Steven Gerrard said something that may have slipped many of us by last year, and he said it following our clinching of a last 32 place in the Europa League.
Following that (unlucky) draw with Young Boys at Ibrox which saw Rangers make the KO stage of the UEL, Gerrard said something pointed:
“It was an aim and target when I came through the door, to get respect back in European competitions. The fans live for nights like this.”
For all the hype about getting 55, about beating Celtic, about becoming dominant again in Scottish football, a major incentive to Gerrard and to Rangers was about getting back that European dignity again.
This is a club who won the Cup Winners’ Cup, who made the effective Champions League semi final in 1993 and who got to Manchester 12 years ago.
A club who took some massive scalps in Europe even more recently – a major goal for Stevie was to restore that, take big scalps again, and achieve what we used to.
And yet, in just 18 months, the manager has given us the last 32 of the UEL plus two gargantuan runs in the qualifiers.
Job done? Yes. Rangers’ European credibility is back, half of our players are wanted by some of the biggest clubs on the continent and silly numbers are floating around with regards to potential sales.
All the while Rangers have a real chance of bypassing Braga to make the last 16 of the UEL, and finding ourselves up against yet another elite side from Europe.
Job done for sure – Rangers are not a side anyone wants to face, not in Europe and not in the SPL.
Gerrard, with comparative pennies, has done with Rangers in 18 months what we doubt anyone else could have.
Job done. Even Stevie thinks so.