Revealed: How Steven Gerrard fired up Rangers ahead of Motherwell thrashing
Steven Gerrard used results elsewhere in the Ladbrokes Premiership to fire up his players ahead of their 'ruthless' 7-1 victory over 10-man Motherwell.
Rangers moved two points off new leaders Celtic, who were held by Livingston after early pace-setters Hearts lost to Kilmarnock.
Scott Arfield and Eros Grezda hit doubles while James Tavernier, Alfredo Morelos and Glenn Middleton also netted at Ibrox.
Gerrard said: “Sometimes when you’re playing the last fixture of the weekend and other teams win, it adds pressure, and you’ve got to handle that - but over this weekend it’s been the opposite.
“Teams around us and above us have given us an opportunity to close gaps and that really helped before the game, going into the dressing room saying to the players: ‘There’s an opportunity to close the gap, go and put a performance in that shows everyone that you’re keen on staying towards the top of the table’.”
Curtis Main levelled for Motherwell in the 25th minute and the game was in the balance until the 32nd minute when Carl McHugh received a second yellow card for handling in the box.
Tavernier netted the resulting penalty and Rangers forced home their numerical advantage.
Gerrard, who lost Connor Goldson to illness before the game, said: “That’s what I have been asking of the players since we first started.
“We’ve used the words ruthless and relentless. Forget the scoreline, just keep going all the way to the final whistle. And the lads did that.
“The first half was quite frustrating. We didn’t really play well. We stressed not to let it become a war, we wanted to match Motherwell’s physicality but this was a game to make the pitch big and play at tempo.
“But we got involved emotionally and it became scrappy.
“I said to them at half-time: ‘We are 3-1 up, they are down to 10 men, what are we going to do? Go and get involved emotionally, or be calm and play with precision and a tempo that’s going to hurt them, and you’re going to get opportunities to make the scoreline as big as you want to make it’. And the players delivered.”