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Giovanni van Bronckhorst admits his Rangers side were affected by three successive defeats beforehand as they struggled to a 2-1 win over Dundee United at Ibrox.

The Light Blues had lost to Napoli, Ajax and Celtic, conceding 11 goals without reply, as they went into the cinch Premiership game against the Terrors.

The pressure was on against the league’s bottom side but the Gers got off to a great start when returning striker Antonio Colak opened the scoring with a drive after eight minutes.

Antonio Colak celebrates his first goal
Antonio Colak scored twice on his birthday (Steve Welsh/PA)

However, indecision ran through a laboured Rangers side at times after that and although the Croatia striker, celebrating his 29th birthday, added a second soon after the break, United defender Liam Smith pulled a goal back to ensure a fraught last 30 minutes.

Van Bronckhorst admitted that “the most important thing today was the win” but also acknowledged a difficult period for the club.

The Gers boss said: “We started the game really well and like so many times at home, we could have scored two or three times in the first 15 minutes.

“In the second half we scored the second goal quite early but after we conceded the first goal, maybe in the players’ minds, it was ‘What if? What if?’.

“It affected the game as well, although we had chances to kill the game off to make it 3-1. We had good chances and they didn’t take them.

“Mentally it is quite difficult when you have three defeats in a row, it can affect you. I think at moments in the game today it affected us.

“In moments of stress, it is difficult to keep focusing on your task and on your play. I think in moments of the game you can see we did not do that well.

Tom Lawrence
Tom Lawrence was one of Rangers’ injury absentees (Will Matthews/PA)

“The game should have been decided early and that is one thing we have to do better compared to last season.

“Last season we played many of these games and eventually conceded a late goal and dropped points again, so today I was happy that we took the three points.”

Tom Lawrence, John Souttar, Kemar Roofe and Filip Helander were all again missing with various injuries and in an update before domestic football closes down for the international break, Van Bronckhorst said: “John Souttar and Fil will take longer. They won’t be back after the break. Tom has a good chance to be available again.

“Kemar? We will have to see if he is one of the players who can come back really quick or if he maybe takes a longer time.

“For us it is good that there is the break now so Tom has two weeks extra to recover. It is going to be close for Hearts, but somewhere in that period we should have him back.”

United’s caretaker boss Liam Fox, who was disappointed by the defeat, will discover next week whether he will be handed the reins on a permanent basis.

Dundee United caretaker manager Liam Fox
Liam Fox will find out this week whether he has earned the permanent job with United (Steve Welsh/PA)

He said: “My situation will probably be resolved in the next couple of days one way or the other.

“I will speak to Tony (Asghar, sporting director) and the board over the next couple of days and see where we are after that.

“I’ve been quite clear that I have always seen myself being a manager at some point but I have also been clear that I was in no rush to do that.

“I have enjoyed the last three weeks. The players and the staff have been first-class, really helpful and we will see where it goes in the next couple of days.”