STEVEN GERRARD believes his Rangers side will be fired up for Sunday’s Premiership match against Livingston after the incredible high of beating Porto in the UEFA Europa League at Ibrox last night.
The Light Blues have now won four games on the bounce ahead of this weekend’s fixture – scoring 11 goals and conceding one – but the manager is aware of the threat from Gary Holt’s side on their home patch.
Gerrard, speaking at today’s press conference at the Hummel Training Centre, said: “It will be different, the challenge will be different, but we want the same outcome [as Thursday night].
“Obviously it is a different competition but again it is three very important points. Of course, it will come with different challenges i.e. the environment, the surface and the style that we are going to face.
“But that’s my job, to try and get the boys ready, get them recovered and, if I feel it is needed, to try and freshen it up in certain places to make sure that we are ready to come out and start the game very well.
We’ve got to accept the challenges that are coming our way and sometimes our style, we have to adapt it from game to game.
“As I say the games are so different, the contrast is so different. Going away to Livingston, with all due respect, is different from going away to Porto or going away to Ross County or Hearts.
“So we have to be ready for whatever is coming our way and we all know if the game pans out pretty similar to the one a few weeks ago, it is going to be a physical challenge.
“We had to have our physio on for three head injuries in the first 20 minutes, so we have got a good idea what is coming our way and we have to be ready for that challenge.”
Livingston have won just one of their last nine competitive fixtures – at home in the Premiership to Celtic on October 6 – but Gerrard isn’t looking at that too much as he prepares his team for Sunday’s league showdown.
He said: “Form goes out the window against Rangers, whatever the challenge. Teams can lose three or four on the spin but Rangers coming into town is a different carrot for them.
“I’m not saying teams raise their game, but when an Old Firm team comes in you can see the excitement, the crowds are bigger and TV is there, so it’s a different carrot for opposition players.”
When asked how his players will adapt to facing Livingston after taking on a European opponent in Porto, Gerrard said: “If you operate in the top positions in this league I don’t think there is a bigger contrast in styles and in levels if you like.
In terms of switching from one competition to the next, that was probably the biggest eye opener from last season. One of the biggest lessons we had to learn is to switch your focus pretty quickly no matter what the result is – whether it is a high or a low.
“Get over it as quick as you can and move on to the next challenge. We’ve done that a lot better so far this season but Sunday will again be a challenge.”
The manager also gave an injury update on his squad, saying: “We are okay. We’ve had a recovery day today away from here, just for a change of scenery to freshen it up.
“I think after last night it’s important for everyone to get a bit of calm today and recover and really try and tune in and focus on the next challenge. But thankfully we’ve come out of last night’s game without too many big problems.
“We’ve got a few little small issues but I’m comfortable we’ll overcome them by Sunday.”