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Defoe can stretch Rangers stay with more goal-scoring heroics, says Gerrard

Rangers 6 Hibernian 1

Jermain Defoe netted a hat-trick in the weekend win over Hibernian
Jermain Defoe netted a hat-trick in the weekend win over Hibernian
Net gains: Jermain Defoe is mobbed after bagging his hat-trick against Hibernian

By Andy Newport

Steven Gerrard admits he was disappointed his rampant Rangers did not dish out an even heavier beating to hapless Hibernian.

Jermain Defoe wrapped up a jubilant week for Gers as he tucked home a clinical hat-trick during the 6-1 mauling of Paul Heckingbottom's men.

Coming hot on the heels of his side's last-gasp win at Kilmarnock last Sunday and the four-goal Europa League display in Denmark in midweek, boss Gerrard was understandably overjoyed with his side's efforts.

Alfredo Morelos climbed off the bench to replace Defoe and immediately found the net twice ahead of Sheyi Ojo's injury-time strike, yet the Ibrox manager confessed he was greedy for more after seeing the Light Blues utterly dominate Hibs.

Gerrard said: "I am extremely pleased. Beside a 10-minute spell at the back end of the first half, I thought we were outstanding.

"We looked really dangerous going forward. That's how I want us to look, to look like a threat all the time, getting people in one-versus-one positions, strikers being clinical.

"Their defence has had a really tough 90 minutes today and that's the way it's got to look (for us). I'm actually disappointed we didn't score more. Every time we went forward we looked dangerous.

"I have respect for Hibs and Paul Heckingbottom. They are a good team but they met Rangers on a bad day today."

Defoe turns 37 in two months' time but Gerrard hinted he is ready to extend the former England striker's stay in Glasgow when his 18-month Bournemouth loan expires next summer.

"I get the age comments," said his old international colleague. "But for me, the important thing is how you feel. How old is your body?

"If you've never touched a drop of alcohol in your life and are as hungry as Jermain Defoe, age never comes into my thinking. I don't think, 'He's 36 so can't start or play two games on the road'.

"I just think that I know this player, his hunger, his professionalism.

"He can score goals for Rangers this season and, if I can predict, next season as well."

Hibs were in danger of being blown away early as Gers raced out of the traps.

But after falling behind to Defoe's early double, the Easter Road side settled and were handed a lifeline with Scott Allan's sensational assist for Daryl Horgan five minutes before half-time.

However, Sean Mackie's second booking just after half-time put Heckingbottom's team on the back foot again.

The Leith boss rolled the dice as he threw on Florian Kamberi to partner Christian Doidge but insists his gamble was not the reason for his side shipping four goals in the last 16 minutes.

The former Leeds boss said: "You've got to go for it, haven't you? What are you going to do? Let it fizzle out to 2-1? That's pointless.

"Listen, the shape isn't the reason we conceded more goals. Us losing the ball in silly areas and not defending properly are the reasons we conceded more.

"That's a 10-men thing. The first part, at 11 v 11, is where we were second best for long spells. We were too passive.

"I could sit here and give Rangers all the credit in the world but I am more bothered about how we approach it."

RANGERS: McGregor, Tavernier, Goldson, Katic, Flanagan (Halliday, 79 mins), Jack, Davis, Aribo, Jones (Stewart, 75 mins), Defoe (Morelos, 75 mins), Ojo. Unused subs: Foderingham, Edmundson, Docherty, Arfield

HIBERNIAN: Marciano, Whittaker, McGregor, Hanlon, Mackie, Horgan (Gray, 56 mins), Vela, Allan (Kamberi, 66 mins), Mallan, Newell (Murray, 46 mins), Doidge. Unused subs: Maxwell, Slivka, Jackson, Shaw.

Referee: John Beaton

Man of the match: Jermain Defoe

Match rating: 8/10

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