Steven Gerrard starts managerial career with Rangers win
Steven Gerrard made a “ satisfactory ” start to life as a manager as his Rangers side claimed a hard – fought 2 – 0 victory over Macedonians Shkupi in Europa League qualifying at Ibrox on Thursday .Jamie Murphy’ s low first – half finish and James Tavernier ’ s injury – time penalty proved enough to give the 54 – time Scottish champions a two – goal lead to take into next week ’ s second leg of the first – round qualifying tie .
“ Satisfactory. We ’ ve still got work to do, ” the former Liverpool great told BT Sport .
“ We certainly deserved the second goal . The game could have been 3 – 0 , 4 – 0 , 5 – 0 if we had been a bit more clinical or got a little bit more luck in the final third . ”
Ex – England captain Gerrard , whose only previous coaching experience came with Liverpool ’ s youth teams , gave debuts to his former Liverpool team – mate Jon Flanagan and former Burnley midfielder Scott Arfield .
“ There ’ s a lot of new players about , we ’ re still feeling our way in , it ’ s the first game , ” he added . “ A lot of positives but still work to do. ”
The hosts broke the deadlock in the 23 rd minute , as Murphy , who only joined on a permanent deal from Premier League side Brighton in May , drove a low shot through Shkupi goalkeeper Suat Zendeli , who should have done better , to score the first goal of the Gerrard era .
The visitors had started brightly , with Blagoja Ljamcevski hitting the crossbar early on , but Rangers dominated after Murphy ’ s strike , only for their profligacy to keep their opponents in the tie .
Colombian striker Alfredo Morelos got the ball caught under his feet when in space in the box , while Arfield miskicked with the goal at his mercy .
Rangers started slowly in the second period before the introduction of Liverpool loanee Ovie Ejaria livened things up , but Josh Windass headed over when unmarked .
The Scots boosted their hopes of avoiding a repeat of last year ’ s humiliating exit at the same stage to Liechtenstein outfit Progres Niederkorn , though, as Murphy was brought down to win a 91 st-minute penalty .
New captain Tavernier stepped up to slam the ball down the middle , cuing a fist – pump from the watching Gerrard .
“ Having seen them and what they ’ re about , they gave us one or two minor scares but I ’ m very confident we can go away and score goals against them , ” said the 38 -year – old .