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Steven Gerrard savours Rangers poetry in motion as he improves his brilliant Euro record - big match verdict

Daily Record logoDaily Record 02/10/2020 Michael Gannon

It was National Poetry Day in the UK’s classrooms yesterday and it can only be hoped the teachers had their kids tuned in to the Rangers TV pay-per-view for their homework.

The youngsters would have seen poetry in motion as Steven Gerrard ’s side taught Galatasaray a lesson to stroll into the Europa League group stage for the third year on the spin.

Apparently the theme of the this year’s literary event was vision – which Gers had in abundance last night.

Gerrard’s men have managed to take an impressive amount of scalps in Europe in recent times and here was another cracker.

The Ibrox men didn’t miss a beat and they didn’t need to rhyme as they had rhythm and Light Blues.

Rangers gave Galatasaray the runaround in Glasgow, dominating from the start, soaking up some pre-half-time pressure before pouncing with a stunning quick-fire double after the break – surviving a late scare – to turf out the Turkish giants.

The football flowed in the build-up to both goals like a Shakespeare sonnet as Scott Arfield and James Tavernier applied the killer final lines.

Now they have the chance to make some more among the big boys – as well as make a few quid for the final few days of the transfer window.

Gerrard can tool up for the Premiership push as well as the group glamour, and as an added bonus, dumping the Turkish rivals is a huge step towards the Scottish champs being able to bypass the Champions League qualifiers next season.

As if there wasn’t enough at stake in Scotland this year.

But that can wait. This was a night to savour first.

Gerrard wasn’t without his concerns going in.

Ryan Jack and Cedric Itten were struggling but both managed to get stripped to sit on the bench and Borna Barisic was back in.

There wasn’t too much need for tinkering from the Gers boss.

Jordan Jones had a stormer at Motherwell at the weekend but there was no way Ianis Hagi wasn’t going to get the nod against his old man’s side.

Dad Gheorghe was king of Istanbul when his son was born and sometimes fate just needs a bit of temptation.

Galatasaray might not quite be the side they were back in those days but they remain a

formidable force at this level.


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They got to the Champions League group stage last season, where they were on the end of a couple of doings from PSG and Real Madrid on the way to finishing bottom.

But that’s a busy support group these days.

The bookies didn’t agree with Gerrard’s claim the Turks were the favourites though – and it’s not often those chaps get it wrong.

The turf accountants would have been sitting comfortable after the start Rangers made. A lot is made of Galatasaray’s

reputation – but the Ibrox men have made a name for themselves in the Europa League in recent terms.

a group of football players on a field © SNS Group

Before last night, the Light Blues had lost just once on their own patch in 18 games – and that was to a classy Bayern Leverkusen side in the last 16, back in the good old pre-lockdown days.

Ibrox would have been rocking for Galatasaray last night. Instead it was empty.

But if the punters had been in, they would have been bouncing early on as their side carved out several decent chances.

Alfredo Morelos has plenty on his plate, from chasing Ally McCoist’s European goal record to going up against his big hero Radamel Falcao.

But the Gers striker also nearly got an opportunity on a plate after 70 seconds when Hagi nudged the ball in behind and the Colombian ace was a whisker away from beating keeper Fatih Ozturk to pinch an opener.

It was an early confidence boost for the Ibrox side.

Conor Goldson’s header was deflected over the top, Morelos headed across goal when Tavernier was steaming in at the back post to bury and there was a big handball shout as well in amidst the opening flurry.

Galatasaray found their feet but they didn’t need a leg up, with Goldson and Arfield getting in a mess before Sofiane Feghouli shanked his effort miles wide.

But the home side were comfortable. Ryan Kent was giving his marker grief on one side, Hagi was drifting inside on the other, Morelos was always lurking menacingly. The Turks turned up eventually and Gerrard’s backline had to have their wits about them as the Turks started knocking the ball around as the half fizzled out.

Morelos fluffed a chance to rattle Galatasaray just a minute into the second half.

The hitman should have buried his free header from Kent’s cross but he steered it safely in to Ozturk’s grasp.

It was the kind of miss that can be costly in Europe – but Arfield had other plans.

The finish with the outside of his boot was delicious. The build up was even more so, as Kent fed Morelos, the Colombian deftly dummied and Hagi cutely cushioned the ball in to Arfield’s path. It was just what Gers needed.

Caution was replaced with a swagger and all of a sudden the ball was being zipped around.

It was a sensational move that saw Rangers grab the second.

The play swept from one side of the pitch to the other, Kent and Hagi were involved and it eventually found Barisic, who made a beeline for the byeline.

His cross took a nick off a defender on the way over and Tavernier was deep behind enemy lines to pounce with a close-range header.

Galatasaray seemed stunned and didn’t look like even they believed there was a way back until Marcao popped up with his header with just three minutes to go.

But this Gers side was too well versed to let it slip.

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