Friday 23 August 2019

Gerrard not content with second best in Old Firm battle

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard. Photo: Getty Images
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard. Photo: Getty Images

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Steven Gerrard is not satisfied with second best as he strives to make Rangers real challengers next season.

The Light Blues guaranteed the Scottish Premiership runners-up slot by beating Aberdeen with two James Tavernier penalties yesterday.

Their 2-0 Ibrox win delayed Celtic's wait for an inevitable title as they closed the gap to nine points with nine still available.

But Gerrard will not be happy until his side are putting up a proper fight for the league crown.

"Second place is not enough," he said his side ended Aberdeen's four-year run as 'best of the rest'.

"We need more quality to help the 11 and we need to continue to improve our discipline and our injury record.

"If we make those three things happen, I'm confident we can be more competitive next season."

Celtic had moved 12 points clear at the top with a 1-0 win over fourth-placed Kilmarnock at Parkhead on Saturday.

On an afternoon when tributes were paid to Billy McNeill, his fellow No 5 Jozo Simunovic scored the decisive goal in the 67th minute.

Altercation

Elsewhere, Paris St Germain's Neymar was involved in an altercation with a spectator after Saturday's French Cup final, appearing in video footage to strike the fan following his team's defeat.

Stade Rennes stunned PSG 6-5 on penalties after rallying from two goals down to draw 2-2 in a match where Neymar netted.

As the PSG squad walked up to receive their runners-up medals, Neymar initially pushed a supporter's hand away as he tried to record him on his mobile phone. The Brazilian appeared to jab at the spectator.

In Spain, Adrian Embarba struck from the penalty spot as Rayo Vallecano grabbed a LaLiga lifeline with a shock victory over Real Madrid. The decisive moment came in the 23rd minute after Jesus Vallejo fouled Javi Guerra.

Real turned in a disjointed display and rarely looked like dragging themselves back into the game, with Rayo good value for a 1-0 win which leaves them six points adrift of safety with three games to play, but with hope renewed.

The race for the final Champions League qualifying spot is no nearer a resolution after three of the clubs in the running all lost yesterday.

Meanwhile, Lionel Messi sealed Barcelona's 26th title on Saturday by coming off the bench to score the goal in a 1-0 win over Levante.

Barca's captain decided the game and the title in the 61st minute as he freed himself from two defenders with his right foot before using his left to plant the ball into the far bottom corner.

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