STEVEN GERRARD has warned his Rangers strike force they must hit the goal trail or risk losing their starting spots to fresh arrivals this summer.
The Ibrox boss saw his side progress through to the second round of the Europa League with a goalless draw against FK Shkupi on Tuesday night.
There was no repeat of the calamitous defeat to Progres Niederkorn 12 months ago as first leg strikes from Jamie Murphy and James Tavernier proved enough for the Light Blues.
Rangers spurned a series of chances during a one-sided affair at Ibrox last week as they blew the opportunity to finish the tie during the first 90 minutes.
A lacklustre display in the final third never looked like leading to an upset in Skopje as their Macedonian hosts struggled to assert themselves an attacking force.
But Gerrard will demand better from his players after two frustrating outings in front of goal in recent days. He said: “I think if I am candid about it, the people that can score goals and create quality for us are in that dressing room.
“I have said they are here. I don’t want to go and do that (have to bring players in) but games are going to get more difficult now.
“We almost, with all due respect, treated these two games as pre-season. Pre-season is done now.
“Next week I can’t talk about tuning up and sharpening up, we are four weeks in now. “Those players have to start delivering in the final third, there needs to be more quality and I can’t be any more candid about it.
“From a positive, and on the other side of the game, the two centre halves were excellent, Flanno (Jon Flanagan) is Flanno, Tav (Tavernier) was good.
“And I thought the two lads we put in front did a really good job. I thought Ryan Jack was good, Ross [McCrorie] was good, apart from a few little moments.”
Gerrard has made significant changes to his Ibrox squad so far this summer as nine players have arrived and a handful have been shown the exit door.
But Nigerian forward Umar Sadiq is the only striker that has been brought on board to date after he completed a loan move from Serie A giants Roma.
Sadiq and fellow loan star Lassana Coulibaly were ineligible for the Shkupi tie and will be given time to get up to speed this term.
Gerrard said: “I think he (Sadiq) will be available [for the second qualifier] but where he will be in terms of fitness we will have to wait and see.
“Those lads are probably on day eight or nine so I can’t put them in when they are not ready. But they are going to be with us moving forward.”