Steven Gerrard has warned his Rangers players they will be replaced if they do not respond to their Scottish League Cup semi-final defeat to Aberdeen.
Gerrard’s hopes of leading the Ibrox side into his first final as a boss were ended with a 1-0 loss as Aberdeen midfielder Lewis Ferguson headed home a late winner at Hampden.
Aberdeen 1-0 Rangers
As it happened
The Light Blues had only one of 15 shots on target and Gerrard admitted that his side were not good enough.
“This one will hurt for a good while,” said the Rangers boss. “It’s Aberdeen’s day, we wish them well. They deserved to go through because they created that bit of magic in the business end of the box and they punished us on a set piece, so we got what we deserved.
“I pick the players, I sign the players, I set the game plan so I’ll take responsibility for this but what I’ll assure everyone is that won’t be our last semi-final.
“Without a doubt we will be back in semi-finals and if the players we have now don’t improve and start producing the quality in the final third my job is to go and find the players that will do. Otherwise we’re never going to win anything.”
Umar Sadiq made his first start up front for Rangers with Alfredo Morelos and Kyle Lafferty unavailable and Gerrard said they were “sorely missed”.
“To be fair to Umar in the last two or three weeks he’s shown signs and improvements,” Gerrard said. “Whether that’s enough we’ll have to judge that moving forward.
“We can’t point fingers and blame Umar, the only thing I’d say to him is when you go round the keeper stand up and put it in the back of the net, don’t dive or you’re going to get a yellow card.”
Rangers captain James Tavernier offered an apology to supporters after a fifth consecutive semi-final defeat.
“It’s a new team so for a lot of the boys this is their first defeat at Hampden,” he said.
“But I can only apologise on behalf of the lads today to the fans watching the game.
“It’s not good enough for a Rangers team not to be in the final. We’re really disappointed and we’ve now got a point to prove against Kilmarnock on Wednesday.”
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