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Gerrard salutes professional Rangers as they close gap at the top

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard hailed his players for carrying out the game plan in style against Aberdeen and not getting distracted by Celtic’s slip-up.

Gerrard’s men moved a point behind the Ladbrokes Premiership leaders with a 5-0 victory over the Dons after Celtic’s lunchtime draw with Hibernian.

The Gers boss was sure his players got a lift from the news at Easter Road and was happy to see them keep their composure with a dominant performance at Ibrox.

“Today was all about us doing our job,” Gerrard said. “We had a tough game here against Aberdeen. We know they have got injuries and went to extra time (on Wednesday), so we really wanted to use that to our benefit by playing to a speed, an intensity and tempo and keep asking a lot of questions, and the players have carried that out fantastically well.

“We can’t control what happens at other stadiums. I’m sure it gave the players a lift, I’m sure it did, but sometimes that can bring a little bit of complacency and you can take your eye off the ball here.

“I’m very pleased the players didn’t focus on what was happening elsewhere and just got the job done.”

James Tavernier hit two penalties and Alfredo Morelos and Jermain Defoe were also on target.

And Greg Stewart marked an impressive first league start with his first Rangers goal and a performance brimming with creativity.

Gerrard said: “His training performances have been outstanding, the quality he has shown. I think he’s fitter now than when he arrived and he knows how we play now, in and out of possession, he knows the demands.

“So he deserved his opportunity and he took it. He’s given me something to think about.”

Tavernier got back on track from the spot after missing his other two efforts this season.

“To step up and score two pens just shows what Tav is about,” Gerrard said. “He could have given the honour to someone else but he took his criticism on the chin and backed himself.”

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes admitted the trip to Ibrox came at the wrong time for his injury-hit team but he felt they were too passive.

McInnes was without eight players, with James Wilson and Andrew Considine dropping out following their shoot-out defeat by Hearts.

“Rangers were very good, and I thought they were allowed to be better and enjoy the game too much for my liking,” he said.

“Certainly from when we lost the first goal, you saw the gulf in quality at times and experience.

“It was obviously a good time for Rangers to play us and a bad time for us to play Rangers with the amount of injuries we have got and big Andy Considine going down at the hotel this morning with gastroenteritis and after the travelling and extra-time the other night.

“There was maybe a lethargy about the performance but we were also too passive at times as well.

“We had a very young midfield but I do feel as a team we lacked a bit of personality. I thought we were very young out there and we played that way.”

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