STEVEN GERRARD has confirmed Rangers have opened discussions with Jermain Defoe regarding an extension to his contract to keep him at Ibrox next season.

The 38-year-old scored his sixth goal of the campaign in the 4-1 victory over Celtic on Sunday as Rangers secured a fourth Old Firm win this term and moved to within two fixtures - away to Livingston and at home to Aberdeen - of an unbeaten Premiership season.

Gerrard has already secured the services of Allan McGregor and Steven Davis for another twelve months as preparations begin for Rangers' title defence and return to the Champions League later this summer.

Talks are also ongoing with the likes of Connor Goldson and Glen Kamara over fresh terms to rewards them for their fine efforts and Defoe is on the list of Ibrox stars that Gerrard is keen to keep as part of his squad next term.

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The Englishman is out of contract at the end of the season and will have a decision to make over whether he remains in Glasgow and continues working with his former international team-mate at Ibrox.

Gerrard said: "It goes without saying that Jermain Defoe is someone I have the ultimate respect and admiration for.

"He’s been a wonderful player. He’s had a wonderful career.

"To get him up here in the first place was something I was keen to do, because I knew he would help the group in the way he goes about his business. He’s a top professional.

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"We’re in talks with Jermain at the moment about what’s next for Jermain.

"But we want to be really respectful, we want to give him the time to make his own decisions.

"I think he’s at a stage in his life where we’ll listen to Jermain and see what he wants to do moving forward.

"We’ll go from there. I don’t think it’s right for me to divulge right now what’s been said from my point of view and from his.

"But we’ll certainly respect Jermain in terms of his own decisions moving forward."