With a nerve-shredding opening day trip to Aberdeen just around the corner, we take a look at Steven Gerrard’s performance as Rangers manager in preseason.

Flooded with Europa League qualifiers as early as July 12th, Gerrard hasn’t had the time many other managers do to get their house in order. Taking over a host of Pedro Caixinha and Graeme Murty’s players must also have been a daunting task when he walked into the door.

However, when you look at the way Gerrard has been able to change the mood in the Ibrox camp, nobody can question anything the Rangers manager has done as of yet.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The only disappointment for the former Liverpool star will be that he’s yet to add a third striker to his squad or another centre-back, but preseason performances have only raised the expectation levels amongst an already expectant support.

Two friendly hammerings of English clubs Bury and Wigan Athletic meant little, but there was a quality to Rangers going forward in both games that suggests they’ll cause many Premiership sides problems this season.

Yet the main aspect of preseason was always going to be the early qualifiers for the Europa League. Supporters didn’t need reminded of the embarrassment of Progres Niederkorn last season, but it was pretty evident in the two legs against Shkupi in the same round that this wasn’t a side that was going to suffer the same.

NK Osijek have also been seen as a real threat to Rangers’ European hopes this season, but Gerrard managed to do a number on the Croatians away from home with a stunning counter-attacking performance to snatch the first-leg win. Whilst that tie remains up for grabs, it’s firmly advantage Rangers who you would expect to take another positive result at Ibrox.

Results wise – spot on.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The main concern for Rangers supporters last year, however, were the amount of goals being shipped on a weekly basis. It remains early days and perhaps not much can be read into the five consecutive clean sheets, but Nikola Katic and Connor Goldson already look a much more solid combination than Russell Martin and Bruno Alves. With Allan McGregor between the sticks, supporters have also shown him some love after some of his displays so far.

Gerrard has created a squad that is genuinely exciting the Rangers support whilst also managing to shift some of the deadwood out such as Alves and Fabio Cardoso. Others such as Joe Dodoo, Eduardo Herrera, and Carlos Pena are also out on loan to help free up squad places. The chances are they won’t be seen again regardless.

Some of last season’s villains are gone, and replaced with what looks to be a core of solid performers. On top of that, Rangers have strung together five consecutive clean sheets with four wins from five.

All in all, Rangers fans couldn’t have asked for anymore in preseason, and for that reason alone, Gerrard deserves an A.

Related Topics