Steven Gerrard says Joe Aribo played a huge role as Rangers bounce back to beat Sporting Braga 3-2 in Thursday night’s Europa League clash.
Braga were 2-0 ahead before Ianis Hagi pulled a goal back for Rangers and then Aribo burst through to net the equaliser.
Hagi’s deflected free-kick capped the comeback and gave his side the advantage ahead of next week’s second leg.
Gerrard brought Aribo off the bench to replace Glen Kamara after 54 minutes and said the 23-year-old was instrumental in the turnaround.
“I absolutely loved Joe Aribo,” he said.
“One, because he never sulked when he wasn’t in the starting 11. He was positive in the dressing room.
“And when I asked him to come on and do a job he was super-ready, he was more than ready.
“He epitomised everything that we were about in the second half. He played out of position, he played more than one position, never complained and got on with it.
“He had a massive, outstanding contribution. I’m so proud of him.”
Reflecting on the game as a whole, Gerrard said that it was the type of occasion he and his team were working to deliver at Ibrox regularly.
The Liverpool legend said he will now look to secure a result in Portugal next week that will see Rangers through to the last 16 but was well aware of the quality that Braga showed.
“It was a fantastic game of football. I think both teams played their part.
“We’ve beaten a really good, dangerous team tonight. I though Braga were outstanding at times and really had some success against us.
“The tie is set up really well and it’s only half time. I’ve got huge respect for the opposition because at times they could have hurt us even more.
“It was an excellent game of football.”