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GERRARD BLAMES ‘GIFTS’ FOR LOSS

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STEVEN GERRARD insisted his change of tactics was NOT to blame for Rangers’ 2-1 defeat against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park last night.

Instead, the Ibrox boss pointed the finger at two of his players – Joe Worrell and Ryan Kent – for gifting the ball at crucial moments that led to the loss of two goals.

Gerrard ditched the 4-3-3 system that helped defeat Celtic last month as he found places in his line-up for new signings Jermain Defoe and Steven Davis.

The 36-year-old former England striker, on loan from Bournemouth, claimed a debut strike in the 12th minute, but Steve Clarke’s men fought back to move two points clear of the Gers in second place in the Premiership.

The Liverpool legend said: “There was a temptation to keep the same team that beat Celtic, but then if we lost having done that the accusation would have been that we were predictable given they had so much time to work on it.

“People will look at the formation and personnel and blame me, which they can, that’s no problem.

“But if we don’t give Kilmarnock two gifts we win the game and people would be saying well done for changing the system.

“That’s football.”

BOY BLUE…Jermain Defoe ended on the losing side on his debut. Pic: Geo.

On-loan Nottingham Forest defender Worrall blundered to present Eamonn Brophy the leveller just eight minutes after Defoe’s opener.

The Killie forward robbed the centre-half of possession before firing past the exposed Allan McGregor.

Gerrard said: “He’s put his hand up for the mistake, but we have enough experience out there to react positively from a mistake.

“The worry and the concern was that it had an effect on the 11 until half-time.

“Then we weren’t even able to reset and go again. We just didn’t turn up in the second-half.”

Ibrox-bound Jordan Jones followed up a loose crossfield pass from Kent to thump in the winner in the 66th minute and boss Steve Clarke praised the winger.

He said: “Jordan showed he’s a big player for us. He got the move to Rangers that he wanted, but he can be a big player for us in the second-half of the season.

“It’s nice to see him get a goal as he goes on that run often and it doesn’t always end with a goal.

“Sometimes fans get excited when things like this happen. I know Jordan well and the qualities he has.

“He’s been great for the club for two-and-a-half seasons and I look forward to him being great for this club until the end of the season.”

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Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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