Rangers: Steven Gerrard’s praise for Steven Davis after Northern Ireland boost in EURO 2020 wins

Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis.  Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

Rangers boss Steven Gerrard was left with mixed emotions following the international break as he prepares for Celtic on Sunday.

First-team players Steven Davis, Kyle Lafferty, Glen Kamara, Eros Grezda, Lassana Coulibaly, Borna Barisic, and Alfredo Morelos all saw action at full international level with their respective countries, as did under-21 players Ross McCrorie, Robby McCrorie and Nikola Katic.

Davis, who has yet to hit top form on his second spell at the Ibrox club on loan from Southampton, scored for Northern Ireland in the 2-0 home win against Estonia and also played in the 2-1 victory over Belarus.

Barisic notched his first international goal in Croatia’s 2-1 win over Azerbaijan but lasted just 30 minutes of the 2-1 defeat to Hungary before going off with hamstring injury.

Several reports claim the 26-year-old will miss the trip to Parkhead, where the visitors will try to claw back a 10-point deficit against the league leaders.

Gerrard told RangersTV: “First and foremost they have obviously done well to be called up and it is great to see them getting international recognition.

“But from my point of view, I was just sitting at home hoping they all come back fit and available.

“Obviously we have had a bit of a setback with Borna, who has a bit of a hamstring problem which makes him a huge doubt for the weekend.

“So that is disappointing, but the rest, so far, seem to be OK. My main concern is they come back healthy and ready to go at the weekend.

On Davis, Gerrard added: “He has been building up and looking a little bit better and a little bit sharper, but I’m sure he’ll benefit from the two 90 minutes and it will do his confidence the world of good.

“He has come back healthy and will be available for the weekend which is good news for us.”

q Last night’s Scottish Premiership meeting of former Northern Ireland international Timmy Wright and ex-Coleraine boss Oran Kearney finished with the former in favour.

Chris Kane’s first-half goal secured a first success in 10 fixtures for Wright and St Johnstone - with St Mirren rooted to the bottom of the standings and left to rue an early penalty miss and late red card.

Wright said: “It’s three points so I’m happy, believe it or not,” he said. “Chris’ goal was superbly taken. It was a good finish and he showed an unbelievable bit of skill just before that.”

Kearney admitted frustration.

“I’m very frustrated,” he said. “We got the start we wanted with the penalty but we’ve created our own downfall by missing it and then gifting them a goal.

“The players went into their shells and it took us until half-time to find our feet again. I couldn’t ask any more in the second half but we didn’t create any gilt-edged chances.”