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GERRARD CHALLENGES PLAYERS

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STEVEN GERRARD will demand an improvement from His Rangers players when they take on Aberdeen at Pittodrie tomorrow night.

The Ibrox boss has yet to see his team win against Derek McInnes’ men this season after three previous encounters.

They earned a point in the 1-1 draw at the same venue in the opening day of the Premiership season in August, but lost 1-0 in the Betfred League Cup semi-final at Hampden in November when Lewis Ferguson powered in a late header.

And an early goal from Scott McKenna handed the Dons the points in an identical scoreline when the clubs met again at Ibrox the following month.

Now Gerrard has challenged his players to raise their game and keep up the pace at the top of the Premiership where they are currently six points adrift of Celtic, but two ahead of Derek McInnes’ side.

A MAN FOR ALL REASONS…Jermain Defoe gives Rangers options.

The Light Blues saw off St Mirren in Glasgow at the weekend where referee Andrew Dallas awarded them FOUR penalty-kicks in their 4-0 win over the rock-bottom Paisley outfit.

Liverpool legend Gerrard said: “We will have to be better against Aberdeen, certainly than the first-half against St Mirren.

“In possession, we looked quite dangerous, but we didn’t look like we had any aggression or intensity out of possession.

“I thought that improved second-half, but there is no getting away from it, we will have to be better out of possession against Aberdeen for the full game.

“I think I am seeing signs of them getting a bit fitter and a bit sharper. You could see Jermain Defoe, certainly in the second-half, was looking sharp and a big threat and the keeper made a few good saves from him.

“We did know it would take the new boys three or four weeks to get them up to speed. It is a similar situation now with Glen Kamara and Matt Polster, we will push them, they are doing a double session today to try and add more volume into them.”

Gerrard handed Ibrox debuts to January recruits Steven Davis and Defoe against the Saints as he switched formations once again.

But now he faces a selection dilemma ahead of tomorrow night’s encounter.

HELLO AGAIN…Steven Davis who made his second Ibrox debut against St Mirren on Saturday. Pics: Geo.

The Govan gaffer added: “I don’t think the diamond worked again at the weekend, but I don’t think any system is going to work if you don’t have that intensity or aggression in your play.

“I felt when we went to a four-four-two in the second-half we looked a lot better, we had a bit more balance and Ryan Kent certainly looked more dangerous out on the left.

“You learn all the time with players individually and collectively, but certainly having Jermain around does give us more of a threat and gives us the chance to play two forwards on the pitch, which is what we’re going to need at times.

“It is my job to keep oppositions guessing. There was times when we played the four-three-three system before the winter break where we were looking like we needed more of a threat on the pitch.”

* Gerrard was speaking to Rangers TV.

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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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