Steven Gerrard revealed he substituted Ryan Jack early in Rangers’ 8-0 thumping of Hamilton as a favour to Scotland boss Steve Clarke.
The Gers manager decided he would take no risks with the midfielder ahead of the Scots’ crunch Euro 2020 play-off with Serbia on Thursday and replaced him at half-time with new recruit Bongani Zungu.
The Ibrox side were already 4-0 up at that stage and went on to score another four as they netted eight times in a top-flight match for the first time since 1981.
Gerrard was glad he could do his bit to help Clarke’s team as they look to end Scotland’s 22-year wait to reach a major finals.
And he also extended a similar favour to Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough ahead of their play-off final with Slovakia after opting to leave veteran midfielder Steven Davis out of his squad completely.
Gerrard said: “I made the change at half-time just to respect the lads that have got big international games.
“The game was done at half-time, with all due respect, and I wanted to respect Jacko and the Scotland situation.
“That is the reason that I left Davo out too. He is fully fit and could have been involved, but they have got two huge cup finals and I have to respect that.
“I am in a position now where I have got strong players in and around the squad that I can use and that is what we did today.”
The 8-0 drubbing of Accies was the fifth domestic game in a row in which Rangers have kept a clean sheet and their 16 shut-out in total this season.
“We want to be a tough team to play against,” said the Rangers boss. “I think some opposition teams and individuals have had it too easy. They’ve come here and enjoyed themselves too much in the past. That can’t happen.
“This needs to be a fortress and we need to keep working towards that. We want to be a horrible team to play against out of possession, we want to be well organised.
“We want to protect our goal and our penalty box for our lives and that’s what we’ve been doing.”