Steven Gerrard wants Rangers to perform against Hearts

Rangers Alfredo Morelos celebrates scoring
Rangers Alfredo Morelos celebrates scoring

It’s back to the bread-and-butter of the Premiership for Steven Gerrard and Rangers on Sunday afternoon with table-topping Hearts the visitors to Ibrox.

Craig Levein’s men have this early in the campaign taken the Premiership by storm, and currently sit at the summit of the division with 19 points from their first seven games.

The one hiccup in this remarkable run that has even had some discussing the possibility of a Gorgie title challenge was a goalless draw at Tynecastle against Livingston – although in view of last week’s debacle at Almondvale many at Ibrox will not regard that draw with such disdain.

The thundering atmosphere of Thursday evening’s win against Rapid Vienna in the Europa League must now be consigned to the history books as the Light Blues seek to reduce the eight-point gap between the clubs currently enjoyed by the ‘Jambos’.

Gerrard however was keen to rekindle Thursday’s electric atmosphere.

“We would love Ibrox to be bouncing again on Sunday but we have to play our part in the game right from the off. Ibrox was rocking last night.

“I thought against Rapid the players fed off the atmosphere but the tempo of the players made the support even more vocal.

“I’ve had incredible support from the moment I arrived with 8,000 welcoming me here which was incredible.”

The Ibrox boss had no doubts that this game is at least as important as the European fixture, perhaps even more so.

“I’m not sure it will be too different. Hearts are a good team and they try to play good football.

“They will be strong and they are at the top of the league, flying high and will be full of confidence.

“This is a big game for us, and I ‘m not going to play down the importance of the three points. It would be fantastic for us to win the game as we are going into the International break.”

Gerrard may have been looking ahead to the next game – but he still relished looking back at the defeat of the Austrians.

“The players felt themselves the performance was good - it was both the performance and the level we were looking for from the players. That is probably the first time we have had it over ninety minutes. I thought we were strong in every department, and I thought every player to a man was top-level.

“As a Rangers player and manager, the expectation is to try and find that consistently, so that is going to be the challenge.

“We would love Ibrox to be rocking and bouncing again, and I am sure the supporters are going to go to the game in good spirits and in a good place after last night.”

Gerrard may freshen up his side for this one despite such a thrilling and impressive win in midweek. Borna Barisic and Kyle Lafferty will certainly feature in his pre-match thoughts and the squad will be strengthened by the return from a one-month injury absence of Ryan Jack.

The manager emphasised the togetherness, belief and single-mindedness that has brought all at the club behind the team and its’ manager.

“I think at a club like this, it is the key relationship – player and staff to supporters. If we are all one and we are together, hopefully we can go and achieve some things together.”