STEVEN GERRARD is backing Josh Windass to overcome criticism from the Ibrox terracings and prove his worth to the new-look Rangers.
The midfielder was replaced in Thursday’s 2-0 Europa League win over Shkupi – and youngster Glenn Middleton was welcomed onto the pitch by rapturous applause.
Gerrard has now challenged Windass, 24, a Mark Warburton signing from Accrington Stanley in 2015, to respond to the pressure.
The rookie boss said: “He’ll deal with it because he’s a strong lad – and the only way to win over supporters is by scoring.
“Josh worked his socks off in the game and could easily have had a couple of goals. He will play in different positions – I’ve told all the players that.
“We’ll play different systems and formations. And if we feel Josh is the best man for a certain role then he’ll play.
“In terms of the reaction, we all know what’s going to come. That’s what you sign up for at a club as big as Rangers.
“The fans love it. They’re desperate for goals, to be entertained and win. So are we. We all feel it on the sidelines, as well.
“But the supporters will have gone home on Thursday night feeling exactly like me – pleased with a lot of it, but feeling we should have won by more.
“I’ve only known Josh for three-and-a-half weeks. I’m still trying to work out the character of not just him, but all the players at Rangers.
“We’re still getting used to each other and are building relationships. What I will say is that he has applied himself really well since day one.”
Looking ahead to the second leg in Macedonia, Gerrard added: “I’m confident we can go over there on Tuesday and score a goal.
“We don’t have to do it in the first two minutes, so we won’t be going gung-ho.
“They’re the team who have to make the decision to play differently from Thursday night.
“If they camp in their own half for 90 per cent of the game, it restricts them from getting chances on our goal.
“I’m sure they’ll have a different approach and when they take risks we have to be there to punish them.”