Photo by ANDREAS HILLERGREN/TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Images

‘Outstanding’: Steven Gerrard picks out 28-year-old Rangers star after Malmo defeat

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard picked out Filip Helander as a positive after Tuesday night’s display in a Champions League qualifier against Malmo. 

The Scottish champions suffered a 2-1 away defeat yesterday in the first leg of their Champions League third round qualifier. It means they’ve got plenty of work to do in next week’s return leg at Ibrox. 

Swedish hosts Malmo scored two quick-fire goals at the beginning of the second half to take control of the tie.

Soren Rieks and Veljko Birmancevic both netted inside five minutes of the restart, but a 95th minute goal from Steven Davis leaves the match nicely poised for next Tuesday. 

Gerrard gave credit to goalscorer Davis for his industrious performance. Also, the Light Blues boss mentioned teammate Helander.

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The 28-year-old centre-back was a strong presence in the heart of defence and had some extra motivation playing against a former club.

“We had two magnificent performances tonight. Filip Helander played at a Champions League level. I thought he was outstanding,” Gerrard said.

“Steven Davis, but I’m running out of plaudits. He’s someone that doesn’t give up, keeps going until the end. He’s provided a really big moment that’s given us an important lifeline going into next week.”

Photo by ANDREAS HILLERGREN/TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Images

Malmo showdown is huge for Gerrard

If you look at how well Gerrard has done during a few years in charge at Rangers, everything has been on an upwards trajectory. It would be an amazing cycle if he can get the club into the champions League group stages.

His side are three games away from achieving that, but that dream could be ended next week against a solid Malmo team.

The Scottish champions have the quality to blow them away at Ibrox if they put their foot down. However, understandably so, it’s taking some time to get up to the incredible level they were operating at last season.

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