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Steven Gerrard wary of playing surface ahead of Rangers trip to Easter Road

By January 24, 2021No Comments

Steven Gerrard admits he may have to tinker with his rampant Rangers line-up as he prepares for a pitched battle at Easter Road.

The runaway Scottish Premiership leaders will be looking to take another step towards the title when they travel to Edinburgh to face Hibernian on Wednesday night.

But Gerrard is concerned his side could get bogged down against Jack Ross’ team after flagging up the state of the rutted Leith playing surface.

Ross admitted after last week’s win over Kilmarnock that it was “nigh on impossible” for his flair players to dribble with the ball on the potholed pitch but confessed there was little the Hibs ground staff could do to bring it up to standard.

And Gerrard says the bumpy turf will be one of the deciding factors as he works out his starting XI.

He said: “I don’t think the playing surface looks too good on the eye from what I’ve seen in recent games that I’ve watched.

“Will I take the pitch into consideration when deciding my team? I take everything into consideration all the time. I look at all the details.

“We always try to pick a team that is capable of winning the game, of course.

“But certain things you have to take into consideration around that as well.”

Ross could barely contain his anger at seeing Hibs blow their chance to lift the Betfred Cup after crashing 3-0 to St Johnstone in Saturday’s semi-final.

But Gerrard is full of respect for a side still battling for a third-place finish in the league.

The Ibrox boss – whose unbeaten team needs just nine more wins to be crowned champions – said: “They are a good team and they are never going to make it easy for you by rolling over and allowing you to just beat them.

“They have always been one of the strongest teams in this league, even when I’ve been looking in from afar.

“They’ve recruited well, got a good manager. It will be a challenge, it will be a test.

“But we’re in a good place, we’re looking forward to it.

“We’ve been there and won before. I thought we should have won the last game in September if we’d have taken our chances.

“And we know what we have to do to get what we want out of that game.

“We’re going to need a similar level of performance that we got today for sure because they are going to do everything they can to be the first team that beats us from a league point of view.”

Meanwhile, Gers youngster Nathan Patterson has backed James Tavernier to shrug off missing his last two penalties.

Patterson said: “I don’t think Tav will be too down about missing a penalty. He has scored a lot this season and really helped the team.

“He practises them every day so I don’t think it will (lead to a) downfall in his performance.

“He’s a great player and I think he will bounce back well.”