Steven Davis issues Celtic challenge to Steven Gerrard’s Rangers before Europa League tie


Rangers midfielder Steven Davis insists Steven Gerrard’s side must ensure the disappointment of losing to Celtic does not hamper them moving forward.

The Gers lost 2-0 at Ibrox to their arch rivals before the international break through goals from Odsonne Edouard and Jonny Hayes, as Jordan Jones was sent off late on.

Rangers had won both of their two home matches against their Old Firm rivals last season and had hoped to land an early blow on the Hoops as they seek to end their eight-year stronghold on the Scottish Premiership title.

Gerrard’s charges bounced back with a 3-1 defeat of Livingston at the weekend, but Celtic continued their 100 per cent start by beating Hamilton 1-0 to leave Rangers three points behind after five games.

The Glasgow giants turn their attentions to Europe tomorrow night (8pm) as they take on Feyenoord in a marquee showdown under the lights. 

They won just one of their six Europa League group stage matches last year and missed out on the competition’s knockout rounds, so will naturally hope to go one better this time around.

And Davis has implored his team-mates to completely forget any lingering disappointment of their derby defeat and focus on regaining winning momentum.

“We have a lot of big games coming up,” he said. “Every week is a big game at Rangers. 

“Everyone knows the pressures of playing for the club but I’m looking forward to what’s ahead.

“Up until the game before the international break the season was going very well. That defeat was a major disappointment. What we have to do is not let it affect us moving forward.

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“There is still a long way to go and a lot of things to play for. We have to make sure it was only a setback and kick on.”

Davis was a member of the Rangers team that reached the final of this competition in 2008, when it was known as the UEFA Cup, having overcome the likes of Werder Bremen, Sporting Lisbon and Fiorentina before coming unstuck against Zenit St Petersburg.

And while he acknowledges the difficulty of a group containing Porto, Young Boys and Feyenoord – all of whom have played in the Champions League in the last three years – Davis cannot wait to lock horns with teams from across the continent. 

He added: “I have happy memories from playing in Europe in my first spell and we have some really good ties coming up in our group.

“It will be a tough group but it’s one I think everyone at the club will look forward to and we will relish the battles ahead.”

Rangers will be without £7million summer signing Ryan Kent against Eredivisie outfit Feyenoord after he picked up a hamstring injury against Livingston, while Jon Flanagan and Jones are also both absent.



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