RANGERS opened the game tonight with “a speed and an intensity Hibs couldn’t deal with” – according to boss Steven Gerrard.
The Light Blues were superb at Easter Road this evening to record their first victory here in two years – and Gerrard was largely thrilled with what his side produced.
He told RangersTV: “I think the first 60-65 minutes until the red card, we were outstanding and had too much quality.
“We played at a speed and an intensity that Hibs couldn’t deal with. I think our back seven were really strong tonight and that gave us the platform to go and create and for the front three to be so dangerous.
“They are the ones that will get the headlines and rightly so, but let’s not forget the back seven that gave us a real strong base tonight, and again, it is another solid, strong away performance – I am really pleased with our away form.
“You get out of this game what you deserve and Joe [Aribo] chasing a lost-cause down shows what he is all about.
“He’s not just a fantastic technical player – he’s got grit and he’s got desire, and we got our reward and got a fantastic start.
“Then we went and built on that really quickly. The finish from Ryan for the first one is tougher than it looks, so I am very pleased for him, and then the second goal was all about Ryan Jack and Joe.
“It was a fantastic goal – a good team goal and that gave us a bigger lead which was nice.”
Gerrard was asked if the team had learned a lesson from the Aberdeen match a fortnight ago, where they had a 2-0 lead but ended up drawing 2-2.
“Yes I think so,” he continued. “We had to come out in the second half with a better attitude and keep doing what we were doing – resetting ourselves before carrying the gameplan out.
“The third goal is all about top forward play – we all know [Jermain Defoe’s] age and we all know he’s not going to be around for many more years, but you have to admire that goal.
“The first touch is top, the second touch is world-class and the finish is all about a top striker.”
Gers’ last two matches here ended in draws despite strong performances from the visitors – and Gerrard continued: “What we showed today is we were clinical and ruthless. I think our previous two games here, the performance was there but we didn’t reward ourselves for the good play and we missed too many chances.
“That’s the reason why I went out and added more firepower in the final third because I knew coming to places like this you need people who can put the ball in the back of the net and today we got three goals.
“I’m disappointed in the last 30 that we didn’t go and find more, but if you’ve been around the game for a long time, sometimes it becomes tough and it is natural that we are going to slow down and they are going to get a lot of bodies behind the ball, and it becomes a bit of a non-contest.”
Gerrard was also able to get Ryan Kent, Joe Aribo and Ryan Jack off late-on, and he added: “The lads who I have taken off – Kent, Aribo and Jacko, they have gone a lot of minutes, certainly of late – a lot of Europa League football and domestic football, so it was nice to just give them some oxygen and give some of the people an opportunity.
“Now we have got a couple of down-days and six-days to prepare for Kilmarnock which we know what that will all be about.”