Paul Robinson hails ‘massive addition’ to Rangers dressing room

Paul Robinson has claimed that Rangers have made a “massive addition” to the  dressing room by ensuring Jermain Defoe will sign for the club permanently. 

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-England international hailed the veteran striker’s professionalism, and suggested that he still had more to offer.

It was announced on Saturday that Defoe had put pen to paper on a pre-contractual agreement that would see his current loan spell from Bournemouth become permanent at the end of the season.

And Robinson believes that it is fantastic news for Steven Gerrard’s men.

“I think it’s brilliant,” he told Football Insider. 

“I think what he’s achieved in his career, and what he’s continuing to achieve at Rangers – I’ve said so many times about experienced players in the dressing room with a top attitude – they don’t come any better than him.

“37 years old, he’s still as fit as anybody. The career he’s had, he’s scored goals wherever he goes.

“He’s a genuine all-round top guy. He brightens up a room, he brightens up a dressing room, he’s never on a downer. He’s a massive addition to any dressing room.”

Defoe has been a real hit at Ibrox since his arrival from the Cherries last January, hitting a total of 24 goals in 49 appearances.

The ex-England international turned 37 in October, but has showed no signs of slowing down this term either, recording a strike rate of one goal every 75 minutes.

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Jermain Defoe Looked Done – Tam McManus On Rangers Star

Former top flight star Tam McManus feels Rangers striker Jermain Defoe looked done in the Gers’ shock 2-1 defeat at Hearts. 

Defoe is filling in for the suspended Alfredo Morelos and started up front for the Gers at Tynecastle.

Rangers produced a poor opening 45 minutes as both sides went in at the break without scoring. Steven Gerrard made two changes at the break, drafting in Matt Polster and Scott Arfield as he looked to freshen things up.

The visitors took the lead through an impressive Ryan Kent shot in the 47th minute, but were pegged back when Steven Naismith scored ten minutes later, when Glen Kamara was caught in possession.

New Hearts signing Liam Boyce then bagged the winner in the 83rd minute, as his effort deflected into the back of the net off Borna Barisic.

Defoe, who recently signed a contract to join Rangers permanently in the summer, completed the full 90 minutes and former forward McManus was not impressed.

“Said the same [about not being sure on keeping Defoe] big man he looked done today. Twice clean through and never even got a shot away. Morelos massive miss”, he wrote on Twitter.

McManus also feels the defeat for Rangers has been coming based on their last two displays.

“Hearts look a different animal. Tremendous performance full of energy and graft.

“Been bang at it from the first whistle. Bravely played a high line (no Berra) and pressed Rangers into errors. 

“Rangers missed Morelos massively but this been coming after two v sloppy performances”, he added.

Rangers are now five points behind league leaders Celtic, but do have one game in hand on their fierce rivals.

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Hearts 2-1 Rangers

RANGERS lost for just the second time in the Scottish Premiership this season, going down to Hearts at Tynecastle.

The Light Blues looked on-course for yet another victory when Ryan Kent netted a super goal just two minutes into the second half, but Steven Naismith equalised and Liam Boyce netted a winner with six minutes left.

From the side which defeated St Mirren at Ibrox in midweek, boss Steven Gerrard named an unchanged line-up.

And, that XI were subjected to the standard, high-energy start that can be expected from Hearts at Tynecastle before things evened themselves out and it became a real battle in the middle of the park from both sides to try and win supremacy.

The Jambos’ new signing Boyce had the first effort of note on 11 minutes, shooting low to Allan McGregor’s right from 25-yards, but it was a simple save for the Ibrox stopper.

Then with their first attack under a minute later, Rangers should have been ahead. Ryan Jack picked-up in midfield, drove forward and played a super ball into the path of Kent, who had drifted over to the right.

The angle was against him slightly as he closed in on goalkeeper Joel Pereira, and he fired over the bar with his eventual effort from around eight yards-out.

Gers played a good offside trap to deny Boyce when Steven Naismith slipped him through, while a super Kent flick had Joe Aribo running in on goal, but pressure from Aidan White meant he put his strike wide as he entered the area.

Naismith headed  Lewis Moore corner wide, while a slip from Hearts almost let Jermain Defoe in, but a combination of Craig Halkett and Sean Clare denied him.

Half-time saw the introduction of Scott Arfield and Matt Polster in place of the previously-booked pairing of Ryan Jack and Jon Flanagan.

And, seemingly with the words of boss Gerrard still ringing in their ears, Rangers scored a goal of real beauty within two minutes of the restart.

Counter-attacking from a Hearts attack where Glen Kamara did superbly to win it from Craig Halkett, Ryan Kent burst forward, with support soon following. The ball appeared to be on for Aribo to Kent’s right, but instead, he picked out Borna Barisic to his left.

Barisic, as he so often does, delivered a super-ball, this time along the ground, and picked out Aribo who had come into the area.

