08 Nov Steven Gerrard says still plenty of work to do for Scottish clubs in Europe
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard believes Scottish clubs need to keep improving in Europe to atone for years of under-performing.
Both Old Firm sides registered significant victories in their respective Europa League groups on Thursday night, with Celtic winning away against Lazio and Rangers defeating Porto at Ibrox.
Those results have helped pushed Scottish football’s UEFA coefficient to a five-year high and to within one spot in the rankings of having two Champions League qualifying places from 2021/22.
Gerrard savoured that upturn in fortunes but warned it would need to continue.
He said: “We all have to keep working towards making it better. Because the record isn’t good enough for the size of the clubs that are up here with the history of Celtic, Rangers and Aberdeen.
“We’ve all got a responsibility to try to improve that as over the past decade it hasn’t been good enough. Clubs of that size deserve to be in Europe and the fans need it.
“It would be fantastic for the Scottish game (to get a second Champions League place) and it’s exactly what it needs.
“We can only focus on what’s happening here (at Rangers) and we’ve been working hard towards getting some respect back in Europe.
“We want people to know we won’t be pushovers and that we’re going to fight as hard as we can.”
Rangers must now prepare for Sunday’s trip to face Livingston at a ground where they lost last season. And Gerrard expects another physical encounter.
He added: “One of the biggest lessons we learned from last season was that you have to switch your focus pretty quickly whether you’re on a high or a low.
“You need to get over it as quickly as you can and move on to the next challenge. And we’ve done that a lot better this season.
“We have to be ready for whatever comes our way (on Sunday). If it pans out like the game there three weeks ago it’s going to be a physical challenge.
“We had to have our physio on for head injuries three times in the first 20 minutes. We’ve got a fair idea of what’s coming our way.”
Jordan Jones (knee) is the only major injury concern for Rangers.
“Thankfully we’ve come out of [Thursday’s] game without too many big problems,” added Gerrard. “We’ve got a few little small issues but I’m confident we’ll overcome them by Sunday.”