Trio of injuries temper Steven Gerrard's enthusiasm after important Rangers win over Ross County

Three key stars could be absent from Thursday’s Europa League clash

Steven Gerrard’s satisfaction with Rangers’ 1-0 win over Ross County was tempered by a treble injury blow ahead of Thursday night’s Europa League meeting with Bayer Leverkusen.

The Rangers manager revealed that his captain James Tavernier, key midfielder Ryan Jack and striker Jermain Defoe have all suffered setbacks. Defoe is definitely ruled out of the last 16, first leg clash at Ibrox with a calf problem, while Tavernier and Jack are struggling with foot and knee issues respectively.

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All three were absent as Rangers arrested their recent run of poor domestic results on Sunday as Ryan Kent’s 77th minute goal secured three Premiership points in Dingwall.

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard. Picture: SNSRangers manager Steven Gerrard. Picture: SNS
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard. Picture: SNS

“There were a lot of positives today,” said Gerrard. “But the negatives are that in the last 24 hours, we have lost Defoe, Tavernier and Jack to injuries, which isn’t ideal for myself or the group,” said Gerrard.

“Defoe is definitely out of Thursday night. There is a chance for Jack and Tavernier but the next couple of days are crucial.

“They both tried to make themselves available for Ross County, Jack got off the bus on Saturday night and had an issue with his knee. Tavernier tried to train on Saturday with the injury he came off the pitch with last Wednesday night and has made it worse. So he is probably a bigger doubt than Jack. I need those players available if possible.”

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Gerrard is hopeful the tense and often scrappy win at County can set his players on the road to better things in the coming weeks.

“In my own experience as a player, I have been through these phases where it’s just not going for you and from the outside there is a lot of noise and criticism towards you,” added Gerrard. “You need a moment or a game or a period of games where you start building it back again and today is a start.

“The idea is to build on that. I think it’s fantastic for us that we have such a huge game to look forward to on Thursday now. We can smile going back down the road to Glasgow and do all our preparation for what will be a real, real tough match against Bayer.

“But we deserve this opportunity and I want the players to go and play with courage and belief, let themselves go and see where that takes us.

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“I’m pleased for the boys today. It’s a big win and three points, something for us to build on. I don’t think we were fantastic from start to finish. We can certainly find higher levels and have looked better during the season.

“But we came up here to do a job after a difficult week. It was about getting the three points in any way, shape or form. Credit to the players for delivering that.

“To start getting back to where you want to get to, you have to start the building process and reset yourself. Today’s performance, winning with a clean sheet, gives us something. It wasn’t perfect but it gives us something to move forward from.”



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