Rangers manager Steven Gerrard heaped praise on his players as they moved to the top of their Europa League group with a victory he believes had echoes of the club’s greatest nights at Ibrox in continental competition.
Alfredo Morelos scored twice, either side of a James Tavernier penalty kick, as Rangers came from behind to beat Rapid Vienna 3-1 in their first home group stage fixture in Europe for eight years.
The result made it ten games unbeaten in Europe this season and Rangers are a point clear in Group G after rivals Villarreal and Spartak Moscow drew 3-3 in Russia. Rangers face Spartak at Ibrox on matchday three later this month.
“It was an incredible night,” said a visibly enthused Gerrard. “We should have won the game 3-0. Every single player was outstanding.
“That’s the level of performance I’ve been looking for since I came in. That’s a Rangers performance of old. The challenge now is can we find it more consistently. That’s the best 90 minutes we’ve given and we have beaten a very good team. Rapid had good ideas, good players and good philosophy.
“It was a response [to Sunday’s defeat at Livingston] and more, a reaction and more. Our supporters’ performance brought the best out of the players and my players’ performance brought the best out of the fans.
“I felt for the players going 1-0 down. There was a blatant foul in the build-up to Rapid’s goal and it was offside as well.
“The impressive thing was my players didn’t feel sorry for themselves. They showed character, scored a fantastic equaliser quickly.”
Gerrard had special words for Morelos, who delivered one of his most effective displays yet. “He was excellent, a handful all night,” said Gerrard. “Out of possession, he ran his socks off. He was a great focal point for us.
“At this level, you don’t get as many chances as we maybe create domestically. When he did get his opportunities, he was clinical. Andy Halliday was telling him it was a good job he scored his second because Andy was in for a tap-in!
“But that’s the confidence of where Alfredo is and the reason he in the frame for Colombia now at international level.”