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Gerrard off to winning start with edgy Gers

 

By Graham Luney

Steven Gerrard wants his Rangers side to be more ruthless despite getting his reign off to a winning start as the Light Blues scrapped their way to a 2-0 Ibrox victory over Macedonian side FK Shkupi in the first leg of their Europa League first round qualifier.

Jamie Murphy netted the opener and a late James Tavernier penalty leaves the Gers confident of progressing ahead of the second leg in Skopje on Tuesday, but Gerrard felt his side should have killed off the tie.

"There is still a lot of work to do and we are still in a game," he said. "We have to make sure we perform when we go out there.

"I thought we should have won it more comfortably if we were a bit sharper in front of goal. We'll take 2-0 but I'm slightly disappointed we didn't win it more comfortably."

There was also a late spot-kick in a Europa League qualifier in Serbia but this time it was Coleraine who paid the penalty as they were cruelly denied a precious away victory.

Darren McCauley struck first against Spartak Subotica but the hosts equalised through a 96th-minute spot-kick converted by Mile Savkovic.

"The penalty was disappointing but we would have settled for a 1-1 draw before the game. The tie is alive," said Bannsiders coach Trevor McKendry.

"I can't fault the effort and commitment of the players. I thought they were magnificent against a quality side who knock the ball about well.

"They are technically gifted players but we have matured greatly as a team."

Cliftonville lost 1-0 at home to FC Nordsjaelland with Andreas Olsen's first-half goal giving the Danish side a slender advantage.

Derry City crashed to a 2-0 defeat at home to Dinamo Minsk.

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