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Scott Arfield backs Rangers to bounce back from shock defeat to St Mirren

Motherwell v Rangers – Scottish Premiership – Fir Park
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

Scott Arfield has backed Rangers to get back on track as he insisted the Ibrox squad are determined to ensure their shock loss at St Mirren does not derail their push for Premiership glory.

Steven Gerrard’s side have been faced with the bitter taste of defeat for the first time in nine months after seeing their 27-game unbeaten run brought to a shuddering halt by the Buddies.

Gers thought they had a clear path to lifting the Betfred Cup after Celtic were knocked out by Ross County but St Mirren wrecked those plans with a stunning 3-2 quarter-final upset in Paisley.

But while another chance to lift the club’s piece of major silverware in a decade has slipped by, Rangers remain very much in charge of the title race.

Victory over Motherwell on Saturday will see them move 16 points ahead of Celtic – who will have three games in hand – and Arfield says that is all the motivation his team needs.

But having hit the buffers in each of the last two seasons, Arfield knows his side’s doubters are ready to question their ability to go all the way this time.

He said: “We obviously know it was a disappointing result for everybody connected with the football club, there is no hiding that.

“But it is about as quickly as possible analysing it, picking the bones out of it and moving on. I feel as if we have done that and we are ready to take it on in a big game for us on Saturday.

“You have seen the reaction from us from the three games this season – Livingston, Hibs and Benfica away – where it got away from us.

“I think you have seen that and I think you will get the right reaction again. We all know how good this team is. I don’t think one game should derail what we have done and 27 games is a good achievement. We need to go on a run again and show what we are about.

“Do we have the mentality to go the distance? Time will tell on that, of course. There is no sugar coating it, it was a terrible result for us.

“It is up to us now to show the reaction, go after Motherwell and be as successful as possible going forward this season.

“Through this season so far we have come up with the answers more often than not – 27 games unbeaten in all competitions speaks merits on behalf of everyone in the squad here so I don’t think one result can change the mentality of the squad.

“We know what we need to do, we know that we need a reaction and if you are going to be successful in May then these are the games you need to take care of.”

Gerrard’s team are now zero from seven when it comes to domestic trophies since the former Liverpool skipper was appointed back in 2018.

But Arfield is adamant the thirst for glory will ensure his team bounces back.

“Of course it is frustrating and when it is the first cup that is up for grabs you want to stick your name on it – but we fell short,” he said. “You can cry about it, you can make excuses for it or you can self-reflect, analyse, pick the bones and go again.

“And that is exactly what we have done. I know the group of players in here, I know what the manager is all about and the staff are about. I am sure you will see a reaction.”

Rangers dished out a 5-1 pasting to Stephen Robinson’s team when they visited Fir Park back in September.

But Arfield knows the Steelmen will see this as their chance to heap further pressure on the Light Blues as their resolve is questioned for the first time this campaign.

He said: “I think everyone realises when you walk through those doors and you hold this badge, you know that the spotlight is on you.

“I feel, particularly in this season, that we have got a better mentality within this squad so I have got no question that we will show the right reaction against Motherwell. We’ll go after them, make it a difficult game for them and get the result that everyone wants again.

“When we played them earlier in the season I think they were in a false position with the calibre of player. It is one we are not taking lightly. If you disrespect any opponent and become arrogant then you do come short by some distance.”