Steven Gerrard praises Rangers Alfredo Morelos after his goal secured win
Rangers won 1-0 against Osijek in Europa League qualifying
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 27/07/18 8:17am
Steven Gerrard insists goal hero Alfredo Morelos should be proud of himself after the under-fire striker fired Rangers to their first win on foreign soil in a decade.
The Colombian faced flak after missing a string of chances in the Ibrox side's opening Europa League ties with Shkupi, but he made amends in Croatia against Osijek as he nodded home a crucial away goal after 18 minutes to give his side a precious 1-0 win at the City Gardens Stadium.
But his boss was more impressed by the 22-year-old's graft up front as Rangers clung on for victory and a major boost on their bid for the third round.
"We're very happy with him," Gerrard told RangersTV. "His application and his work-rate in training, on and off the pitch, has been superb. And I think he got his reward tonight for that. I thought his performance was selfless. He ran his socks off for the team.
"His goalkeeper and defenders are thanking him and giving him credit for the work and shift that he put in for us. He should be proud of himself."
The last time Gers claimed victory inside 90 minutes away from home in European competition was against Sporting Lisbon in 2008 as Walter Smith's team fought their way towards the UEFA Cup final.
But Gerrard was delighted to see his team end that long wait with a gritty display.
Rangers had goalkeeper Allan McGregor and centre-backs Connor Goldson and Nikola Katic to thank as they rebuffed Osijek time and again but now head into next Thursday's Glasgow return with the all-important advantage.
"I thought the performance was strong," Gerrard added. "Defensively we were very good and I thought there were some heroic individual performances in amongst that.
"I'm happy and satisfied - but at the same time I have a lot of respect for the opposition and know there is still work to do. We'll need another display like that in seven days' time.
"Tonight wasn't a performance for our attacking players. It wouldn't have looked great on the eye. But that's how you get success in Europe. You've got to come to places like this and be hard to play against, weather the storm, not concede goals and try to get something at the other end."