RANGERS are now out of the Scottish Cup, and any chance of stopping Celtic secure their eight league title in a row is looking unlikely. There is still the small matter of sewing up second place, but any real chance of silverware for Steven Gerrard this season has surely gone.
With that in mind, we’ve asked each of our writers to give their opinions on Gerrard’s stint at Ibrox so far.
My biggest surprise about Steven Gerrard finishing the season without a trophy is why so many are surprised.
This is his first managerial job. Rangers are a huge club with, as we know, big challenges. Gary McAllister has hardly an impressive coaching CV. This was always going to take time.
Gerrard is as big a name as they come in British football but he’s learning on the job, which means missteps and mistakes. Those Rangers fans who thought that this rookie was going to stop Celtic right away were asking an awful lot.
I honestly don’t think you can say right now whether he’s a good, bad or average manager. It’s far too early. This season was always going to be his learning curve.
Rangers must stick by their man. He has made the team better but at the same time he’s been backed and there have been a few howlers made in the transfer window. But there is no point in starting all over again.
Gerrard has been naïve at times but, again, that’s what you get with a rookie.
What I would say is the players need to take a look at themselves because good footballers have been guilty far too many times of not filling that Rangers jersey.
Surely we’re not back here already? Raking over the remnants of a Rangers season and interrogating whether the manager is succeeding or failing?
Steven Gerrard has spent enough time at a big club like Liverpool to know that recriminations are always just around the corner when results go awry.
The club’s challenge for the Ladbrokes Premiership table isn’t quite gone yet – they are eight points back with two meetings with leaders Celtic to come – but the Englishman knew what was coming when he accepted the responsibility for Rangers crashing out of a second cup of the season to Aberdeen last night.
Meetings with the Dons – there have been six of them already this season – have proved Gerrard’s Waterloo to date. They have won just one and lost three. It is remarkable to think that had they been able to consistently beat Derek McInnes’ side they would have reached an Old Firm BetFred Cup final, be in a Scottish Cup semi final against Celtic and be sitting just three points behind the Parkhead side in the table this morning. And even more so that that even amidst the chaos of the Pedro Caixinha and Graeme Murty eras that they won three and drew one of their matches against the Dons.
Rangers were right to show Caixinha the door, but there comes a time when you find the right manager and you stick with him. It hasn’t all been perfect but short-termism only gets you so far and Gerrard has shown enough – consolidating second place and transforming the club’s efforts in Europe, not to mention masterminding an Old Firm win – that the club shouldn’t flinch from sticking with him.
By the normal standards laid down at Rangers these past few years, by all rights Steven Gerrard should be looking over his shoulder and fearing he might soon be relieved of his duties. After all, he has failed to reach either cup final, while the league flag is all but certain to fly over Celtic Park once again. And it’s only March.
But if Rangers are serious about progressing as a team then they must resist the urge to pull the panic button.
There is no value to the Ibrox club ripping it all up and starting again, only to find themselves in the same situation once more 12 months from now.
It was always going to be a big ask for Gerrard to step into the Rangers dugout in his first senior managerial role. He is a novice, and at times it has showed.
He has made mistakes, he would be the first to admit, and there have been signings sanctioned by the dual hand of he and Mark Allen that simply haven’t worked out.
But Rangers knew all of this would be a possibility when they took on Gerrard, and if they don’t view it as a long-term project, then they are doomed to repeat this cycle of failure forever.
Having taken a punt on Gerrard, the club must now back him to try and build something. There have been signs that he can do just that.
The Europa League run was as unexpected as it was impressive, and the football Rangers have played – on the whole – has been much easier on the eye.
Gerrard is a rookie in a managerial sense, not a miracle worker, and he should be allowed to continue working on his vision for the team.
There’s never much level-headed middle ground if you’re a manager of Rangers. One minute you’re being paraded down Paisley Road West on the shoulders of the worshipping masses, the next you’re in danger of being tossed in the Clyde at the Govan Docks. ‘Twas ever thus. What was it the Rangers high heid yins laughably said when Derek McInnes snubbed their advances prior to Gerrard’s appointment? “We endorse that position because moving to a massive club like Rangers is a big step with concomitant risk.” (Stop sniggering in the background, Derek)
Gerrard was the big name that all and sundry associated with the Ibrox club craved but for both parties, it was a risk. Perhaps even a concomitant risk? With risk can come reward, though. But it takes times. And that’s one thing you don’t often get in this game. Gerrard has seen it and done it all as a player but the managerial frontline is a different battle. And raw recruits – admittedly one that is a global figure in the game – will make mistakes as they go along.
By taking the Ibrox job, Gerrard demonstrated the strength of character that distinguished him as a player. When Rangers were trotting out in Scottish football’s basement not so long ago, floating the idea of Gerrard being manager and the team sitting second in the Premiership during a dreich night at Glebe Park would’ve had you burned at the stake for heresy. Yes, there are dark clouds gathering with no sign of a silver lining just now. But it’s surely a hell of a lot better than it used to be?