Gerrard airs SPFL fixture gripe after Europa League win

Steven Gerrard has vowed to continue demanding more of his Rangers squad after watching them thrash Marseille 4-0 at Ibrox.

Boss Steven Gerrard says Rangers need more help from the Scottish Professional Football League over kick-off times for fixtures following European games.

The Ibrox manager also called for bitter rivals Celtic to receive assistance from the authorities as both Glasgow clubs battle to get through the group stage of the Europa League.

Rangers must next face St Johnstone at 12.15pm BST on Sunday, while Scottish Premiership leaders Celtic host Kilmarnock at 1pm.

Stressing he was not complaining, Gerrard declared it odd that the league would bring the kick-offs for the games forward from their 3pm slots on Sunday.

“Certainly for us and Celtic, you would like to think that our own league would help us in terms of kick-off times,” Gerrard said.

Rangers got their Europa League Group G campaign off to a winning start thanks to Sheyi Ojo’s stunner against Feyenoord, a match which turned out to be Gerrard’s 75th in charge of the club.

Celtic came away from France with a 1-1 draw after Ryan Christie’s second-half penalty against Rennes in the earlier kick-off.

Gerrard’s side trail Celtic by three points going into Sunday’s league games, which are followed by the eagerly-anticipated Edinburgh derby between Hibernian and Hearts.

He added: “You are kicking off at eight o’clock on a Thursday night and your players, [with] the adrenaline, can’t get to sleep until three or four o’clock in the morning – and then our league, who are supposed to be our governing body who help us, go and agree a kick-off time at 12:15 on Sunday.”

Last season, Rangers won five of their six domestic fixtures following Europa League group matches with their only loss coming to Aberdeen when they kicked off at 4.30pm on the Sunday.

That was one of two away trips that followed on from European action and of the six games in total, only one match was played at lunchtime, which Rangers won anyway.