He had his back to goal and couldn’t turn, but he provided a perfect lay-off for Kent, and from 15-yards out slightly to the left of goal, he slewed a stunning drive into the far top-corner to spark pandemonium among the Rangers support in the Roseburn Stand behind the goal.

It really was Gers at their best, and they could have made it 2-0 with a Niko Katic header going just wide, and a Kent strike from 25-yards being deflected over the bar.

However, on 57 minutes, Hearts drew level. Gers, looking to play out, had the ball turned over by Halkett who got it onto Boyce in the right channel.

He cut the ball back for Steven Naismith who was just inside the area, and he curled the ball beyond the reach of McGregor.

Super football from Polster and Aribo on the right ended with Aribo bending a shot just wide as Gers looked to find a way back into the match, but it soon reverted back to the midfield scrap that much of the first-half had been.

Connor Goldson saved Gers with a block on the line from a Conor Washington strike, while sub Sheyi Ojo played-in Defoe at the other end, but as he drifted right of goal his shot ended up going into the stand.

The game had come alive again going into the last 10 minutes, and on 84 minutes, Liam Boyce put Hearts ahead.

A loose clearance presented the ball to the striker on the edge of the area, and with the aid of a deflection, the ball ended up in the back of the net.

That proved to be the winner, and while Gers committed men forward in the latter stages of the match, they couldn’t test Pereira.

 

RANGERS: McGregor; Flanagan (Polster, 45), Goldson, Katic, Barisic; Davis, Jack (Arfield, 45), Kamara (Ojo, 74); Aribo, Defoe, Kent.

SUBS NOT USED: Foderingham, Halliday, Jones, Edmundson.

HEART OF MIDLOTHIAN: Pereira, White (Bozanic, 45), Souttar, Clare, Naismith, Halkett, Moore (Wahsington, 59), Boyce, Sibbick (Ikpeazu, 75), Irving, Henderson.

SUBS NOT USED: Zlamal, Walker, Meshino, Avdijaj.

REFEREE: Steven McLean

ATTENDANCE: 18,539 (3245)

This article was originally posted here

Scott Arfield On Bench – Rangers Team vs Hearts Confirmed

Fixture: Hearts vs Rangers
Competition: Scottish Premiership
Kick-off: 15:00 (UK time)

Rangers have named their starting eleven and substitutes to go up against struggling Hearts in an away Scottish Premiership fixture this afternoon.  

The Gers saw rivals Celtic win their game against Ross County on Saturday to move five points clear at the top of the Premiership table, but Rangers have two games in hand and can again cut the Bhoys’ lead by winning today.

Hearts sit rock bottom of the league table with just 14 points from their 22 games, but they have gone unbeaten in their last three matches across all competitons.

Rangers thrashed Hearts 5-0 at Ibrox in December, however their last visit to Tynecastle in October resulted in a 1-1 draw.

Boss Steven Gerrard has Allan McGregor in goal, while at full-back he slots in Jon Flanagan and Borna Barisic. In central defence, Nikola Katic and Connor Goldson link up. In midfield, Ryan Jack, Steven Davis and Glen Kamara play, while Joe Aribo and Ryan Kent support Jermain Defoe.

If Gerrard needs to try to change the game at any point then he can look to his bench, where options include Scott Arfield and Sheyi Ojo.

Rangers Team vs Hearts

McGregor, Flanagan, Goldson, Katic, Barisic, Jack, Davis, Kamara, Kent, Aribo, Defoe

Substitutes: Foderingham, Edmundson, Halliday, Polster, Jones, Arfield, Ojo

This article was originally posted here

Gers Unchanged In Gorgie

STEVEN GERRARD has named an unchanged side for this afternoon’s Scottish Premiership clash with Heart of Midlothian at Tynecastle.

From the team which defeated St Mirren 2-0 in the League on Wednesday night, Gerrard opts for the exact same XI.

That means it’s a back five of Allan McGregor in goals with Jon Flanagan, Connor Goldson, Nikola Katic and Borna Barisic in front of him.

Ryan Jack, Glen Kamara and Steven Davis are in midfield, while up front, Joe Aribo and Ryan Kent will support Jermain Defoe.

On the bench this afternoon for Gers are Wes Foderingham, George Edmundson, Sheyi Ojo, Andy Halliday, Jordan Jones, Matt Polster and Scott Arfield.

It’s a 3pm kick-off in Gorgie, with full coverage available on RangersTV outside the UK. Join Tom Miller and Iain Ferguson.

RANGERS: McGregor; Flanagan, Goldson, Katic, Barisic; Jack, Kamara, Davis; Aribo, Defoe, Kent.

SUBS: Foderingham, Edmundson, Ojo, Halliday, Jones, Polster, Arfield.

