Sunday, 24 February 2019

The five-point truth about Steven Gerrard

Brutal honest truth time – no Rangers fan expected the title this season under Steven Gerrard. We hoped, of course we all hoped, but none of us truly believed the financial gulf between Celtic and Rangers could be closed on the pitch purely by having a legendary player turned manager on the sidelines.

But, we did have a sense of at least one expectation – at least, we did here on Ibrox Noise:

A clear and isolated second place where we would be understandably behind Celtic but have a significant gap down to third. After all, we are financially way behind Parkhead, but way ahead of absolutely everyone else.

And as we head into March, for all the mistakes Gerrard’s made, and he’s made a few in his rookie year at Ibrox, he is potentially managing to deliver that reasonable expectation at present.

This, folks, is the business end of the season – the split is only six matches away and we’re getting into the serious stuff now, and our Rangers side sit a clear five points beyond Aberdeen now and eight behind Celtic.

A win on Wednesday extends the gap to McInnes’ men to eight and gives Rangers real clear sailing in second – exactly where this site and some others in the fanbase demanded Gerrard delivered us to.

We’ve certainly had the knives out for Stevie at times, and we make no apology for always demanding the highest standards at Ibrox. We Welcome the Chase for a reason.

But at the same time this man has delivered far more than any other post-2016 manager at Ibrox, including one who had more money than him, and we’d have to say that assuming we finish the season in second, Steven Gerrard has lived up to our expectations, if not our hopes.

Hopes, naturally, were sky high – he’d bring in world class players, he’d take us to the SPL title and all the rest of it. That didn’t really happen. It won’t happen this season.

But the expectations, more grounded, were that second place, an honourable run in Europe and a decent fist at at least one cup competition. On those he’s smashed it.

We want to place clearly on record – at no point did we ever advocate sacking him when things went badly – we just called them as they were and suggested it was a failed experiment – we were far from alone. Readers may have accused us of asking for his head – but they were wrong.

Things have matured though, including our opinion, and while long term we can’t tell if Gerrard will bring us the title any time soon we can say there is absolute progress this season and that’s all we could ever have realistically asked for.

It’s a start.

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