Brandon Barker has vowed to fight for his place in the Rangers team after coming off the bench to score his first goal for the club in the 3-1 victory over Livingston.
The 22-year-old joined Rangers from Manchester City last month and made his first league appearance when fellow new signing Ryan Kent pulled up with a hamstring injury towards the end of the first half on Saturday.
Although it was goalless when Barker came on, Rangers had to come from behind after conceding two minutes into the second period when Steven Lawless scored from the penalty spot after Lyndon Dykes had been fouled.
But, after goals from James Tavernier and Alfredo Morelos put Rangers back in front, Barker rifled home to open his Rangers account and deal a further blow to Livingston, who had just been reduced to 10 men when Dykes picked up his second yellow card.
Barker said: “It was brilliant. I didn’t expect to come on.
“Kenty got a little niggle in his hamstring and that’s unfortunate for the team because he’s such a good player.
“But I was coming on, I was ready to play and luckily I got the goal.
“I think even without the injury there’s still an opportunity – it’s early in the season – to cement your place.
“That’s why I came in here, to play and really fight for my place and that’s what I’m going to continue to do.
“It’s exciting. It’s my first game at Ibrox and I’d been waiting for that moment.
“I’ve been working on my fitness and now I’m fit and ready to play so hopefully I can just keep putting in good performances.”
Gers boss Steven Gerrard believes the goal will do wonders for Barker’s confidence.
He said: “Brandon’s been working ever so hard to get himself match fit and 100 per cent. He’s very close to that.
“The plan was to play Ryan for 60 and bring Brandon on for the last 30 or 35 minutes, but the goal on his home debut and his performance will do his confidence the world of good.
“I think he’ll only get better and better with games and fitness. But you can see he’s a clever player, he can open the door and he took his goal really well so credit to him.”
Livingston boss Gary Holt was delighted with his team’s energy and effort, despite watching them suffer their first league defeat of the season.
He said: “To a man, I can’t ask for any more. I thought they were excellent.
“I’ve never seen a team put in, to a man, that energy and effort. Some of them haven’t even kicked a ball in two weeks.”
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