Rangers overcame Aberdeen in the season’s final clash between the two sides, and Steven Gerrard said all the right things after the match.
After winning just one of the previous six meetings between the two sides, it was pretty clear Rangers had a point to prove on Sunday.
Aberdeen arrived at Ibrox knowing they have flustered and infuriated the Gers in every clash this season, but an utterly dominant performance from Gerrard’s side resulted in a 2-0 win for the hosts.
James Tavernier scored both goals from the spot after fouls on Nikola Katic on both occasions, but they could well have scored four or five if not for Joe Lewis.
One surprise of the match was Lee Wallace returning to the pitch, and Gerrard gave the absolute perfect response when asked about the 31 year-old’s return.
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“It’s a nice moment, but Lee deserves that,” he told the Gers’ official site.
“He has had a very good week in training, trained really well, really strong and he had 45 minutes against Liverpool’s under 23s and was outstanding.
“He was in the 18 on merit today and I just thought with the scoreline how it was right to go to a five and go a little bit more solid.
“He deserved his appearance, it was nothing to do with sentiment.”
When the title is slipping further out of grasp with each passing week, it would be all too easy for the Rangers players to down tools and start plotting for next season.
They put in an excellent performance against the Dons though, and it’s not hard to see why when you read Gerrard’s comments.
The gaffer has shown his squad that hard work and doing the right things in training is far more important than age, individual talent or sentiment.
The fact that Wallace, a player who is seemingly destined to leave once his contract ends this summer, was able to force his way back into the squad will keep every player on their toes, continually striving for greatness with the threat of being replaced looming large.
Gerrard has managed to strike the perfect balance of giving his players confidence but letting them know he will take no prisoners, and this is exactly the type of mentality required to really challenge for number 55 next season.