Super Eagles duo of Joe Aribo and Leon Balogun and their Rangers teammates have been given a pat on the back despite crashing out in the quarterfinals of the Scottish league cup on Wednesday.
Rangers coach and former Liverpool great Steven Gerrard dished out the commendation even as he called on the players to push the defeat behind and forge ahead in premier league title pursuit.
The Light Blues have been in fantastic shape and have enjoyed 27 games unbeaten run before Wednesday surprise defeat in the hands of St Mirren. While Gerrard agrees that the loss was regretable he insists it should not make the players lose focus losing just one match since March.
He said: “I think it’s extremely important how we react from this.
“You’ve got two choices. You either let it linger and feel sorry for yourself – or you react in the right way. You stand up and be counted. “We’ll take the criticism and what is coming our way.
“It will be new because we’ve been on such a fantastic run.
Gerrard shouldered the blame after St Mirren ended his side’s 27-game unbeaten start to the season on Wednesday, with Conor McCarthy’s injury-time goal giving the hosts a shock 3-2 Scottish League Cup quarter-final victory.
Rangers were ahead in the seventh minute through defender Connor Goldson but Jamie McGrath equalised from the penalty spot just before halftime and scored again eight minutes after the restart.
Steven Davis struck back for Rangers in the 88th minute before McCarthy smashed the ball home in the 92nd minute to spark wild celebrations and put St Mirren into a semi-final match-up against Livingston.
“This one is on me,” Gerrard said. “We just never performed well enough to get the result we wanted.
Rangers have reached the last 32 of this season’s Europa League after coming through the group stage unbeaten.
Gerrard’s side lead the Scottish Premiership by 13 points ahead of defending champions Celtic, who have played two games less, and host Motherwell in the league on Saturday.
Aribo was in full action in Wednesday’s encounter while compatriot Leon Balogun was in action for 84 minutes before making way for Romania import Ianis Hagi.