What Steven Gerrard, with Gary McAllister, is doing at Rangers is very exciting.
No matter what happens, the pair of them coming up has heightened the profile of Scottish football. That’s good for us as a league.
It’s been a great start for Gerrard, he’s got the fans on board straight away. His comments after the Aberdeen game – and since – have clearly been directed at the Rangers fans.
He knows how to play the media game, and he’s doing it perfectly. Gerrard’s had good practice as he had to be the face of Liverpool for so long – the first person media spoke to after a game was him for ten years.
So being in the media spotlight hasn’t caught him out. He’s used to it, and he’s relishing it just now. It’s not easy when you get a couple of defeats, that’s for sure, but he’s ready for that, too.
Being the captain of Liverpool was a good grounding for life as Rangers manager. With Celtic and Rangers, they have this thing I call ‘the passing of the baton of stick’.
What’s happened with Gerrard going to Rangers has been that the baton has been lobbed towards Celtic for a few weeks. Either one team or the other has it in Glasgow.
In special circumstances, both get it. But, right now, Celtic have it and that means Gerrard is doing alright. He’s intelligent enough to know it doesn’t last like this all the time – there must be something coming along, and he’ll be ready for it.
I’m sure Steven would like even better players on even bigger wages, but he’ll know that the board are giving him everything they’ve got at the moment. It’s not easy to get that kind of trust as a younger manager.
Celtic have to take Rangers seriously
What would success look like for Rangers this season? You’ve got to remember their fans want everything. But, the biggest thing right now is the ten in the row titles for the Bhoys.
No matter what anybody says, that’s in the background. It’d be the holy grail for Celtic fans, and basically hell for Rangers supporters.
Wim Jansen stopped Rangers getting ten in a row in the 90s, and he’s held in such high esteem as a result. The players that played in his team are held up just below the Lisbon Lions.
So, if Gerrard can do the same to Celtic, his tenure there would be an unqualified success.
As for this season, what Rangers fans want is every game to be close, one way or another. They’ve had to put up with the game being over after an hour recently, and sitting through half an hour of torture at the end.
If Gerrard could bring them a cup, and give Celtic a right fright in the league this season, they’d be happy with that and I think Celtic have to take Rangers seriously.
They have to look at them as serious rivals. There’ll be a right real challenge in the league this season. Which can only be good for Scottish football generally. That’ll drag the rest of the teams on, including Celtic.
It reminds of the long-distance races we used to do in pre-season training camps. One year, at Leeds, I had Vinnie Jones chasing me, desperate to beat me – and I was desperate that he wouldn’t. It made me quicker.
When you have someone coming up behind you, or edging just ahead, it pushes you to improve and stay ahead, or catch up with them.
I think it could be a blessing in disguise for Celtic and Brendan Rodgers.