Steven Gerrard hailed a “moment of magic” from Borna Barisic as Rangers ground out a 1-0 win over St Mirren in Paisley.
The Croatian’s 25-yard free-kick proved the difference between the sides in a competitive contest and extended Rangers’ undefeated start to the season.
Manager Gerrard admitted it was a precious victory in trying conditions and praised Barisic for stepping up and making the difference.
He said: “It’s a moment of magic. I always felt that it would take a moment of brilliance from one of the front men or wide men, or a really well-executed free-kick.
“Thankfully Borna stepped up and he deserves all the credit that he gets. I’ve seen him do that many times on the training pitch but it’s alright doing that when nobody’s there. You’ve got to do it in big moments so fair play to him.
“He’d be the first to admit he’s played well at times but underperformed at other times. But he got his opportunity today and took it with both hands. Not just with his free-kick. I thought his all-round game was strong.”
Gerrard made five changes to the team who had drawn away to Legia Warsaw on Thursday night and said he would need to utilise his full squad should Rangers qualify for the Europa League group stage by getting past the Polish club at Ibrox this Thursday.
He added: “If we get the chance to play Thursday and Sunday every week then it’s difficult to get everyone recovered and fresh for the next challenge.
“I won’t make that many changes all the time. But I’ll just need to see what the European games take out of certain people.
“Criticism will fly if I don’t get it right but I have to do what I think is best for the squad.”
St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin praised his players’ defensive efforts and felt it might have been a different story had his team been awarded a penalty late in the first half.
He said: “I won’t say we deserved to win the game as Rangers were the better team on the day. But my players were really organised and we contained them well.
“I was claiming for it but I don’t know how much of a penalty that it was. When you’re playing against the Old Firm these are the decisions you hope go for you. It would have been great had we got it and got our noses in front.”
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