Rangers boss ready to pair Defoe with Morelos for title push

Steven Gerrard believes the arrival of Jermain Defoe will allow him to keep rival bosses guessing in the second half of the campaign even if his blue-chip signing made a quiet start to his Rangers career yesterday.

Jermain Defoe in action for Rangers. Picture: SNS
Jermain Defoe in action for Rangers. Picture: SNS

Gerrard paired Defoe with Alfredo Morelos in a new system in the first half yesterday and is ready to make the partnership permanent as Rangers seek to challenge Celtic for the Premiership crown.

The veteran striker got into good areas but his finishing was a bit rusty as Rangers got much-needed match action ahead of Wednesday’s Premiership restart after last Friday’s Scottish Cup tie at Cowdenbeath was postponed.

Gerrard said: “It looks dangerous – they are two good players. They seem to like playing together. Having Jermain here gives us that option, and having Kyle Lafferty as well.

“It gives us the opportunity to play a different system if we want to. We can play 3-5-2 or a diamond in midfield or 4-4-2. It gives me and the staff more options to keep opposition teams guessing. The early signs are really positive.

“We have obviously had to adapt the original plan which was to go strong against Cowdenbeath on Friday night. We were going to use the lads who didn’t get minutes at Cowdenbeath and have a look at some of the younger lads as well.

“With the game being called off, we decided Saturday’s training session and the first 45 minutes here were important to get minutes into the lads’ legs.

“It’s actually been very beneficial that the friendly was in place. I was pleased with the performance in the first half. When we had the ball, I thought we looked very dangerous going forward. Having two forwards on the pitch allowed us to cause them problems. We created more chances to score.

“I was disappointed with us out of possession. I thought we were at testimonial pace, not going into tackles with the intensity we showed here three weeks ago. But I’m not going to criticise the players because they had a strong session on Saturday.”

Rangers were ahead through Scott Arfield, set up by Morelos, in 28 minutes and then again through a Nikola Katic header in 53 minutes but on each occasion they allowed the Finnish champions to level.

However, Daniel Candeias gave the 21,224 crowd a winner with a left-foot strike in 75 minutes against the Finnish champions, who came to Glasgow as part of the Morelos transfer 18 months ago.

Gerrard, who confirmed Canadian goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic is on a week’s trial, rubbished claims by Cowdenbeath chairman Donald Findlay that kitman Jimmy Bell was behind the postponement in Fife.

He said: “Jimmy actually wanted the game on. He was thinking he’d have to carry all the kit back in ten days’ time. It was Jimmy’s car on the pitch with the engine on trying to thaw the bit of ice out!”

“I don’t think Jimmy is capable of getting a game called off. He is more concerned that he’s got to work an extra night. I don’t think Jimmy had anything to do with it but he does like getting his picture in the paper so that might be what he’s tried to do.”