Jermain Defoe has urged dismayed Rangers supporters to keep faith with Steven Gerrard’s ability to restore the Ibrox club as a trophy-winning force in Scottish football.
Gerrard’s first season in charge of Rangers now appears all but certain to end without silverware after their Scottish Cup quarter-final replay defeat at home to Aberdeen on Tuesday night.
Rangers also saw their League Cup hopes ended by Aberdeen at the semi-final stage earlier in a campaign which currently sees them trailing champions Celtic by eight points at the top of the Premiership table with just nine games left to play.
Without a major domestic trophy since 2011, Rangers have invested heavily in the recruitment of Gerrard and the radical overhaul of their first team playing squad he has overseen in the last two transfer windows.
The former Liverpool and England captain has accepted the spotlight will fall on him in the aftermath of Tuesday night’s setback for which he assumed full responsibility. But Defoe, who joined Rangers on a high-profile loan deal from Bournemouth in January, insists Gerrard is laying firm foundations for an exciting and ultimately successful new era for the club.
“The fans are going to be frustrated after Tuesday, just like the players are,” said Defoe who was unable to salvage the tie for Rangers after he was introduced as a substitute with Aberdeen already 2-0 up.
“Rangers is a massive football club with big demands. But in the short space of time I’ve been here, I can say I wouldn’t want to be in any other dressing room. It’s a time for the football club to be excited and the fans should be excited.
“Yes, it’s disappointing after the Aberdeen defeat. But it can take time for things to build. It’s not going to become an unbelievable team overnight. You’ve seen that with the best teams everywhere.
“But if I was a Rangers fan, I’d definitely be excited. It’s a club and a team definitely going places. It ticks every box, it’s an unbelievable environment to be part of and I’ve enjoyed it.
“The manager is a winner. Look at his career and everything he’s won. He’s brave, he’s going to take the blame himself after the Aberdeen defeat. But I’m confident we’re definitely moving forward. I hear everyone at the club talking about it, how desperate we are to get those glory days back, and I don’t think we are too far away.”