Steven Gerrard hails importance of “ugly” Dundee win and praises Rangers keeper Jon McLaughlin for bailing them out

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Steven Gerrard described Rangers slender 1-0 victory over Dundee as “ugly” but reckons it will put his side in the perfect frame of mind ahead of their trip to the Czech Republic on Thursday.

The Light Blues face Sparta Prague on matchday two of the Europa League this week, with the Gers looking to get off the mark in Group A after losing their opening fixture against Lyon.

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Alfredo Morelos clipped the ball through for Joe Aribo to convert the crucial match-winner at Dens Park on Saturday, which maintained Rangers narrow one point lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership.

The champions had to soak up a lot of pressure from the home side and the result may have been different had Dundee capitalised on Gers keeper Jon McLaughlin’s trip on Paul McMullan inside the box.

The Scotland international redeemed himself by blocking substitute Jason Cummings second half penalty with his boot.

Gerrard was effusive in his praise for McLaughlin who endured a busy afternoon.

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He said: “We knew what type of game to expect coming here. I think there’s certain SPFL games away from home where you know you’ve got to hustle, grind, fight and do the ugly bits.

“I thought to a man we were really honest, and we tried to defend as well as we can.

“There are still bones we can pick out of the game. At times towards the end we could have killed the game with a bit more quality, but the players showed great hunger to get three points.

“We’ve needed Jon to bail us out because we haven’t defended one situation well by leaving ourselves two vs two at the back, so there’s a lot to work on but it’s a big win.

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“Jon was the best player on the pitch by a mile. He’s a fantastic goalkeeper and has shown his quality over the last three games. He was an absolute powerhouse.

“No one will remember how we got them in time and I’ve also managed to keep players fresh for Thursday night, so there are lot of positives to take away from this game.

Rangers will now turn their focus towards Thursday’s visit to the Stadion Letna in Prague and Gerrard has targeted their first win in the group.

He stated: “We love playing in Europe. It’s the reason we have fought so hard over the years to be at this level.

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“We were disappointed not to qualify against Malmo, but we had to move on from that defeat pretty quickly and we did.

“Now it’s about trying to get off the mark in our group and getting maximum points. If we do then we will have recovered our bad start against Lyon.

“It will be a tough game, but the lads will be ready and we’re excited at the chance to get a result for the fans.”

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