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‘MONUMENTAL ACHIEVEMENT…WE’RE ON A BIG HIGH,’ ADMITS GERRARD

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RANGERS are on the brink of winning their first title in a decade following the 3-0 victory over St Mirren at Ibrox.

Elated boss Steven Gerrard called for coronavirus restrictions to be respected, but conceded it was normal for emotions to run high as supporters gathered outside the ground to celebrate the inevitability of a momentous triumph while ending 10 years of hurt and pain.

lf Celtic fail to beat Dundee United at Tannadice in the High Noon shoot-out today, the crown will move from the east end of Glasgow, where it has resided for nine years, to Govan after Gerrard’s side’s remarkable success.

They coasted to a win over the Paisley outfit with quickfire first-half strikes from Ryan Kent and Alfredo Morelos while Ianis Hagi added a third early in the second-half to open up a massive 21-points gap at the Premiership pinnacle.

NUMBER ONE…Rangers players celebrate the opening goal from Ryan Kent.

NUMBER TWO…Alfredo Morelos races away in joy.

NUMBER THREE…Ianis Hagi celebrates with Glenn Kamara.

Players and staff celebrated the victory at full-time with supporters who had congregated outside the ground before kick-off. The group of fans drawing criticism from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Government for breaching lockdown rules.

Gerrard acknowledged the importance of the safety of the club’s followers and said: “I have got to let the players enjoy this. It’s been a journey of ups and downs. I’ve only been part of it for three years, but for the past 10 years these fans, ex-players, staff have been through everything. It’s only normal that people want to enjoy themselves.

“The priority is that people stay safe and respect the guidelines and rules, but there is another side where you have to realise what these people have been through. I’m absolutely delighted to be in this position, now we’ve got to go and finish the job off.

“This is an emotional time. You’ve got to remember these fans are still buying season tickets, passes to RangersTV, memorabilia – they love the club, the club is their life. The players have to respect that, and you cannot turn a blind eye to or disrespect that.

“I totally understand why the players wanted to go to the corner, but at the same time the priority is the fans’ safety. We want to remain humble and continue to focus on what’s left this season and keep doing well, but you’ve got to realise that when you are inside this, it’s only normal that people will get emotional.”

WATCHFUL EYE…Steven Gerrard views the action from the Ibrox stand.

All eyes are now on Tannadice and Gerrard, speaking to Sky Sports News, continued: “We will see what happens, it’s out of our control.

“I can only control the future games and now I will prepare the team for Europe, where we have a big incentive to get into the last eight.

“But we want to let this soak and settle in, we’re on a big high because we know we are 99.9 per cent there, and that is an incredible place to be in. This is a monumental achievement, what the players are about to achieve.

“We will recover tomorrow at the training base, have lunch together and I am sure the game will be on in the background, though we haven’t planned that.

“We will see what happens, the priority now is to recover ahead of a huge game against Slavia Prague on Thursday, but it is tough to keep control of a group of players who are on cloud nine.”

IN THE PICTURE…Steven Gerrard celebrates with the fans from a window.

IN THE PICTURE…Alfredo Morelos catches the supporters’ joy on film.

Reflecting on the game against the Saints side who knocked them out of the Betfred League Cup earlier in the campaign, Gerrard added: “It was a really good performance, really mature, really controlled.

“Coming into the stadium, there were a lot of fans about and that can take you to an emotional place and you can take your eye off the ball, but credit to the players, they stuck to the plan.

“We were deserved winners, had more chances to score more, but were in control from start to finish, scored three wonderful goals and thoroughly deserved our victory.

“In terms of the league at home, we’ve been perfect. Not every performance has been perfect, but it has in terms of results. The players deserve a lot of credit for keeping their focus and trying to stay humble.

“There is still a lot to play for, the league is all but done, but we will try to finish the season as strong as we can until the end, there will be no letting up. It’s my job to make sure the players are ready for every game.”

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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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