STEVEN Gerrard admonished his players last night for failing to show the mentality required to return to the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership table at Tynecastle yesterday – and admitted his side will be in even bigger trouble if they make a similar sloppy start on Europa League duty against Porto on Thursday night. Falling behind to an early Ryo Meshino effort, Rangers equalised before half time through Alfredo Morelos but ultimately had to settle for the point which leaves them narrowly behind historic rivals Celtic, who have scored a solitary goal more.

While it is early season still and the Englishman expects further twists and turns in the title race, he made it clear that he expects more from his players. On the plus side, the Rangers manager may be able to welcome Ryan Jack back to his line-up for Portugal after injury, while £7m signing Ryan Kent got 30 minutes under his belt yesterday after a hamstring problem.

“I don’t think we performed well enough to win the game, that’s for sure,” said Gerrard. “I certainly see it as two points dropped right now. We didn’t start the game well enough. I thought we were poor in the early exchanges and were lucky not to be 2-0 down.

“It’s about mentality,” he added. “It’s that realisation of the opportunity you’ve got to win a football match. With all respect to Hearts, we should be fired up more than that, we should be ready to compete, coming out of the blocks more focused than that.

“Look, it’s early days. We never got carried away going top – and we won’t be overly disappointed at the moment. There is a lot of football to be played, a lot of twists and turns. But to be successful, we have to come to places like this and, if we’re not there from an attacking sense, win these games 1-0 by competing and grinding, winning ugly. If we start like that against Porto, we could be in trouble. Big trouble.”