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‘WE DESERVE A LOT OF PRAISE,’ GERRARD

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DELIGHTED Rangers manager Steven Gerrard enjoyed his second successive Ibrox triumph over Celtic this afternoon.

And the rookie gaffer admitted his team no longer fear the eight-in-a-row champions after goals from James Tavernier and Scott Arfield brought them a deserve 2-0 victory.

Gerrard insisted his players now have the “confidence and belief” to put more pressure on the Parkhead outfit in the new campaign.

The jubilant Govan gaffer, speaking to BBC, said: “We haven’t lost the league on Old Firm results or performances.

“We know what we need to do. They [Celtic] are the team that’s won the league, won the [League] Cup, probably about to win another Cup. We have to show respect as that’s what football’s all about.

“This season coming to an end comes at a bad time for us because we’re in good shape. We need next season to be big and everyone has got to be part of that.”

Gerrard has team fail to win silverware, but said: “We’ve added quality and we’ve evolved with the players we have. We’re a better team now.

“We have to realise where we are. We haven’t won anything yet. But there’s a lot of positives to take from the season, there’s a lot of progress made.

“Going into next season I’m not inheriting a team that’s hurt or broken or has got a fear against Celtic. I’m walking in the door in the summer with a good team and, hopefully, we can add some good additions to that and be even better.

“There’s confidence there and belief there which goes a long way in football.”

Gerrard also saw his team beat their Glasgow rivals 1-0 in December when Scott Ryan scored and his side dominated for most of the 90 minutes.

They lost 1-0 in September and 2-1 in March at Parkhead, but,, looking at this afternoon’s performance, he added: “It’s an important victory, not so much for now, but for moving forward.

“We deserve a lot of praise because we were outstanding from start to finish, and we were better in every department.”

Beaten Hoops interim manager Neil Lennon admitted his side had lost to the better team who wanted it more.

It was the Irishman’s first defeat in 12 games since returning to the club in February following Brendan Rodgers’ departure for Leicester City.

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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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