‘Sloppy and complacent’ after the break says Rangers manager Gerrard

Steven Gerrard drew the positives after a professional first-half performance against Cowdenbeath helped Rangers advance to a fifth-round meeting away at Kilmarnock, writes Alan Pattullo at ?Central Park.

Rangers striker Kyle Lafferty celebrates with Jermain Defoe after scoring his sides third goal. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA

A team showing eight changes from Sunday’s 3-0 win at Livingston raced into a 3-0 lead by half-time at a freezing Central Park last night. One of the scorers was Kyle Lafferty, who Gerrard had challenged to prove he should be in the side on a regular basis. It is only the Northern Irishman’s fourth goal since signing from Hearts in August. Gerrard warned that not everyone had taken the chance to impress him.

“There were some positive performances and I was disappointed with a couple of players tonight,” he said.

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“I won’t name any names but that’s what tonight was about. I made a lot of changes and it was an opportunity to impress, to make a name for yourself and show you want to be involved going forward. Some people took the chance tonight, some people didn’t.

“I’m just pleased to get through,” he added. “We’ve come through healthy and those are the two main things. I had the chance to rest certain people for the weekend and fixtures coming up.

“I thought it was a professional job. I was pleased with the first half, not so pleased with the second. We got sloppy and complacent. We were nervy at times and gave them opportunities where we may have been punished on a different night. Credit to Cowdenbeath, they played a game for 90 minutes. We played for 45. But got the job done.”

Gerrard revealed that Jordan Rossiter’s loan move to Bury is “95 per cent complete” and admitted he expected former Chicago Fire midfielder Matt Polster is likely to be the last incoming player of this window. Polster signed a two-and-a-half-year deal yesterday.

“We are happy and satisfied with what we have,” he said. “I can’t see it unless something crazy happens.”

Cowdenbeath manager Gary Bollan, meanwhile, hailed his League 2 side after they did better than he had dared hope by winning the second half last night. David Cox slammed home the rebound after Harvey Swann’s penalty was saved shortly after half-time to make it 3-1. There as no further scoring though Cowdenbeath had their chances and had a goal from substitute Jordan Allan ruled out for a narrow off-side.

“We lost bad goals from our point of view but we told them to go out and not lose the second half – and we won it,” he said. “I couldn’t ask much more of them.

“They showed great desire. Their fitness levels were different class. My boys have been at work today.

“Rangers have prepared very professionally as they always do, so I’m really pleased with the whole night.

“It panned out to be a good night for us.It was a defeat but we feel we’ve done the club proud and the players did themselves proud.”