Rangers boss Steven Gerrard hailed Alfredo Morelos after the Colombian equalled the club’s European goalscoring record to earn a 1-0 win over Lech Poznan.
Morelos powerfully headed home a Borna Barisic cross in the 68th minute at Ibrox to record his 21st goal for Rangers in European competition, drawing him level with Ally McCoist.
Gerrard said: “It’s fantastic for him from a personal point of view. He deserves it, he has scored some real big important goals in Europe for us. So I’m very pleased for Alfredo.
“Ally’s a legend of the club, he has been here and done it, got the T-shirt. The challenge for Alfredo is: can he build on all his goals and help his team to become successful come the end of the season?”
It was a first goal in seven games for Morelos, who had been left on the bench in the weekend win over Livingston and saw Kemar Roofe come in to start ahead of him as Jermain Defoe dropped out the starting line-up.
The 24-year-old burst into the game in determined fashion in the 62nd minute and threatened just before and after his goal.
“Listen, Alfredo hasn’t been dropped,” Gerrard said. “For me it was trying to take him out to freshen him up and try to get that spark he has maybe been missing in the last couple of appearances.
“He has played a lot of of football, come back from Colombia with a bit of jet lag. So I think it was needed.
“We also needed to get Kemar moving and get a good 60 (minutes) into his legs. So it’s positives all round in the forward positions.
Goal was ‘fantastic’
“Hopefully that will be the catalyst for Alfredo to go on and score some more goals for us.”
Poznan offered a threat and ambition going forward but Rangers recorded a fifth consecutive clean sheet to sit level on six points with Benfica after two games in Group D.
Gerrard said: “I’m happy with the performance. I thought it was strong, professional, controlled.
“At half-time we were really happy with a lot of the play but we wanted a bit more in the final third, that bit of magic, quality to find a breakthrough.
“We told them to believe in themselves a bit more. It’s a fantastic win for us.
“The goal was fantastic – the cross was top, top class.”