Steven Gerrard admits he is running out of superlatives for his rampant Rangers after name-checking a list of key men in his Easter Road roll of honour.
The Light Blues took another huge step towards the title as they overcame Hibernian 1-0 in Leith.
The east end of Edinburgh has been a tricky venue for Gerrard in his time as Rangers boss, with Wednesday night’s result only his second win there in five attempts.
There was an added hurdle to come this week with the rutted Easter Road pitch in an awful state – yet it proved to be smooth sailing down by the port side for the champions-elect.
And with the likes of Filip Helander, Ryan Jack, Glen Kamara and Steven Davis all putting in impressive displays to bolster matchwinner Alfredo Morelos’ contribution, the Rangers manager could not stop the praise gushing from his mouth.
Gerrard – whose team are now just eight wins away from being crowned champions – said: “Wow, what a performance. I thought all three midfielders played like international players.
“Glen Kamara, on a pitch as bobbly as that, to put in a technical performance like that was outstanding.
“Steven Davis was playing with experience and leading by example.
“And Ryan Jack showed why I had the faith to start him after being out injured for a little while. That’s what I see on a daily basis, that’s why I’ve got so much trust in him.”
Helander sat out almost six weeks of action late last year as a combination of a positive coronavirus test and the form of Leon Balogun cost him his place.
But having returned to the team for Saturday’s 5-0 drubbing of Ross County, he also excelled against Hibs with a string of vital interventions.
“It is the reason why we kept him in the team,” said Gerrard. “Positionally he’s outstanding, you can see that he has been coached in Italy.
“He gets important blocks in and positionally he’s always spot on.
“Over the course of the season it is impossible to ask Fil to play every game and sometimes we have pushed him too hard and he has had a niggle on the back of that.
“It is the same with Leon. We will manage that situation and it is a bit like horses for courses and whatever we feel we need.
“But Fil was outstanding. He’s so low maintenance as a guy and a professional and the players love him. Again, I feel like I am praising every player but I think they deserve it.
“I think over the season we have shown our maturity. It’s an area we need to keep building upon.
“I’m demanding a lot from them at the moment and that’s why I want to praise them. Because we can give them a game plan but they are going out and doing it, delivering performances we are asking for.”
Rangers faced a daunting run of fixtures, including an Ibrox Old Firm date and trips to Aberdeen, Motherwell and Hibs.
But they have come through that schedule having dropped just two points and now have their first title in a decade within sight.
“I would have preferred us not to drop any points and I think if we had come to the game a bit quicker against Motherwell we might have got maximum points there,” added Gerrard.
“Look, we are not going to win every single game and we are not going to pass every single challenge in the league.
“It is at the stage of the season where the pitches are getting a bit more challenging and testing, the schedule is tough, European football is going to start again and that is the reason why we are not going to get carried away.
“There is a lot of football to be played and the challenges are going to come thick and fast. The squad and the players have moved forward so much and improved so much so hopefully we are prepared for what is coming.”
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