Patience still the key for George Edmundson at Rangers but so far ‘I’ve done alright’
George Edmundson believes Rangers’ come-from-behind victory over Hibs at Ibrox on Wednesday night proves they won’t wilt under the heat being applied by Celtic in the title race.
Steven Gerrard’s team were on the verge of falling nine points behind the champions at the top of the Premiership when they were being held at 1-1 by the Easter Road side in the closing stages.
But Ianis Hagi’s 84th minute winner, after defender Edmundson had earlier cancelled out Paul Hanlon’s opener for the visitors, ensured Rangers remain seven points adrift of their Old Firm rivals with a game in hand.
“I wouldn’t say we were feeling the pressure out there,” said Edmundson. “I think we have shown that we can thrive under the pressure – and stand up and be counted. To win like that will boost us. We were 1-0 down, so to come back and win the way we did shows we can turn things around.
“We can’t afford to draw or lose another game in the league, so to get the win was really good.”
Edmundson has had to be patient since joining Rangers from Oldham Athletic for £700,000 last summer with first-team opportunities limited so far.
But with Nikola Katic dropped to the bench on Wednesday, 22-year-old Edmundson was handed only his second league starting appearance in the heart of the Rangers defence and marked it with his first goal for the club.
“It felt good to get a start and to top it off with a goal and a win was even better,” he said. “My last goal came for Oldham in a home game against Swindon in April last year.
“I wouldn’t say I am known for my goals. I have scored a few in my career but not double figures or anything.
“The gaffer is big on set-pieces and (technical coach) Tom Culshaw normally takes us to try to work on a few special things. One of them came off against Hibs for the equaliser, so it was good for me.
“I felt I did alright. It was a tough game but I thought I handled most of what was thrown my way.
“It was good when my goal went in. I’d given a free-kick away for Hibs’ goal, so I felt like I had to redeem myself – which I did.”
Edmundson has no complaints about his lack of first-team minutes this season and is content to accept the career path mapped out for him by manager Gerrard.
“This is the way the gaffer kind of wanted to plan it,” he added. “I wasn’t going to come into the team straight away. It’s a massive club and I need to get to grips with it and how things work.
“But it’s been good and I have learned a lot. Do I feel ready to play consistently? That’s a tough question. It’s only one game and I have done alright. You can’t think, ‘Oh yeah, I’m a starter now’. I just need to keep improving and hope I get selected in the next game.”
Edmundson is staking a claim for a regular place at a crucial stage of the season as Rangers continue to battle on three fronts. They take a break from their title bid on Saturday when they travel to face Hamilton Accies in the last 16 of the Scottish Cup, while their Europa League last-32 tie against Braga later this month is looming ever larger.
“As a player you want to be involved in every game,” said Edmundson. “But we just move on to Saturday and Hamilton now. We aren’t even thinking about Europe yet.”
Edmundson feels the return of captain James Tavernier following minor stomach surgery and the introduction of loan signing Hagi to the starting line-up were the most significant positives for Rangers to take out of the Hibs victory.
“James is really important for us,” he added. “He attacks so well and contributes to a lot of our goals.
“Ianis looks very good. He deservedly got the man of the match award and played well against Hibs. I am excited to see more of him.
“It was a great first time finish from him to win the game. I was shouting ‘take a touch’ but what a goal it was.”