The turning point for Rangers, undoubtedly the best signing of the lot
Photo credit should read ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/Getty Images

Half-Term Report: Steven Gerrard

Following on from the assistant, it’s time for the boss. Steven Gerrard.
It’s fair to say, we’ve saved the best until last.
The 38-year-old arrived at Rangers in May, having signed a four-year contract.

Thousands turned out to see Gerrard’s unveiling at Ibrox. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/Getty Images)

At that point, though, no one really knew what the club were letting themselves in for.
After all, this is Gerrard’s first foray into senior management.
Yet, he said the right things and a buzz gripped the club immediately. Since then, it’s never really went away.
As a player, he was an inspiration on the pitch, who carried Liverpool for years.

As a manager, he has performed a remarkable turnaround.
The contrast with Pedro Caixinha is stark. Last season, the Gers were embarrassed in the first qualifying round of the Europa League, by Progres Niederkorn.

Defeat to the Luxembourg club was simply unacceptable. (Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images)

This time around, they made it the through to the group stages proper. Even then, the players continued to perform well above expectation and came a within a whisker of knockout football.

More importantly, domestically, the improvement has also been stark.
There were tough spells, particularly in early December, when ill discipline and a lack of goals threatened to derail the renaissance.
However, the Old Firm fixture showed just how far Rangers have come under Gerrard’s management.
It was no longer men against boys. The Gers went toe-to-toe with Celtic, and dominated in all departments.

The manager celebrates with his captain, James Tavernier, after the 1-0 win over Celtic. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

There has been the odd questionable tactical call here and there.
For example, a fixation with selecting Jon Flanagan at left-back and the decision to play Scott Arfield on the right flank away in Vienna.
Yet, any indiscretions have been very minor in the overall scheme of things.

Undoubtedly, Steven Gerrard has returned real belief and a swagger to Rangers Football Club.
Under his direction, the good old days are finally on their way back.

Grade: A*

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