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Gerrard focussed on league ahead of crunch Europa League game

Gerrard focussed on league ahead of crunch Europa League game
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Rangers face Hamilton ahead of a return to Europa League action and the Betfred Cup final.

Steven Gerrard has ordered his Rangers squad to forget about the Europa League and Hampden showdown with Celtic.

The Ibrox side face a massive series of games in the run-up to the winter break.

They travel to Rotterdam on Thursday for a clash that could seal their place in the last 32.

And Gerrard’s men also have the chance to secure the club’s first major piece of silverware since 2011 when they take on the Hoops in the final of the Betfred Cup on December 8.

But with his team still neck and neck with Neil Lennon’s Parkhead champions, the Light Blues boss does not want his side taking chances with their title hopes by overlooking vital games such as Sunday’s trip to Hamilton.

Gerrard has the luxury of a near fully-fit squad for that Accies clash. Jordan Jones is the only confirmed absentee despite having resumed training after his knee injury, although Alfredo Morelos may be rested as he was due to land in Glasgow following international duty with Colombia on Saturday.

“It’s great to have a fully-fit squad,” said Gerrard.

“We need to continue to look after the players as there are some really interesting games in the run-up to Christmas.

“But it’s exciting. The players have earned this by going on a run in the League Cup and performing ever so well in the Europa League to take it down to the final two games.

“The players have earned the chance to have such an exciting block. But the message from me has to be the next game. It’s Hamilton in the league and our total focus is on that.”

While Gers have cleared their treatment table, Accies face a selection crisis ahead of welcoming the Ibrox men to the Foys Stadium.

Sam Stubbs and Scott Martin are both suspended for the clash while Brian Easton, Blair Alston, Marios Ogkmpoe, Ciaran McKenna, Aaron McGowan and Ryan Fulton are all struggling with injuries.

But Gerrard expects Brian Rice’s team to be fired up.

He said: “You never underestimate any rival. It’s always important to have respect. I have a lot of respect for Brian as a coach.

“We don’t want to focus on the opposition. We obviously prepare as we always do for the best Hamilton.

“The cameras will be there, it’s a big fixture with Rangers coming to town. They have had a few weeks to prepare for this game so we’ll be expecting the best Hamilton.”

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