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Gerrard salutes 'heroic' Rangers after Villarreal draw

The Ibrox boss praised his players after holding on for a point in the Europa League.

Steven Gerrard reflected on a "heroic night" at Ibrox after ten-man Rangers held Villarreal to a goalless draw.

The Light Blues played the second half a man down after Daniel Candeias saw red just before the interval.

But Gerrard's side grabbed a point against the La Liga big-spenders to keep their qualification hopes alive.

Rangers now know they will progress to the knockout rounds if they win in Vienna in the group's final match.

Gerrard said: "Heroic night, I'm very proud of the players.

"I think Daniel Candeias has a lot of friends in that dressing room.

"Every player to a man rolled their sleeves up and dug in against a top team full of fantastic players.

"There was a World Cup winner in there as well, so to compete against a team of this level over two games and not lose, I'm very proud and satisfied."

Goalkeeper Allan McGregor was the hero for Rangers on the night, making a string of stunning saves to frustrate the visitors.

Gerrard was lost for words when describing the Scotland shot-stopper's showing.

He added: "Wow, I'm running out of things to say about him, he has been top class since day one.

"Them saves tonight, just wow."

Ovie Ejaria was one of four players replaced in Rangers' starting line-up for the match.

The Liverpool loanee was late for a training session earlier in the week but Gerrard refuted claims that was the reason behind Ejaria's omission.

He said: "It was tactical, I wanted energy and legs in the middle three positions.

"He was late a couple of days ago, but he came and apologised, the matter was closed.

"I'm not going to drop someone for such a big game just before the game because they were late, no chance."

Rangers have now set up a decisive match in Austria as they look to reach the last 32 of the Europa League in Gerrard's first season as manager.

The former Liverpool coach continued: "The players have set up a fantastic match and opportunity to go into the last 32 in Europe.

"That's enormous strides if we manage to do that.

"We've two weeks to prepare for that game, we'll go over to Vienna and give it everything we have got."

https://stv.tv/sport/football/1433323-ten-man-rangers-hold-villarreal-to-goalless-draw-at-ibrox/ | default

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