This article was originally posted here

Ibrox European Nights Are Amazing – Borna Barisic

Rangers left-back Borna Barisic has heaped praise on the atmosphere at Ibrox on European nights and is looking forward to the Gers’ Europa League tie against Braga.

The Light Blues have had a solid European campaign this season, having managed to qualify for the Europa League round of 32 from a group consisting of Feyenoord, FC Porto and Young Boys.

Rangers will now face Braga in the round of 32 of the competitions and Gers defender Barisic is expecting a tough challenge from the Portuguese top flight side.

However, the Croatia international is positive that the Gers have what it takes to see off their Portuguese opponents and claim a spot in the Europa League round of 16.

Barisic is delighted with how things have gone for Rangers in Europe and has heaped praise on the atmosphere at Ibrox on European nights.

Europa League nights are something special“, Barisic told Rangers TV.

I always say that it’s amazing, especially when you play at Ibrox. It’s very, very nice

We played in, I think, a very tough group, where we got through the group.

Now we play against Braga. I think they are a very good opponent, they have a very good team.

But we are going to see what happens. We will try to beat them.

Rangers will host Braga in the first leg of the tie on 20th February and the return leg will take place on the 26th.

This article was originally posted here

I’m Very, Very Happy – Borna Barisic Relishing Euro 2020

Rangers full-back Borna Barisic has described the feeling of playing for the Croatia national team as special and big and is looking forward to representing his country at Euro 2020.

Barisic has been in fine form for Rangers this season, nailing down the left-back spot under Steven Gerrard.

The 27-year-old has also experienced success on the international scene and has helped Croatia book their spot at Euro 2020 this summer.

Barisic has termed the feeling of playing for Croatia big and special, and is excited about the prospect of representing his country at Euro 2020 this term.

Croatia will play at least two of their group games in Glasgow and Barisic feels it will be nice to play for his country in front of his friends in Scotland.

That is really, really nice because we play the first game in London then we play here in front of my people, I can say, in front of my friends in Glasgow“, Barisic told Rangers TV.

Of course, when you play for the national team, it is something special, something big. You can feel that in your heart.

I’m very, very happy because we are going to the Euros and because I’m going to represent my country there.

Barisic made eight appearances for Croatia in the Euro 2020 qualifying rounds last year, scoring once and assisting once.

This article was originally posted here

He’s Had Excellent Rangers Grounding – Ayr Boss Mark Kerr Pleased With Jordan Houston

Ayr United manager Mark Kerr has heaped praise on the foundations that Rangers have given to Jordan Houston, but believes there is room for improvement for the former Gers starlet.

Scottish Championship side Ayr have landed 20-year-old right-back Houston from Steven Gerrard’s Rangers.

The Honest Men, who brought in the youngster on loan in the summer, have now made the move permanent, with the player signing a two-year contract.

Expressing his delight at having landed him on a permanent deal, Ayr boss Kerr has heaped praise on Houston for his hard work, power and speed.

The 37-year-old also pointed out how Houston’s foundations are strong, having came up through the ranks at Rangers, but believes there is still room for improvement for the young full-back.

He is young and still has a lot of improvement in him“, Kerr told the club’s official site.

He works hard, is powerful and has real pace.

Jordan has had an excellent grounding coming through the youth system at Rangers so he doesn’t have many bad habits.

Houston will now be looking to kick on with his development at Ayr and clocked the full 90 minutes in his side’s 1-0 win over Inverness on Saturday.

This article was originally posted here

Robbie Delighted With Winner

STRIKER Robbie Ure was delighted to net his first goal for the Development Squad as his last minute goal secured a 2-1 victory for the Gers this afternoon.

The 15-year-old came on as a half-time substitute in the friendly against Huddersfield and got his head on the end of a Kyle McClelland cross late in the game.

Speaking to RangersTV after the match, he said: “It was a great win for the boys and I think that we dug deep because we were 1-0 down in the first-half.

“I think we showed great character to come back and win 2-1 so it was a good win.

“It was enjoyable it was also tough because the bigger boys are tougher than me and they are physical so I just had to believe in my size and hope I could do alright.

“It was good play from the midfield to get it out to Kyle McClelland and it was a great ball from him just hit it right between the goalkeeper and the defence and thankfully I just got my head on it and it was a good goal.

“It is a good achievement hopefully there will be many more to come.

“I thought I played ok I think I could’ve held the ball up a bit better but overall I think it is my second game for the reserves, my first 45 I thought I played ok.”

Ure made his first appearance for the Development squad as a late substitute in Tuesday night’s Glasgow Cup victory over Partick Thistle before also featuring this afternoon.

The youngster says he is loving the opportunity of being part of the squad.

He added:

“It’s great all the lads have made me feel so welcome and I just feel if I can get some more minutes under my belt for this age then I will be happy.

“Graeme Murty has been so good to me he’s played me in the game today so I feel as if I am improving in every game I play up against big boys and that’s what I want to be doing.”

This article was originally posted here