Rangers started off their Europa League campaign with a win on Thursday night but it was a nervy affair at Ibrox as they scraped past Armenian side Alashkert.
Alfredo Morelos scored the only goal of the game for Steven Gerrard’s side, who were able to claim the win despite going down to ten men in the first half after John Lundstram picked up a second yellow card.
The result means that there is still a lot of work for Rangers to do if they are to qualify for the group stage of the Europa League this season, as they travel to Armenia next week with just a one-goal advantage, so they could easily find themselves without European football should they surrender their aggregate lead.
Although Morelos will steal the limelight after his goal, there was a very impressive performance by Steven Davis in the Rangers midfield, with the 36-year-old playing excellently despite being forced to cover significantly more ground following Lundstram’s sending off.
Following the game, The Athletic’s Rangers correspondent Jordan Campbell sang Davis’ praises on Twitter, writing: “Steven Davis top drawer again. A moment in the 55th minute where he momentarily lost it, and so did the crowd. Turned toxic for a few seconds but he won it back and it started a ten-minute spell that won the game. He’s going to be so hard to replace.”
The Glasgow Times’ David Irvine was also quick to recognise his influence in the victory, writing: “Typically cool performance from Davis. Kept his head when Lundstram saw red and kept the play ticking over before and after the goal.”
The Northern Ireland international’s experience was clear to see at Ibrox as the Gers were able to see out the win, and it emphasised just how important a player he remains in Rangers’ squad despite his age.
Therefore, it seems fair to suggest that the veteran midfielder was Gerrard’s true hero in the win against Alashkert, and he will no doubt be important again next week in the second leg.
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