reason why he has scored so many goals. He is a predator, he is a box player and that’s two in two from him in the last two games.

“We’ll rest him up and have him ready for Hearts as he has been to Hearts before and scored goals.

“Let’s hope he can do the same at the weekend.”

And, looking ahead to that Tynecastle test, the manager added: “I think you have a manager who is trying to implement more of a footballing team. Hearts are trying to play out and they are also trying to press and be aggressive.

“We will analyse them some more in the coming days, but we do expect a different type of challenge – same personnel, same environment, but we are expecting something different as it is a different manager with his own ways.

“It will be a tough game, a tough challenge but one we will be ready for come kick-off.”

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