27 Sep 2011

Maurice Edu today backed Team America to carry on firing in the goals which help Rangers conquer their Scottish rivals and complete a fourth successive title success.

Edu’s return to form continued in the SPL game against Dunfermline on Saturday when he scored a stunning long-range strike.

The midfielder’s piledriver came just moments after countryman Carlos Bocanegra had opened the scoring with a superb header from a Steven Davis corner.

The quality of the finish from the 96-times capped star, who is hoping to shake off the knock he picked up at the weekend and play against Kilmarnock tonight, was impressive for a centre-half.

However, Edu has seen Bocanegra hit the target many times before on international duty and was not surprised the former Fulham defender get in on the goals through in Fife.

He believes the 32-year-old, who has struck up a fine partnership with Dorin Goian in the heart of the Light Blues rearguard since arriving in Scotland, will get his name on the scoresheet regularly.

“I know Carlos well from playing alongside him for the United States team,” Edu said. “He scores regularly from corners and free kicks for the national team so it was no surprise to me to see him get in on the goals at the weekend. I have no doubt he will chip in with a few more as the season goes on.

“His play at the back has been tremendous. He has slotted into the team very comfortably and his defensive play next to Dorin has been solid. Long may that continue. But he offers more than that and I know he will fancy his chances of hitting the target at set-pieces in the future.”

Edu wants to pitch in with his fair share himself to repay gaffer Ally McCoist for his support during his alarming slump in form towards the tail- end of last season.

The Californian has not been a prolific scorer for the champions since signing from MLS club Toronto FC for £2.5million three years ago.

The five goals he pitched in with in the 2010/11 campaign, which included a dramatic last-minute effort against Sporting Lisbon in the Europa League, was the most he has scored in a term.

But with two to his name in just seven appearances the league this season – he scored in the 2-0 win over Inverness Caley Thistle up in the Highlands last month – he is looking to better that personal haul in the coming months.

“I think I have got goals in my locker,” he said. “I certainly enjoyed my goal against Dunfermline on Saturday. The opportunity presented itself and fortunately for me I took it. Hopefully, I can get a few more now.

“I am constantly striving to improve and get better. I know the standards I am capable of achieving and if I don’t reach them then I will work harder until I do. Getting goals from midfield is something I can do. It would help the team.

“Everyone in the team, not just the strikers, should be thinking of getting forward and scoring whenever we get the chance. Steven Davis, Gregg Wylde and I should all be looking to help out.

“I scored a long-range goal at the weekend, but I can score by getting on the end of crosses and getting into the six-yard box. I should be looking to score on a weekly basis. It would improve me as a player.

“Our front men have been doing extremely well in recent weeks. Nikica Jelavic, Kyle Lafferty and Steven Naismith have all been in great form. But other players scoring would help to ease the pressure on them.”

Edu, who came in for flak from Rangers supporters as well as opposition fans this year as his performances dipped, has had the weight taken off his shoulders in recent weeks thanks to the unflinching support of his manager McCoist.

Hearing Walter Smith’s successor declare him his team’s star performer in the stunning 4-2 triumph over Celtic at Ibrox nine days ago has lifted his spirits enormously.

He said: “It is good when you are praised like that, no doubt about it. But basically I just want to put in a shift and do as well as I can for the team. That is what I will be doing in the game against Kilmarnock this evening if I am involved.

“I think everyone in the team takes that attitude. We don’t play for personal glory, we go out to do well for each other. My job is made much easier by having 10 guys who are all working hard for the team. I try to do the same for them whenever I play.”

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