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Gerrard delighted with ‘huge achievement’ in Europa League

The Rangers boss said his side came through a tough test to reach the knockout stages.

Gerrard delighted with ‘huge achievement’ in Europa League SNS Group

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard applauded his players for their efforts after the Ibrox side qualified for the Europa League last 32 with a game to spare.

Belgian opponents Standard Liege took the lead twice in the group stage match in Glasgow but goals from Connor Goldson and then James Tavernier brought the hosts level before Scott Arfield scored a second half winner.

Rangers reached the last 16 of the competition last season but Gerrard said that the calibre of opposition this year meant that securing a place in the knockout rounds with a game to spare was “huge”.

“Qualifying is a huge achievement if you think of the quality teams in the group, with Benfica, Lech Poznan and Standard Liege,” he said. “All really tough opponents.

“We’ve had to fight to the end of every single game to get what we need to qualify, so to do that with a game to go is really impressive. The players deserve a lot of praise for that.”

The Rangers boss said that he felt that the ability to fight back twice and then press on to take three points showed the mental strength of his players as well as their other qualities.

“It was certainly a stiff test,” he said. “That’s for sure. Standard Liege are a fantastic team with real dangerous players.

“They caused us real problems during the first half and we had to tweak certain things at half-time.

“We asked for a bit more in certain areas and I thought our second-half performance was much better. Over the course of the 90 minutes I thought we just deserved this result.

“We showed amazing character to come back into the game in the way we did.

“I’ve been delighted with that attitude all season. All the tests we’ve had we’ve stood up. The game was finely set at half-time and it was about who was going to come out and really take this game and show they wanted it more. We really looked like a proper Rangers team in the second half.”

Rangers will play their final group game against Lech Poznan knowing that a win would see them top the group and go into the knockout draw on December 14 as a seeded team.