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Rangers are still trying to find top gear, says boss Gerrard

Steven Gerrard says the Ibrox faithful can groan if they want but warned they should not expect his Rangers team to blow away every opponent.

St Mirren boss Jim Goodwin vowed earlier this week that he would park “two buses” across Vaclav Hladky’s goal.

And the Buddies boss proved true to his word as he set his team up in an ultra defensive shape in a bid to put the brakes on Rangers’ title charge.

That did not go down well with the home supporters, who made their feelings clear as Gers toiled to find a breakthrough.

Thankfully for Gerrard, Jermain Defoe came up with a winner 11 minutes before half-time to secure a 1-0 victory which keeps the Light Blues two points behind Celtic with a game in hand.

And Gerrard warned there could be more nights of frustration ahead as they are forced to deal with the stubborn tactics of their rivals.

He said: “I’m delighted with it, in terms of the outcome and result. It gets us closer to where we want to be, six wins on the spin.

“So I’m positive, I’m happy. I understand some of the frustration around the fans and the players, not scoring three or four.

“Over the course of the season it’s not going to be perfect in every game. We’re still trying to find top gear.

“But it’s a win, a clean sheet, we were defensively very sound. We could have killed the game off but it wasn’t to be.

“We expected St Mirren to come with that formation, to try to stay in the game as long as they could. We always knew, if the scoreline wasn’t out of reach, that they would show more ambition late on.

“It left gaps and we maybe should have capitalised. But we’ll take the win and move on.

“You see Rangers v St Mirren and expect three, four, five – but you’ve got to respect them.

“The fans are entitled to moan and groan if they want, if they’re not seeing what they expect.

“I’m not sitting here saying we were outstanding, everything is flying and we were brilliant. But we’re winning. Doing whatever it takes to win games.

“There will be nights when we’re better, when we score more goals. But I’m not sitting here with any negativity.”

Defoe has had to play understudy to Alfredo Morelos for the majority of the season, but with the Colombian suspended, the veteran striker again proved his worth as he scored his 16th goal of the season following his strike against Stranraer last Friday.

“JD has been big for us,” added Gerrard. “Two starts on the spin and two goals. He’s a predator in the box. He’s as hungry now as he was when he was 17.”

Defeat came at an added cost for Saints boss Jim Goodwin after he saw stand-in skipper Kyle Magennis stretchered off after just seven minutes with a serious knee injury.

The Irishman is fearing the worst, and said: “It‘s not looking great. He’s our captain on the night and he does a fantastic job for us.

“He’s going for a scan tomorrow morning (Thursday) but, at this moment in time, it’s not looking good.

“He’s definitely done ligaments, it’s just a question of whether it’s medial or cruciate. If it’s the medial it’s six to eight weeks, if it’s the cruciate it could be season-ending.

“To lose a player as influential as Kyle, with such a serious injury, is so disappointing for him – and he’s going to be difficult to replace.”