STEVEN GERRARD has taken encouragement from Rangers' defeat at the hands of Celtic prior to the international break, saying if that performance was their rivals at their best, his side will have a chance moving forward.

The Ibrox manager conceded that Celtic deserved to win the match and admitted that the first-half performance from his own men was below his expectations.

But he saw nothing in Celtic’s performance that has him fearing the future encounters between the sides.

“The first half showed that we didn’t have enough courage and belief to go and play when we won the ball back,” Gerrard said.

“After half time that’s closer to the gauge I want to see. I thought we expressed ourselves, made it more of a contest. [It was] more of a match in the second half. And the players came away disappointed that they didn’t show the real Rangers in the first 45.

“But if that’s Celtic at their best – and excellent, as Brendan (Rodgers) said – then it’s encouraging for us moving forward. We don’t play them again in the league until just after Christmas which is a long time away. That allows us to grow and keep improving.

“We might face them in a cup competition. We’ll have to wait and see. They are a good team, they’ve wiped the floor in the last couple of seasons in terms of trophies and prizes and I know all about the coach, he’s a top coach.

“I’m not sitting here disrespecting Celtic one iota. They’ve just beaten us, they deserve the credit for that. But I think second half I saw a Rangers team that was ready to mix it with them, that showed a better account of themselves.

"Was the result fair? Yes. [But] if we do show the full Rangers in the 90 minutes next time, then we do have a chance of getting a result that we want.”