JERMAIN DEFOE insists Rangers won’t ‘lay down and die’ after seeing their title bid suffer an unexpected setback against bottom of the table Hearts.

Steven Gerrard’s side missed the chance to close the gap to Celtic once again as they crashed to a 2-1 defeat at Tynecastle on Sunday.

The Gers still have a game in hand over their Old Firm rivals but they are now five points adrift at the top of the table.

Defoe endured a frustrating afternoon at the head of the Rangers attack but is confident the Light Blues will respond in the right manner in the coming weeks.

He said: “That is all you can do to be honest, you can’t lay down and die and you need to show character. That is football.

“It is a lot of pressure but at the end of the day it is good pressure because you are playing for a club like this and there is a demand to win games.

“You have to achieve things and titles and trophies. It is a lot of pressure but, at the same time, I feel that we are good enough and strong enough to handle that kind of pressure.

“Of course it is a setback today but all we can do is continue to do what we have done. We can’t forget about the result today, of course, or the performance because it has got to hurt and it is hurting.

“Everyone is hurting, everyone involved, and it has to because you don’t want to feel that pain again, you don’t want that atmosphere in the changing room again.

“Up until this point we have done so well. We feel like we have let ourselves down to be honest.”

Boss Gerrard accepted that there would be questions over the mentality of his side after they threw away three crucial points in the title race.

But Defoe is confident the Ibrox squad have what it takes to bounce back from a significant blow to their silverware ambitions.

He said: “Historically if you look at any league in the world, the teams that go on and win titles are fairly consistent. The teams that have slipped up, they bounce back.

“But you’ve got to show spirit, you've got to be strong mentally. There's a great bunch of lads in the changing room. Everyone wants to do well. So it's not the want of trying.

“We've shown that we're a good team and a strong squad. I believe the manager and everyone at the football club will get a reaction. for sure."