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Steven Gerrard: Medical staff not to blame for Rangers injuries

Rangers v Dundee United – Scottish Premiership – Ibrox Stadium
(Image credit: Ian Rutherford)

Steven Gerrard insists his Rangers medical staff are not to blame for Saturday’s injury spree.

The Ibrox boss was left looking on with dismay as four of his key men failed to finish their record-breaking 4-0 win over Dundee United.

Leon Balogun did not even make it as far as kick-off after feeling a quad muscle tighten up during the warm-up.

Ryan Jack and Brandon Barker both went down inside the opening 20 minutes with calf and hamstring injuries, respectively.

Gerrard was then left fearing the worst when Alfredo Morelos – who had replaced Barker – hit the deck midway through the second half following a shocking studs-up challenge from United defender Ryan Edwards.

Thankfully for the Light Blues boss, the £20million-rated Colombian suffered no serious structural damage to his knee but did have to go off on a stretcher with a nasty gash.

Jack spent most of last week with the Scotland squad but Gerrard insists the preparation work put in by his staff was not the reason for three players limping off early.

And he is hopeful Balogun and Morelos will be fit to face Lincoln Red Imps in Thursday’s opening Europa League qualifier.

Gerrard said: “It’s something that we will certainly look into but in terms of preparation and trusting how my staff go about things this is the first time we have had a day like this when things have gone against us.

“I don’t think we can do anything about Alfredo’s injury. It’s an impact injury.

“We think Leon will be fine. We think we got it before it was an injury, it was a bit of tightness and we made the right decision to take him out of the team.

“I think we have come away with two injuries rather than four, but let’s see how the next few days go.”

Rangers broke Celtic’s 114-year clean sheet record as they became the first Scottish side to ever kick-off a campaign with seven straight shut-outs.

That has got Gers fans believing this could finally be their season to halt the Hoops’ reign of dominance.

And after Saturday’s win – sealed with goals from Ryan Kent, James Tavernier, Kemar Roofe and Scott Arfield – midfielder Steven Davis said: “I think we have definitely got the quality to do it, but we have to make sure we go and show that. That is what it is all about. There are still a lot of areas we can improve on.

“We started the season really strongly last season as well, but I certainly think the squad as a whole is stronger. The quality in the squad is better.”

Lawrence Shankland made his United return after a month out but told DUTV after his side’s heavy defeat: “It was simply not good enough.

“When you come here, you have to bring your A-game. But we didn’t. We were slack in possession, disorganised. We got what we deserved.

“It was good to be back out there but it’s hard to take positives from that.”