Last week, Steven Gerrard called on his Rangers side to improve their home form under him on the back of a 2017/18 season where their results at Ibrox were less than satisfactory.
The Liverpool icon knows that a number of factors must come together if his new side are going to put together a serious title challenge and inspire the fans once more and picked out performances at home as one that is key.
He said: “The idea is to try to make Ibrox a fortress. The mentality has to be that whatever team comes to Ibrox in whatever competition we need to own the stadium.
“We need to perform like a Rangers team should perform which is front foot aggressive, we control it with our style, how we want it to look.”
“We’re not good enough at the moment and we haven’t been good enough of late in terms of over the last few years to pick and choose our games when we turn up and who we turn up against.
“We can’t just think ‘Oh well, it’s a big game today we’ll turn up’. Every single game is big at Ibrox whether it be in the league, the cup, the Europa League, that’s got to be the mentality. Whoever comes into out stadium has to feel this new Rangers team.”
It was quite the rallying cry and left this new-look side in absolutely no doubt how important Gerrard – whose footballing expertise is largely garnered in another footballing hotbed where expectations and pressure high – feels home form is to Rangers’ chances of success this season.
Gerrard is completely right. He is building a siege mentality and part of that comes from restoring pride in the club’s stadium and making sure that every team who visits Ibrox knows they’ve been in a game, and usually leaves defeated.
On that front, Gerrard’s new charges have shown themselves capable of delivering in the past week. Firstly, Maribor were dispatched with a two-goal margin that should be defendable in this Thursday’s return leg.
The second half that game saw Rangers produce their best 45 minutes under Gerrard and Ibrox responded with a reception to match. With crowd and players in harmony, suddenly Ibrox becomes a very difficult place for a visiting player to play.
On the back of that, playing for over a half with 10 men for the second league game running was no barrier to Gerrard collecting his first competitive three points as a manager as St Mirren were seen off by a lively, spirited performance.
There is a long way to go, of course, but the early signs are that Gerrard’s Rangers are capable of delivering their manager’s ambition in terms of making Ibrox a fortress. That would be integral to success this season.