Tears shed by Rangers players proves their loyalty to me says Steven Gerrard

Steven Gerrard insists he “loved every minute” of the tearful post-match reaction from some of his Rangers players to Sunday’s League Cup final defeat.

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard consoles Ryan Jack after the Betfred Cup final defeat by Celtic. Picture: Alan Harvey / SNS

Ryan Jack and Connor Goldson were among those most noticeably unable to hide their despair immediately after the final whistle as the Ibrox side lost 1-0 to Celtic at Hampden despite being dominant for long periods of the game.

Gerrard has robustly defended his players from criticism of their public show of emotion and feels it reinforces his belief they share his ambition for the club.

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“I don’t think you can ever criticise a footballer or a team for being visibly upset,” said the Rangers manager.

“This is not just from a Rangers point of view. Footballers, when I played, got extreme criticism about not caring, about not being a supporter on the pitch or not having enough heart and desire. Folk say it’s all about the money and the rewards that come with playing.

“But I think you could see clearly what it meant to the players to represent this club on Sunday and I loved every minute of our reaction. Of course I wanted to see my players celebrate a victory. But what I saw and what I looked at clearly at the final whistle was ‘who is with me and who is not?’ And it’s clear to me that these boys in that dressing room are with me.”