RANGERS boss Steven Gerrard has backed Lassana Coulibaly to go from strength to strength.

The midfielder has made an impressive start to life at Ibrox following his loan move from Angers and netted his first goal for the Gers in the Europa League win over Maribor.

Coulibaly has quickly endeared himself to supporters and become an integral part of Gerrard's plans.

Rangers have an option to purchase the Malian international at the end of his season-long stay.

And Gerrard is delighted with his instant Ibrox. impact

Gerrard said: “He’s ahead of where I thought he would be at this time.

"As a player, when I did pre-season, I always felt I needed four or five friendly matches under my belt, maybe two or three in the season, to feel in top shape and ready.

"He has played three games in terms of maximum minutes.

"Realistically he is still in pre-season in terms of match fitness, sharpness and game time.

"So we believe there is still more to come. But he has found his consistency and the fans are buying into him.

"As a player, when you play for a crowd as passionate as the Rangers crowd, if you empty the tank for them, and give everything you have possibly got in your body when you cross the white line, they are going come with you.

"They are going to support you, they are going to be behind you. That’s the message for every single player. Lassana knows that.

"He is committed to it and he has got the fans onside.

"Now it is about him just polishing his game and finding that consistency and he will be a helluva player for us.

"There’s an option within it, but let’s just enjoy him now and for the year. Of course we would love to have him on a full-time basis for many more years.

"We admire the player and that’s the reason we brought him in, but at the moment it’s a year-loan and he belongs to another club. At the moment he is ours and we should just appreciate that we’ve got him in the short term.”