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Steven Davis hails Rangers’ victory at St Mirren as ‘step in right direction’

SoccerNews in Scottish Premier League 8 Oct 2023

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Steven Davis believes Rangers’ 3-0 win at St Mirren was a “step in the right direction” for the managerless Ibrox club.

The former Gers midfielder, whose contract had expired in the summer but was continuing his rehab from a knee injury at the club, took up the reins on an interim basis last weekend after Michael Beale departed following the 3-1 home defeat by Aberdeen.

Davis’ first game in charge was an embarrassing 2-1 Europa League defeat against Aris Limassol in Cyprus on Thursday night.

Some Rangers fans unravelled banners early in the game in Paisley which read ‘heartless passionless leaderless; not fit to wear our colours’ before skipper James Tavernier scored from the spot in the 29th minute after Saints’ Ryan Strain was shown a red card by referee Nick Walsh for denying a clear goal-scoring opportunity.

Attacker Abdallah Sima stroked in a second in the 70th minute and Tavernier hammered in a third in the 90th minute as Rangers leapfrogged Stephen Robinson’s side into second place, seven points behind leaders Celtic going into the international break where a new manager is likely to be appointed.

“Robbo has them really well organised so we are delighted to come here, keep a clean sheet and score three goals,” said Davis, who revealed 17-year-old debutant Zak Lovelace had to come off in the first half with a hamstring complaint.

“It is a step in the right direction, going into the international break.

“It was important to come here as a group, and the fans as well, and win.

“There is still a long way to go but it is certainly a step in the right direction.

“We have to take the positives out of today. But we will not get ahead of ourselves. It is only a small step to where we want to go but it is a positive step and I’m sure the players will take some belief from it.”

On the fan banner, Davis said: “People are entitled to their opinion. Players share the same frustration as the fans.

“Obviously we get the opportunity as staff and players to change things on the pitch.

“This is not where I wanted to be as I wanted two positive results from the two games.

“But I just thanked them for their effort and their desire. It is not easy with a quick turnaround after Thursday night.

“I couldn’t have asked any more from them in terms of what they have given me.”

On his own future, the Northern Irishman said: “I really don’t know. My remit was to come and take these two games, first and foremost.

“Now it gives the club and the board an opportunity to get someone in place.

“Up to this point I’ve continued my rehab and need to make a decision in terms of that on whether I play on or not.

“I have always thought that down the line I would go into management.

“This opportunity came out of the blue and it has been a steep learning curve.

“I think I have learned a lot over the two games. I have had a lot of support in terms of the staff behind me and in the building.

“That has been massive for me and for the players as well.”

St Mirren boss Robinson had no complaints about Strain’s red card for handling the ball near the line which proved so pivotal in what was his first league defeat of the season.

He said: “I thought we were excellent to start with. The red card changes the whole game.

“People have to make decisions in the game. It’s just a reaction from him. It’s a poor decision – we know that – and the referee gets it 100 per cent correct.

“I was miles away and thought at first it had hit a Rangers hand but obviously it didn’t. But it’s definitely a sending-off.

“If you go 1-0 down with 11 men we’re still right in the game. We’re playing really well. But the red card changes it completely.”

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