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Rangers' patience will bear fruit during domestic season, predicts Gerrard

St Joseph’s 0 Rangers 4

Big impact: Sheyi Ojo slams home for Rangers in Gibraltar
Big impact: Sheyi Ojo slams home for Rangers in Gibraltar

By Andy Newport

Steven Gerrard feels Rangers' patience in Gibraltar bodes well for the coming season after four second-half goals saw off Europa League opponents St Joseph's.

Rangers fans endured a goalless opening period of the first qualifying round but Ryan Jack settled their nerves four minutes after the interval.

Debutant Sheyi Ojo, left-back Borna Barisic and substitute Alfredo Morelos rounded off a 4-0 first-leg win and Gerrard was more than satisfied.

"We are going to face this a lot this season where teams are going to sit in and make it difficult for us," said Gerrard. "It is important we show patience.

"If we took a chance in the first half then it would have been a little bit more enjoyable in the first half but you have got to stay at it, keep pushing, keep grinding, keep probing, and you hope that one of your big players steps up and makes the difference. Again, Ryan Jack has done that for us.

"These places are tough because the conditions are tough, the pitch is tough, they put a lot of men behind the ball and they try and break up play, make fouls and slow the game down.

"So a lot of things were against the team and they set us a challenge to go and meet the block.

"But we showed fantastic patience and eventually we took one of our chances and the game then changes in our favour, and we go on from there to build and keep showing really good quality."

Clear chances were at a premium in the opening period but Jack opened the scoring four minutes after the interval with a smart finish.

The second soon came from a curling effort from on-loan Liverpool midfielder Ojo - one of two debutants in the starting line-up alongside Northern Ireland international Jordan Jones.

Rangers went three ahead from a Barisic free-kick, with Connor Goldson making sure from the follow-up, although the original effort was well over before being clawed out by the goalkeeper.

And substitute Morelos finished the rout with a header.

Gerrard's half-time team talk did the trick after the hosts had frustrated Rangers during the opening 45 minutes.

Celtic suffered a shock defeat against Lincoln Red Imps at the same Victoria Stadium in the shadow of the Rock of Gibraltar three years ago, although a new artificial pitch installed with the help of a Fifa grant in January offered a better surface.

There was an early warning when Federico Villar was left unmarked from a deep free-kick but could not get his head on the ball.

Jack and Ojo saw long-range shots comfortably saved before Jermain Defoe stabbed wide from a tight angle and it took half an hour for Rangers to force a clear chance. Goalkeeper Francisco Mateo Vera blocked well from Ojo after a Steven Davis shot deflected into the midfielder's path.

Glen Kamara came close but the hosts were afforded two shooting chances from outside the box which they could not keep down and Davis sliced well wide.

The breakthrough came just after the break when Jack cushioned a volley into the corner of the net.

Ojo seized on a loose ball on the edge of the box and curled a left-footed effort inside the far post six minutes later and it was 3-0 midway through the half.

Goldson celebrated after tapping home the rebound but footage showed Barisic was the goalscorer with his free-kick.

The keeper again clawed out an effort from behind his line in the 76th minute as Morelos headed home after replacing Defoe.

Greg Stewart and Joe Aribo were handed debuts off the bench and the only downside for Rangers was a needless late yellow card for Ojo for a rash tackle.

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