STEVEN GERRARD has admitted that his side – as a team and individually – were well below their best in today’s Old Firm league clash at Ibrox.
The Light Blues suffered a 2-0 defeat to their Glasgow rivals in the first derby meeting of the season, and Gerrard was honest in his assessment of Rangers’ display after the final whistle.
Speaking to RangersTV, he said: “I’m not pleased with the performance at all. I thought across the board we were not good enough today as a team. Individually we were not good enough either – only Jon Flanagan can be proud of his performance.
“But look, we take the responsibility and we take the criticism as a group, so I’m part of that. We’ll have to take everything that is coming our way, take it on the chin and move on as quick as we can.”
The manager revealed what he said to his players in the dressing room post-match. “I just said, look, we’ve done extremely well to get into this position – to get neck and neck before a ball is kicked. But you have got to go out and perform well in an Old Firm and you’ve got to win your one v ones.
“You’ve got to put in a performance that deserves to win the game. If you can’t win it, don’t lose it. But we weren’t good enough today and we got what we deserved.”
Gerrard was frustrated with the first goal conceded, with Odsonne Edouard making the most of slack defending to put the visitors 1-0 up on 32 minutes.
He said: “If you get outplayed or someone does something that is wonderfully magic to play through you, sometimes you’ve got to hold your hand up, but it is bitterly disappointing that we have gifted them a goal and gifted them a lead in a big game.
The idea was to get a stranglehold early on and then, as the game went on, get stronger and try and win it. But to go a goal down went against everything we were trying to do.
“I don’t think we’ve been outplayed or outclassed, but Celtic were very effective in what they did. We couldn’t handle their direct play at times, but the reality is, if you want to beat a good team, you need more than one player at it.
“But I don’t think it was a 2-0 game. Obviously you concede late on chasing it, but the job becomes a lot more harder if you gift goals away, especially against good teams and good players.”
Jordan Jones’ received a straight red card in injury time for a challenge on Celtic substitute Moritz Bauer and his gaffer believes it was the correct decision from referee Bobby Madden.
“It was a red card for sure, no complaints,” he said. “I don’t know what is going through Jordan’s head there.
“You don’t get fans on your side by doing immature stuff like that, you do it by creating and scoring goals and that’s what we want from Jordan Jones, not tackles like that that are way late.
“But we now have to take some criticism that is going to come our way and rightly so. We will stand up and be man enough to take that.
“When we analyse it properly we are four points better off than we were last year and we are still in the League Cup. We’ve qualified for Europe so there are a lot of positives, but right now it doesn’t feel like it.”