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Jermain Defoe says Rangers are sharper this time around

Rangers v Livingston – Scottish Premiership – Ibrox Stadium
(Image credit: Jane Barlow)

Jermain Defoe senses a sharper focus around the Rangers squad this season.

Defoe helped Gers move six points clear of Celtic in the Scottish Premiership on Sunday by netting in a 2-0 win over Livingston at Ibrox.

Unbeaten Rangers have won 13 out of 15 games in all competitions this season while conceding only four goals.

Steven Gerrard’s men have made promising starts to the past two seasons before falling away after New Year but Defoe sees an increased drive this time around.

“People don’t see what happens round the training ground,” the former England striker said. “I have noticed a different kind of focus.

Rangers v Livingston – Scottish Premiership – Ibrox Stadium

Rangers’ Connor Goldson (left) and Livingston’s Nicky Devlin battle for the ball (Jane Barlow/PA)

“Last season was focused of course, because you have to be, playing for a club like this. But a different sort of focus.

“Everyone is involved, what the lads are doing in the gym, not just the senior players but the younger players. The whole aspect.

“And I think you need that. Whenever you are trying to achieve anything special, that’s important. That’s the sense I get.

“I think it’s a number of things, wanting to come first, the long lay-off – when something you love doing is taken away from you, you can’t wait to come back.

“We are at a good place at the minute but you can’t rest on your laurels, you have to improve every day, and we will see what happens.”

Defoe’s exquisite finish earned him a 300th career goal in club football and his first in the league this season. The 38-year-old remains as driven as ever to keep scoring.

“The motivation has never changed,” he said. “I never miss a training session.

“I had a hamstring injury which set me back a bit but I do a lot of work in the gym, I am doing double sessions.

“And I just knew that at some point when I get the chance I have to take it, because the team is doing well, we have signed some fantastic players.

Rangers v Livingston – Scottish Premiership – Ibrox Stadium

Rangers’ Ryan Jack and Livingston’s Jason Holt (left) go in for the ball (Jane Barlow/PA)

“It was important for me come in and make an impact.”

Defoe added: “I have always believed I can score goals even as I have got older. Sometimes it’s actually nice when people say ‘Can he still do it?’

“Because you find that fire inside you. It’s always nice to show people you can still do it, because it’s never easy.

“I always approach each game like it’s my last or a cup final or the biggest game in the world.

“It’s important to train well, get into good habits, doing little bits and pieces in the gym, managing my body, eating well, sleeping well, trying to do everything so that if I get a chance, I take it.”