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GERRARD INSISTS FRINGE PLAYERS BLEW IT

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STEVEN GERRARD admitted Rangers were “sloppy” and some of his fringe players failed to impress him during their 3-1 Scottish Cup win over Cowdenbeath at frozen Central Park last night.

The Ibrox side cemented a place in the the fifth round against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park, but the Gers gaffer slammed their second-half performance against the fourth-tier Fifers.

Gerrard’s team led 3-0 at the interval through goals from skipper Andy Halliday, Lassana Coulibaly and Kyle Lafferty.

However, David Cox netted from a penalty rebound early after the turnaround and the battling home side also had an effort ruled it out for offside.

The Govan side’s manager, who made eight changes from the side that won at Livingston at the weekend, said: “Some people took the chance tonight, some people didn’t.

“I won’t name any names, but that’s what tonight was about. I made a lot of changes and it was an opportunity to impress, to make a name for yourself and show you want to be involved going forward,

“There was some positive performances and I was disappointed with a couple of players. But we’ve come through healthy and those are the two main things.

“Credit to Cowdenbeath, they played a game for 90 minutes. We played for 45, but got the job done. I’m just pleased to get through.

IN WITH A SHOUT…Kyle Lafferty took the opportunity to impress manager Steven Gerrard. Pic: Geo.

“I had the chance to rest certain people for the weekend and fixtures coming up. I thought it was a professional job. I was pleased with the first-half, not so pleased with the second-half.

“I thought we got sloppy and complacent. We were nervy at times and gave them opportunities where we may have been punished on a different night.

“We gifted them a penalty and had a few edgy moments. Their penalty was a foul, but whether it was in or out of the box I don’t know.

“But it should have been retaken because the guy who scored was a yard inside the box. No complaints, obviously. I would have had complaints if it affected our progression. But it hasn’t.

“For me, in these fixtures you have to play properly. You can’t take your foot off the gas and get complacent. If you do that, any player can hurt you. We didn’t do it properly in the second-half.”

Lafferty netted his first goal since September after his team boss urged him to show a response to being axed from the squad at Livi.

Gerrard said: “Kyle needed that goal. I thought he was lively at times. He played at a left forward in the first-half, moved closer to Jermain Defoe in the second-half. His performance was a positive.”

The Ibrox gaffer revealed Jordan Rossiter is on the verge of a loan move to Bury, but added: “There will be no ins. We are happy and satisfied with what we have.

“I can’t see it unless something crazy happens.

“Regarding outs, Jordan is very close to joining Bury. He has been down there all day and it is 99 per cent done.”

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Editor

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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