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Bournemouth’s Defoe inks 18-month loan deal with Rangers

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Could Jermain Defoe swing the Scottish Premiership title race to the side of the Glasgow Rangers?

Bournemouth announced the veteran striker’s loan on Sunday after weeks of speculation, and manager Steven Gerrard is thrilled to bring the fellow and former English national team striker to the Ibrox Stadium.

[ REPORT: Mourinho turns down job ]

The 36-year-old hasn’t scored in 254 minutes this season, only 21 of which came in the Premier League. He scored four times last season after bagging 30 combined PL goals for Sunderland in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons.

Defoe last place in a league similar to Scotland when he joined Toronto FC in 2014, scoring 11 times in 19 matches for the Reds. Provided he’s not totally lost his game, it could be possible he puts up a similar strike rate for Gerrard’s men.

The majority of Defoe’s 57 caps came during Gerrard’s time with England, so there’s going to be a solid bond there, and his leadership should further help 22-year-old Alfredo Morales find consistency.

Rangers snap barren run with controlling Old Firm Derby win

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If you know a Rangers supporter, there’s an easy explanation for the pep in their step this Saturday.

The blue side of Glasgow is glowing after a league win for the first time since March 25, 2012, as Rangers dominated disorganized Celtic to the tune of a 1-0 win in the Old Firm Derby at the Ibrox Stadium on Saturday.

[ MORE: Americans to Celtic, Rangers? ]

Ryan Jack scored the lone goal, and it will have deeply satisfied Rangers fans on its journey through the legs of hated Celtic captain Scott Brown.

Celtic have a match in hand on Rangers, with both teams on 42 points atop the table, though the Bhoys’ fourth loss matches their total for all of last season.

It’s the first old firm loss for Brendan Rodgers as Celtic boss. Rangers last won any competition over Rangers in penalties during the Scottish Cup semifinal in 2016.

Gerrard taking long look at U.S. players Polster, Gutman

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A pair of American full backs are on trial with Steven Gerrard‘s Glasgow Rangers, and could be joining the club soon if they impress the boss.

The players in question are versatile Chicago Fire veteran Matt Polster, 25, and Indiana University senior Andrew Gutman, a potential Homegrown player for the Fire.

[ MORE: Weds. League Cup preview]

Gerrard spoke of both on Tuesday, mentioning the good impression Polster made on him while both were in Major League Soccer. From The Daily Mail:

“I know one of them because I played against him in MLS – Matt Polster, who played for Chicago Fire and who I know is a good player.

“Andrew Gutman is from the college system and very highly thought of so we’re going to have a look at the two of them for seven or eight days. We’ll see how they do and if we like them we’ll try and do it as soon as possible.”

Polster has one cap with the USMNT and has 91 appearances as a fullback and midfielder with the Fire, though he missed most of the 2018 season with a knee injury. He’s out of contract with the Fire on New Year’s Eve.

Gutman scored 20 goals with 17 assists in 90 appearances over four years for the Hoosiers, but is viewed as a left back by Rangers.

Both are vying to become the latest American on Rangers and the first since Emerson Hyndman‘s loan to the Glaswegian outfit from Bournemouth last season. Rangers have seen USMNT stars Carlos Bocanegra, DaMarcus Beasley, Maurice Edu, and Claudio Reyna on their books.

Gerrard proud despite Rangers exit from Europa League (video)

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Steven Gerrard‘s promising first European campaign as first team manager has ended thanks to a goal from sub Dejan Ljubicic in Austria.

A very even game, Rangers could not find a way past goalkeeper Richard Strebinger.

[ MORE: JPW’s Premier League picks ]

“In terms of the performance, I can’t fault the players,” Gerrard said to BT Sport. “They gave me everything. In what we had available, they’ve done extremely well. The whole journey, I’m so proud of the team.

“We’ll come again in Europe. Next year we’ll be better cause we’ll have some better players with us and the young lads in the group with learn and grow. We’ll be together for 18 months instead of six.

Gerrard says he wants Rangers to bring the same intensity back to the Scottish top flight, where the Glasgow side are two points back of rivals Celtic. Rangers have played one more game than Celtic.

Celtic extend Old Firm streak with win over Gerrard’s Rangers

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Steven Gerrard‘s first taste of the Old Firm Derby is quite sour.

Rangers were well-drilled in its visit to Celtic Park on Sunday, but Olivier Ntcham‘s 62nd minute goal extended Celtic’s unbeaten derby run into an eighth season.

[ MORE: Serie A: Cristiano Ronaldo still scoreless, but Juventus still perfect ]

The match was full of fouls, hard tackles, and struck cross bars, as both teams threatened the goal but Celtic controlled play.

The win moves Celtic to 3-1 on the season, three points back of leaders Hearts. Rangers are now seven points back of first.

Ntcham is a former Man City player, and capped off a tremendous counter attack to put Celtic in front. Tom Rogic started the play on the edge of the Celtic area, and both Odsonne Edouard and James Forrest played parts in setting up Ntcham.

Ryan Christie dove to win a free kick from Connor Goldson on the edge of the 18, but Allan McGregor made an outstanding save to deny Chris Griffith’s solid effort.