Steven Gerrard says centre forward place is Jermain Defoe’s to lose

Steven Gerrard has told Jermain Defoe the centre forward shirt is his to lose after seeing him score his seventh goal for the club in this afternoon’s 3-1 win over Hearts.

Rangers Manager Steven Gerrard praised Jermain Defoe's performance. Pic: SNS/Craig Williamson

The result means Celtic, who face Hibs at Easter Road today, cannot win the league this weekend and will have to wait another week at least. Rangers are now eight points behind their rivals, who have played a game less.

Rangers’ target is to run Celtic as hard as they can, including when they come up against each other in their penultimate league game at Ibrox next month.

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Alfredo Morelos will be free of suspension by then – he has one more game to serve of a four-match ban after being sent off in the last Old Firm derby – but Gerrard has warned the Colombian striker it won’t be easy to win back his place in the side.

The on-loan Defoe finished with customary aplomb to set Rangers on their way after 15 minutes yesterday to make to it two goals in his last three appearances.

“He has got the No 9 shirt at the moment, it will be interesting how he performs from now until the end of the season,” said Gerrard.

“It goes for anyone, not just in the No 9 position. I don’t pick on reputation and name. The first six months of the season Alfredo was in that good form it just made sense to bring him back, there wasn’t really anyone challenging for that No 9. There is a challenge there now. There is a player playing with his confidence high, creating chances and scoring goals. That is the way Rangers should be, we should have options in that area – especially this area.”

“The midfield complement each other very well – there is a bit of everything in there,” he added. “You’ve Steven Davis’s quality, his range of passing his experience. You’ve got Glen Kamara who is a steal, an absolute steal for £50,000 (from Dundee).

“I can’t believe we got him, he is going to be an incredible player if he keeps learning and going. [Ryan] Jack has been my most consistent midfielder from the start of the season, I can’t figure out why he doesn’t get more Scotland caps. I can’t understand that.”

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