Rangers manager Steven Gerrard calls for Ibrox crowd help in Champions League qualifier second leg

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has asked for the Ibrox crowd to help lift his side when they face Malmo in Champions League qualifier second leg next Tuesday.

The Scottish Premiership champions were sucker-punched early in the second half with two quick goals from Soren Rieks and Veljko Birmancevic, facing a huge task next week.

However, a moment of quality with the final kick of the game saw Steven Davis hand Rangers a huge lifeline, cutting the deficit to 2-1.

In front of an Ibrox crowd, Rangers will have a good chance of overturning the first leg result and Gerrard has called for their assistance next week.

He told RangersTV: “I’m disappointed with the result and the couple of goals we’ve conceded. But there’s been a big moment at the end of that game which is has gone in our favour. It’s a big moment and sets things up for next week.

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“It’s not the position we wanted to be in, but it’s better than going in [to the second leg] at 2-0, and we were also on the verge of maybe going even worse as well. Injury time was very big for us, but over the 90 minutes, it hasn’t been enough.

“We’ll have to go up a level individually and collectively next week and I’m going to call on the Ibrox crowd. I’ve never done it before, but we’re going to need them for the full 90 minutes in full voice.

“With that behind us and the mentality change behind us, it could be a big moment.

“I’m running out of plaudits for Davo [Steven Davis], he is someone who doesn’t give up and keeps going until the end and he’s provided a real big moment that’s given us an important lifeline going into next week.

MALMO, SWEDEN - AUGUST 03: The Rangers players celebrate Steven Davis' goal during a Champions League qualifier between Malmo and Rangers at the Eleda Stadion, on August 03, 2021, in Malmo, Sweden. (Photo by Christoffer Borg Mattisson / SNS Group)
Rangers celebrate after Steven Davis’ late goal

“It is what it is. I don’t think we deserved to win the game 2-0 or any worse than that. At half-time, we were OK, I thought we were in a good shape. We were looking the most likely [to score], but we lost our way for four or five minutes and conceded two poor goals.

“But we pushed and showed belief, and Davo has provided a very big moment because the mentality has changed in injury time.”

Gerrard made seven changes from the weekend victory against Livingston, and made just one change during the game with Fashion Sakala coming on for Cedric Itten.

Malmo's Vejko Birmancevic celebrates his goal to make it 2-0
Malmo’s Vejko Birmancevic celebrates his goal to make it 2-0

“I need to get some bodies back to help us,” Gerrard added. “You would have seen tonight that we’re very young in terms of the bench. It’s difficult throwing young lads into that situation and I wanted to protect them.

“At the weekend, I’m hoping to have [Joe] Aribo, [Glen] Kamara, [Leon] Balogun, [Kemar] Roofe, Jon [McLaughlin] comes back into the thinking as well so there’ll be a lot stronger in terms of the squad at the weekend, we’ll need to be and perform better.

“I’ve said to the boys in there that my honest opinion is there are six or seven that need to raise their level and raise it sharply.”

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