John Lundstram insists Hearts demolition has galvanised Rangers squad as midfielder aims to cement regular starting spot

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The 27-year-old has been limited to appearances from the bench this season but is hopeful of keeping his place in the side against Hibs on Wednesday night

John Lundstram is hopeful his standout performance during Rangers 5-0 rout of third-placed Hearts will be enough to retain his place in Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s starting line-up going forward.

The central midfielder has been used predominately from the bench this season since joining the Ibrox club from Sheffield United in the summer, but he took his chance to impress against the Jambos on Sunday.

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Lundstram, signed by previous Light Blues boss Steven Gerrard, is eager to impress once more when the champions host Hibernian on Wednesday night.

John Lundstram of Rangers during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Dundee United at Tannadice John Lundstram of Rangers during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Dundee United at Tannadice
John Lundstram of Rangers during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Dundee United at Tannadice | Getty Images

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Lundstram said: “It was definitely pleasing (to start the Hearts game). It’s just what I’m there for so I’m pleased to come in and do a job.

“The lads were performing well up until the Celtic game so it was hard to get a look in.

“If there is dips in form or injuries to players, the squad gets rotated and you’ve got to come in and take your chance and hopefully I’ve done that.

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“The social media reaction is definitely bigger at Rangers. I knew how much of a big club this was before I joined but I didn’t quite realise it was as big as it is and the scrutiny you come under to perform.

“You’ve got to perform week-in, week-out wherever you’re at, but at a club like Rangers it’s hard to put into words how big a club this is.”

Asked whether he felt his display against Hearts was his most complete performance of the season to date, Lundstram replied: “Yeah maybe so, you could say.

“I’m not really sure, you guys are out there to make that presumption but the result is the biggest one, the reaction from the game against Celtic is just what was needed and thankfully we got that.”

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Van Bronckhorst got the reaction he was looking for from his squad in the wake of their 3-0 Old Firm defeat to Celtic last week as they eased aside Hearts.

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Lundstram insists his team-mates have now set the level required for the rest of the season as they aim to wrestle their lead at the top of the Premiership table back from their city rivals.

The 27-year-old admitted: “I think it was a reaction that was needed. Obviously the Celtic game left us all disappointed so we just wanted a big reaction and going into the Hearts game we were all showing it, so it was a good one.

“Things get said but you need to be truthful with each other and be truthful with yourself. You know within yourself if you’ve done enough in a game or if you haven’t so, of course, the players speak to each other and we say what we think.

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“It’s needed and you’ve got to do that to push on. We’re all pulling in one direction at the end of the day.

“It’s got to be (the level set now), definitely. I think you can see with Rangers, you’ve got to be on the front foot at all times and that’s something we took into Hearts.

“We’ve got to keep it going that’s the minimum really. We’ve all known what’s needed for the club but it’s about going out there and showing it on the pitch, which we did against Hearts, so we’ve just got to keep doing that now.

Ryan Jack excelled for Rangers in their 5-0 win over Hearts as he made his first starting appearance for the Ibrox club in almost a year. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)Ryan Jack excelled for Rangers in their 5-0 win over Hearts as he made his first starting appearance for the Ibrox club in almost a year. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)
Ryan Jack excelled for Rangers in their 5-0 win over Hearts as he made his first starting appearance for the Ibrox club in almost a year. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

“It has galvanised us definitely although it shouldn’t take something like that to do that, but you saw a reaction and we must have the same mentality going forward. I’m sure it’ll be good for us.”

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Lundstram played alongside Ryan Jack for the first time on Sunday and he reckons the Scotland international will be a vital player for the Gers during the title run-in.

He added: “Ryan is top class. Everyone knows that at the club, the fans, everyone sees his quality. All the midfielders at the club, there are plenty of players who are top class and Jacko’s definitely one of them.”

Meanwhile, Rangers have been allocated 500 tickets for next Thursday’s UEFA Europa League tie against Borussia Dortmund at the Westfalenstadion.

The Bundesliga giants have set the capacity for the match at 10,000 spectators due to ongoing Coronavirus restrictions in Germany.

A Gers statement read: “While we share in our supporters’ disappointment at not having a larger allocation, we are pleased we will have some travelling fans in the stadium.”

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