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Barisic showing why Gers have belief in him: Gerrard

 

Close watch: Borna Barisic keeps an eye on Feyenoord ace Steven Berghuis
Close watch: Borna Barisic keeps an eye on Feyenoord ace Steven Berghuis

By Andy Newport

Steven Gerrard believes Borna Barisic's Rangers career should go from strength to strength following his "outstanding" performance against Feyenoord on Thursday night.

The Croatia defender signed for the Ibrox club on a four-year-deal for a reported fee of £2.2m in 2018 after impressing for NK Osijek against the Light Blues in the Europa League qualifiers.

Barisic, though, struggled to make the left-back position his own with right-back Jon Flanagan and midfielder Andy Halliday often preferred.

However, Gerrard and the Rangers fans were more than happy with Barisic's display in the 1-0 Europa League win over the Dutch side at Ibrox, after he had returned to the defence along with Filip Helander and set up Sheyi Ojo for the only goal of the game.

Ahead of the trip to St Johnstone in the Ladbrokes Premiership tomorrow, Gerrard praised his player.

"Borna is the Croatia left-back so he would have played in those pressure games against that level of opponent," he said. "He is a top player. We brought Borna in here for a reason, we feel he can contribute a lot from left-back.

"I thought his performance was outstanding last night and that should give him a lot of belief and confidence to build on that.

"But Borna is very highly respected within the staff and the dressing room.

"Other people have obviously got opinions on him but we don't really take much notice of that.

"We just worry about what we see and the belief we have in the player and it is certainly there."

Gerrard is unhappy with the 12.15pm start time at McDiarmid Park after the 8pm kick-off against Feyenoord.

The former Liverpool and England captain, who will make changes to his side for the trip to Perth, said: "We are not complaining, it is the way it is.

"But for us and Celtic, you would like to think that our own league would help us in terms of kick-off times but they go the other way and make them earlier and they give you morning kick-offs.

"I probably haven't been up here long enough to maybe bring that up but it is not good when you are kicking off at 8 o'clock on a Thursday night and your players, (with) the adrenaline and you can't get sleep until three or four o'clock in the morning and then our league, who are supposed to be our governing body who help us, go and agree a kick-off time at 12.15pm on Sunday."

Meanwhile, Gerrard believes Rangers gave Fernando Ricksen a fitting send off with their hard-fought win over Feyenoord.

Light Blues boss Gerrard said: "We gave the supporters a performance to be proud of. It has been an emotional 24 hours for everyone connected with the club so that put more pressure on the players. Everyone was looking for that performance for Fernando's young family to be proud of and thankfully we got the win.

"I thought my players were outstanding, especially the first half.

"We carried the game plan out really well, to be aggressive, press on the front foot and try to take them to a place they are not used to going from a domestic point of view."

The former Liverpool skipper, however, noted that Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor was also called upon to make several good saves to keep Feyenoord at bay.

He said: "We're going to need Allan McGregor in every game we play at this level. That's where we are. That's the reality. Allan's going to have to be big for us."

St Johnstone midfielder Jason Holt will have to miss the visit of Rangers under the terms of his loan deal.

Former Hibernian, Partick Thistle and Dundee United left-back Callum Booth comes into the squad after signing on a short-term deal.

St Johnstone

Rangers

Scottish Premiership

McDiarmid Park, Tomorrow, 12.15pm

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