Steven Gerrard pleased with European progress but has sights set on silverware

Steven Gerrard has challenged his Rangers players to transform their European heroics into domestic success.

The Light Blues fired themselves back into the Europa League group stages for the third year running as goals from Scott Arfield and James Tavernier left Galatasaray stunned.

The 2-1 triumph could be worth a potential £10million jackpot and finally allow Gerrard to make a move for the midfielder he has been longing for.

But silverware is what Gerrard really craves and now wants his team to use their displays on the continent as a platform to challenge Celtic in the battle to be crowned kings of Scotland.

He told RangersTV: “This is a fantastic night and the players are very happy in the dressing room but I want to make sure we have good nights come May.

“European football is very important but for me it is about success in May but if we keep performing like tonight and keep moving this group forward and adding the right players to it then maybe we can. 

“I told the players it is fantastic in Europe but this club is built on success and that’s trophies.

“The expectation doesn’t change but we take that and the challenge for me is can I get this team in the mix come May.

“They have big shoes to fill as so many fantastic teams in the past have been successful and that won’t change.

“We are aware of that and we will deal with it and take each game as it comes.

“The challenge for me is can I get this team in the mix come May.”

The Turkish giants started with Colombia ace Radamel Falcao and Gerrard’s former Liverpool team-mate Ryan Babel but it was the Light Blues who looked the more cultured outfit.

Gerrard has been full of praise for Arfield since he forced his way back into the Gers line-up last month, while Tavernier now tops the Ibrox scoring charts after netting his seventh goal in as many games.

The Gers boss – whose team will now join Celtic in Friday’s group-stage draw in Nyon – later told the post-match press conference: “That was James. He’s the captain of team and a fantastic attacking full-back.

“I think he showed real leadership and real quality tonight. He led the team to a fantastic result that can’t be played down in the current climate financially, it’s very important.

“Scott backed up the praise I gave him. He has been ever so consistent since he came back into the team and the biggest compliment I paid him tonight was that I didn’t change the midfield because the three of them deserved to stay in there.

“Those are the type of performances I need consistently from my midfielders from now on.”

The Ibrox stands – famed for the atmosphere they produce on nights like this – remained empty as a result of the Covid-19 restrictions but Gerrard was delighted his team put on a show for the thousands watching at home.

“It goes without saying the financial reasons why Rangers need to be in the competition,” he said. “But more important is that the fans deserve to watch their team in Europe.

“I felt for them tonight not being in the stadium. Can you imagine what it would have been like had we had them with us?

“But we knew they’d be watching in their thousands and we wanted to put in a performance they could be proud of.

“I’m sure the board are very happy with the job the players have done.”

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