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JEFF IN THE SUN ONLINE
STEVEN GERRARD HAS GOT RANGERS ROCKING AND BELIEF IS HIGH HE CAN TOPPLE CELTIC

20th August 2018

There was never any doubt of the pedigree of Steven Gerrard, but after a series of failed managerial appointments a few eyebrows were raised that Rangers were pinning their faith in someone with no managerial experience and a limited coaching track record. It's still early days and no trophies have been won yet but the early signs give every cause for optimism.

In his eleven games in charge Rangers are unbeaten; two friendlies, two SPL games, six Europa league ties and the most recent League Cup success over Kilmarnock. Gerrard's side have never even been behind in those games and clean sheets have been attained in all three European away games. To add to this the two unbeaten games in the SPL were achieved playing with only ten men for the majority of the game.

The full house signs are up for every home game and there is a real belief amongst supporters that the ex-Liverpool captain can bring back silverware to Ibrox. The biggest tests are still to come but with the previously recently unopposed neighbours across the city going through a difficult time there are reasons for optimism that Rangers can add to their record 54 Scottish titles perhaps sooner than even the most ardent of their supporters could have realistically hoped for.

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Gerrard was known for his 100% effort every time he played and he has quickly instilled his own values into his players, plus his contacts have enabled him to attract players but under-performing existing players have been transformed by his values, attitude and commitment.

On the field a very high tempo, organised squad is light years away from what was witnessed towards the end of last season. Results are obviously what matters but the supporters have taken him to their hearts off the field as well. His openness and honesty both before and after games is refreshing for football fans used to soundbites and platitudes. The new man tells it the way it is and that is music to the supporters' ears.

Football can change in a game and the first Old Firm game of the season is imminent and whilst that won't be season defining, the performance as much as the result will go a long way in convincing everyone that the Rangers board have finally got it right.

The games are good to watch now and the spirit off the field has been more than matched off the park. All Rangers fans have ever demanded, apart from trophies, is a team playing for the shirt and showing the same passion that the supporters do. The heavy defeats against Celtic last season were not acceptable due to the belief that the players were not giving their all. In truth they were just badly outclassed and organised in key games. You cannot imagine that, whatever the result, any team put out by Gerrard will not fight from the first whistle to the last. The team is being moulded in the style of himself and that will go a long way to bringing success.

Challenging on four fronts will mean that he really has to increase the strength in depth of the squad and after this week's home leg of the Europa League play-off tie there is still a week until the closure of the transfer window. He has been backed from above so far but the quality and numbers will be necessary if the team progresses to the group stages. It'll be Sunday/Thursday/Sunday for six weeks until December and with injuries and suspensions likely to deplete his numbers, fresh legs and fresh faces will be vital.

He has created a real affinity with the club's massive loyal following but I'm not too sure if he's really got his head round the terrace chant that "he's Blue & White" yet!!

He certainly has taken to the role like a duck to water and will be fully aware that at a club like Rangers demands are very high and things can change very quickly. All of the early signs though are this is man who demands success and will get it.




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