One of Steven Gerrard’s biggest challenges as Rangers manager is assembling a squad of players than genuinely believes it can overtake Celtic and regain the title.

An element of that comes with recruiting extra quality – which he has done – and another comes from his simple presence at Ibrox; his inherent belief in the club’s ability should inspire others to feel the same way.

However, an overhaul of the club’s mentality requires more. To close the gap and maintain momentum over the course of the season requires a collective shift in the mindset of the players and the club.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – JULY 29: Rangers manager Steven Gerrard is seen during the Pre-Season Friendly match between Rangers and Wigan Athletic at Ibrox Stadium on July 29, 2018 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Gerrard’s recent comments saw him admit that a change of mentality was needed and reveal exactly how he has set about doing that so far.

He said: “My job is to protect my players and my club and we’re looking for a mentality change and we want that siege mentality from everyone at Rangers moving forward.

“Sometimes you have to say certain things to get an advantage in another area. I didn’t say the comments to disrespect Aberdeen or Derek – I have nothing but respect for them, but I believe at the weekend we were the better team. As a player, I appreciated my managers standing up for our team.”

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – APRIL 22: Sir Alex Ferguson, manager of Manchester United celebrates victory and winning the Premier League title after the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Aston Villa at Old Trafford on April 22, 2013 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

One famous purveyor of the siege mentality was former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, and while Gerrard did not mention him by name, when he said: “I have experience of playing against other managers who also did that (created a siege mentality) very well,” it was not too difficult to deduce who he had in mind.

The enduring success of Ferguson’s approach proves how effective a siege mentality can be. Rangers, like United, are never going to be popular, plucky underdogs.

That feeds the siege mentality, where it becomes possible to get fans, staff and supporters to buy into the idea that nobody outside of Rangers Football Club matters.

Everybody knows that Celtic are the favourites for the title, but if Gerrard can harness that into a desire to prove people who have written Rangers off, then it would give the squad the mentality required to close the gap and regain the title.

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