Gerrard still the right man to lead Rangers, says Defoe

Rangers were knocked out of the William Hill Scottish Cup by Hearts on Saturday.

By Press Association Published: 1 March 2020 - 10.06am



Jermain Defoe confessed Steven Gerrard has been let down by his Rangers squad, but the veteran striker insists his old England colleague is still the man to bring the glory days back to Ibrox.

Gers crashed out of the William Hill Scottish Cup at the same place where the wheels came off their Ladbrokes Premiership title bid as they lost to Hearts at Tynecastle for the second time in five weeks.

It was a brutal low just three days on from the euphoria Gerrard and his players felt as they stunned Braga in midweek.

Steven Gerrard's men were knocked out of the Scottish Cup on Saturday
Steven Gerrard’s men were knocked out of the Scottish Cup on Saturday (Jeff Holmes/PA)

Now Gerrard is staring at a second trophyless season in charge, unless his team can complete an unlikely march from the Europa League last 16 to glory in Gdansk.

The former Liverpool skipper hinted he is considering his future in Glasgow after admitting he needs time to “think”.

But Defoe urged Gerrard and the rest of the Light Blues playing squad to stick together and rediscover the winning formula that made them such a force during the first half of the campaign.

Asked if Gerrard was still the right man for the job, the 37-year-old said: “Of course. The last 16 in Europe is an unbelievable achievement for this football club.

“I just think it is important, as a group, that we just stick together”
- Jermain Defoe

“It is just a case of the team being consistent, which is probably the hardest thing in football, but the top teams do it game after game after game – being consistent, putting in those top performances.

“Obviously, there are times like Wednesday night when you look at the team and think: ‘That’s a top team and a strong squad’.

“Then we come here and sort of let ourselves down. We let the manager down, if you like.

“I just think it is important, as a group, that we just stick together. It is easy when you win and everyone is together and buzzing about. I think it is important we stick together as a group no matter what happens.

“That is all you can do at this moment in time.

“It is hard for me to say what the manager is thinking. I don’t know what the manager is thinking.

“I can imagine how he is feeling because this is a football club where you have to perform, win games and win trophies.

“That sort of pressure is the reality and that’s an opportunity gone to get our first trophy together, so everyone is disappointed, of course.

“It is the same for everyone. We will go away together, watch the game and then go from there.”

Hearts booked their place in the Scottish Cup semi-finals
Hearts booked their place in the Scottish Cup semi-finals (Jeff Holmes/PA)

It is Hearts who now march on to Hampden after Oliver Bozanic grabbed the only goal in Gorgie, but skipper Steven Naismith has told his team-mates they have to hit the heights they manage against Gers every week.

New boss Daniel Stendel has achieved only one league win from the 11 he has been in charge of and it also came against the Ibrox men back in January.

Now Naismith wants to see a repeat performance of Saturday’s 1-0 win when the basement boys head to city rivals Hibernian on Tuesday night.

He said: “That’s the challenge for us. After that game in the league everybody expected us to kick on and it didn’t happen.

“We can’t fall into that trap again, although fortunately we’ve got a good game to go into next. It’s a derby, so everybody is going to be up for it anyway.

“It’s now or never, we need to start picking up results in the league and it’s as simple as that.”