For the first time in eight years and a bitter fall into fourths, the Glasgow Rangers are once again at the forefront of Scottish football. The architect of the resurrection is Steven Gerrard. After less than two years as a professional coach, the Liverpool legend is already a Rangers icon.
It's always loud at the Ibrox Stadium anyway. But in this 82nd minute, the noise level is extraordinary even for Glasgow Rangers home games, especially for a substitution. Most fans do not care at the time that a "legends team" of their club defeated a selection of Liverpool 2: 3 – because the new man in the field is Steven Gerrard. In the blue Gers jersey. And ready to kick the English club he was with for 26 years and where he is a legend. The scene in that friendly match last Saturday leaves no doubt that Gerrard has long since become a Rangers icon as well – and after just under a year and a half as coach of the Scottish top football champions.
The euphoria around Gerrard is not based solely on the general Glasgow football enthusiasm for legends, it also has quite professional causes. With him, sporty continuity has returned to the Rangers. Since the Englishman started his first professional training in Glasgow at the beginning of last season, the fans of the club are not always enjoying attractive but efficient football. From competition-far 80 games in the era Gerrard were won 48, which corresponds to a victory rate of 60 per cent. Not a bad value for a coach debutant. The blue-white-red success curve under Gerrard points upwards, the learning curve as well. Two weeks ago, Rangers FC took the top spot in Scottish Premiership with a furious 5-0 win over Hamilton Academical – the first time since their bitter fall into footballing insignificance eight years ago.
Forgotten are the times when the Gers had to live their lives in the lowlands of Scottish football. Dubious financial machinations of the bosses and bankruptcy had forced the proud traditional club to their knees, the restart had to be done in the fourth-rate League Two. For three years now, the 54-time national champion has been playing first-class, after all. But only now seems with Gerrard the right conductor for the return to old size found. The bearer of hope is modest. "We still have to improve," Gerrard says, not even after his successes like last matchday. "We still have to grow." And win titles again. This is what Gerrard and the new Rangers are still missing.
Risk with huge ROI
With the commitment of the inexperienced trainer, who previously worked in this role only in the youth field of his heart club FC Liverpool Rangers boardroom 2018 took a risk. As so often in the past years, this time with success. Gerrard convinced the skeptics as soon as he took office: he drove twelve victories in a row with his young team. It followed ups and downs, but always at a high level.
The first emotional climax was achieved by Gerrards Rangers at the end of last year, when the team defeated the big local rivals and since the Rangers crash quasi unrivaled series champion Celtic 1-0 defeated. Success in the 315th Old Firm, one of the most explosive city derbies in world football, was the first league win against unloved city rivals for more than six years, for ages. For the Rangers fans, it was a bit of a late Christmas celebration. For the first championship since 2011, it was not enough, with a clear gap of eleven points ended her club the season as second behind the green-white. Nevertheless, fans like club bosses should have quickly dawned that the commitment of coach-newcomer Gerrard was not the worst idea. Finally, after years of bad decisions around the time-honored Ibrox.
Now, a season later, the Rangers are once again at the forefront of Scottish football. The only league defeat came against Celtic on Matchday 4, a painful 0-2 in the Ibrox. Back then Gerrard defiantly said: "The gap is three points, last year it was seven and I am still confident that we can have a successful season." Four games later, a two-point lead on Celtic has come from behind. And Gerrard? Join the euphoria brake: "It's October and there is no reason to worry about where we stand or freak out in the league."
The fans are noticing that. "He's Blue, He's White, He's Fuckin 'Dynamite – Steve Gerrard" echoing from the stands. A hymn of praise to the explosive 39-year-olds. The passionate following celebrates her trainer as a savior who stands as once as a player for passion, loyalty and fighting spirit. For example, his commitment to the 2005 Champions League final is undeniable, in which he whipped his Liverpool 3-3 defeat by AC Milan to 3: 3 and finally to a penalty shoot-out victory.
Also Sturm -Routinier Jermaine Defoe, once together with Gerrard in the English national team, raves about his coach: "Honestly, he is now like then as a player," the attacker recently told the magazine Talksport. The 37-year-old, who leads Scotland's top scorers after his hat-trick game against Hamilton, is certain: "It's only a matter of time before we achieve anything special." This special goal is clear this season: winning the championship and restoring old conditions. Arctic rival Celtic will not win the ninth consecutive title. The Rangers are leading the way to Edinburgh for the time being this Sunday. Although the Scottish Premiership is not one of the top leagues in the world and the Rangers recently scored their second defeat of the season in the Europa League against the Young Boys Bern on Matchday 9, they beat the unstoppable Hearts.
The resurrection under Gerrard also attracts international attention – and arouses desires. The rumor is circulating that Beşiktaş Istanbul wants to recruit Gerrard. In the process, his career path seems predestined, according to Jürgen Klopp. "If you ask me who should follow me, I would say Stevie," said Liverpool's hit coach recently, "I would help him if I can."
After all, the jersey of "his" Of course, Liverpool have worn Gerrard in the "Legend Game" for 70 minutes. A goal could not pour the "Reds" legend of the Gers selection, although he had a big chance. Free-standing Gerrard shot the ball to the post. It suited the new love affair in northern Britain.