08 November 2020 20:31
STEVEN GERRARD reckons a win of this magnitude had been coming for Rangers after they put eight goals by Hamilton to restore their lead at the top of the Premiership. The Gers are nine-points clear of Celtic going into the international break following a stunning victory that saw Joe Aribo, Kemar Roofe and James Tavernier score braces and Scott Arfield and Brandon Barker also find the target. The margin of victory could easily have been greater at Ibrox as Gerrard's side produced a clinical attacking display to ensure they recovered from their disappointing Europa League draw with Benfica in some style. And Gerrard was delighted with a relentless and ruthless showing as Rangers scored four goals in each half to record their biggest win of his tenure as manager. He said: "It was a very impressive performance, a strong win and another clean sheet.
The thing that pleased me the most was the standards that we maintained from start to finish. "I have been on to these players, probably on to them too much, about keeping standards no matter what stage the game is at. It pleased me at half-time that we carried on looking to score goals and win even more emphatically. "It has been coming, we have threatened to do that. But the pleasing thing today was that we were very clinical.
"We suffocated Hamilton from start to finish, we stayed on them and never let them… we never took our foot off the gas and you could see the quality throughout the squad. "I made five changes today, brought five subs on and it didn't affect our level of performance. That is the most pleasing thing for me. "Look, we are not at the stage yet where we can play with ego in any game or at any stage. We are trying to become a winning team, a successful team. "We are in no position to disrespect any opponent or any team. It is about Rangers trying to be as strong for as long as we can and be as consistent as we can." Boss Gerrard made five changes from the side that drew 3-3 in midweek and another five substitutions during the Ibrox clash as Rangers' strength and depth came to the fore once again. There was no place in the squad for Steven Davis, while Ryan Jack was withdrawn at half-time as both midfielders prepare for their respective European Championship fixtures with Northern Ireland and Scotland in the coming days. Gerrard said: "Just to respect the lads that have got big international games. The game was done at half-time, with all due respect, and I wanted to respect Jacko and the Scotland situation. "That is the reason that I left Davo out. He is fully fit and could have been involved but they have got two huge cup finals and I have to respect that. "I am in a position now where I have got strong players in and around the squad that I can use and that is what we did today." Join thousands of fans who have signed up to our Rangers newsletter. Subscribe Thank you for subscribing We have more newsletters Show me See our privacy notice Invalid Email Rangers captain James Tavernier insists his side were due to give a hammering to someone after the scintillating start to the season. And Hamilton Accies were the unlucky team to be on the wrong side of it when it arrived at Ibrox yesterday afternoon. Tavernier helped himself to a double - one from the penalty spot - to hoist his tally for the season to 12, and on the day his team could easily have matched that tally with a dozen. In the end, they settled for eight, all scored in the first 70 minutes of a mesmerising display that delighted their skipper and restored their lead at the top of the Premiership to nine points, although Celtic have two games in hand. The 8-0 victory, though, has also improved their goal difference advantage over their rivals to 13 and if both halves of the Old Firm keep racking up league wins, that could yet prove to be significant. But the right-back was more interested in three points, a great display and a ruthlessness that had been demanded from Rangers boss Steven Gerrard. Tavernier was also thrilled to get back to clean sheets and the equalling of a club league record of not conceding in their first seven home games of the campaign, particularly after shipping three in the Europa League draw with Benfica on Thursday. He said: "I was delighted with the performance today, coming off a disappointing European game. We were talking a week ago, saying we can get a point from Benfica, we'd have probably taken it but on the night we should have got the three points. "The boys reacted tremendously today. We said 'let's just leave it all out on the pitch for the full 90 minutes' and it showed when we came in at half time 4-0 up and we wanted to keep it going, get back to clean sheets and get the numbers up. "Today was a game where people could rack up the numbers and they did today, so I'm very proud of the team." (Image: Getty Images) Rangers killed the game off with three goals from Scott Arfield, Kemar Roofe and Joe Aribo in a four minute spell early in the game and the captain insisted that getting off to a flying start when they return from their European exertions is always in the game plan. He added: "We know we have to do this when we come off the back of European games. These games are massive. "Every game is a cup final and we know we have to keep getting three points on the board. It was important before the international break to get three points. "It's been coming. Hamilton are an organised team, so we wanted high intensity to push them at the start of the game and I'm really happy that we contributed that many goals." And he revealed that a team talk in the dressing room at the break, when they were four goals up, was pivotal to them ending up with double that tally. He grabbed two of those second-half goals for himself but left gutted that he wasn't taking the match ball with him after missing a good chance for his hat-trick from a Calvin Bassey cross. Tavernier, speaking to Rangers TV, said: "At half-time, it was to go out as if it were 0-0. To play the same and not take the foot off the gas. Keep doing the right things. "We've had times when we've come in at half time leading and we've made the second half hard for ourselves. We didn't want to do that. "It's about good habits and I'm really proud of the boys that we were relentless throughout the 90 minutes." (Image: SNS Group) And with Gerrard making five changes from the team that started in Lisbon, and being able to give Bongani Zungu an impressive second half debut, the Ibrox skipper paid tribute to the impressive recruitment policy that has allowed the manager to build such a strong squad. "The gaffer and management team deserve praise for how they dealt with the transfer window and the improvement of the squad, the depth of the squad," he said. "You can see it today - boys in the starting line up getting their chance, then at half time Zungu and Bassey came on, then Brandon (Barker) came on and got a goal. It's tremendous that we've got great strength in our squad and we can rely on everyone in the team." No fewer than 14 Rangers players now head off on international duty and although Tavernier isn't one of them, he admits he'll be happy enough to enjoy the break from what has been a relentless schedule of domestic and European football. He added: "I wish the lads who are going off in the international break good luck. The other lads, including myself, can get a good rest and come back and be ready for the league games when we come back. "I'm just recharging the batteries, putting the feet up and relaxing."