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Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has pledged to shield his players from the “noise” of heightened expectations amid their impressive start to the season.

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Gerrard’s side – who host Lech Poznan in the Europa League on Thursday – are unbeaten in 16 games and have a six-point lead in the Scottish Premiership.

With Old Firm rival Neil Lennon unhappy at media “hysteria” over Celtic’s form, Gerrard knows the tide can soon turn.

“Whoever is in the best form seems to get a bit more peace,” said Gerrard.

“You get a couple of indifferent results and that certainly changes very quickly and the heat comes in a different direction. That’s the way it is.

“That’s what myself and Neil have to live with. That’s the job we are in. That’s never going to change.”

Rangers began their Europa League Group D campaign with an impressive 2-0 win over Standard Liege in Belgium last Thursday.

The Glasgow club have gone four games without conceding and their only blemishes this season are two draws away from home in the Premiership.

“We can’t control if people from the outside want to raise expectations,” added Gerrard. “My job is to guard the players from the noise, whether it be positive or negative. 

“We want the run to last as long as possible. I don’t think it’s realistic to expect us to win every game but we’re playing well, confidence is high, belief is high.”

Team news

South Africa midfielder Bongani Zungu joined his Rangers team-mates at training for the first time after a period of quarantine following his loan move from French side Amiens.

Joe Aribo’s return from injury leaves centre-back Nikola Katic as Rangers’ only injury absentee.

Poznan forward Pedro Tiba missed his side’s weekend game with a thigh strain but could be fit to face Rangers.

What do we know about Lech?

The Polish club are in the group stage of European competition for the first time in five years and began the section with a 4-2 home defeat by Benfica last week.

Poznan lie 10th in the 16-team Polish Ekstraklasa with two wins from their opening seven games, having been held 1-1 at home by Cracovia Krakow on Sunday.

What they said

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard: “The Poznan-Benfica game was very open and I have watched it extremely closely.

“There could have been more goals and was almost like a basketball game with constant attacks. We will make sure we are organised and keep our shape as this team can hurt you.”

Match stats

  • Rangers and Lech Poznan have never met before.
  • The Ibrox club have won their last three matches against Polish opposition (excluding qualifiers), scoring nine goals in their last two.
  • Poznan have failed to score in three of their last four away games in the Europa League.
  • Including qualifying rounds, Rangers have lost just one of their last 19 home games in Europe.
  • Rangers striker Kemar Roofe scored the longest-range goal in Europa League history against Standard Liege on 22 October- the last Ibrox player to score in their first two European ties (excluding qualifiers) was Mark Falco in 1987.