Steven Gerrard played a pivotal role in Rangers being crowned Premiership champions. A 3-0 win against St Mirren on Saturday, left Rangers within one point of the title.
The next day, Celtic did everything but score in their goalless draw with Dundee United, meaning Rangers became champions for the first time in 10 years.
Rangers Premiership Champions
The Gers last won the title in the 2010/11 season. The football club went into liquidation in 2012 after struggling financially, consequently dropping down to the third division.
In Gerrard’s three years at Rangers, the former Liverpool captain has redirected the football club into a topflight, title-winning team. Rangers 55th title win will be remembered for stopping Celtic’s 10th Premiership title in a row.
Rangers stormed the Premiership, with 28 wins and only 4 draws. Gerrard’s side is still unbeaten, meaning their points total is an impressive 88, 20 points superior of second-place Celtic.
The Old Firm derby in October was the first indicator that a changing of the guard was taking place at the top end of the Scottish Premiership. Rangers won 2-0 at an empty Celtic Park, with Connor Goldson’s two goals separating the two teams. A game that set the tone for the rest of the season.
Rangers snatched the return fixture 1-0 with a gritty display. Although Neil Lennon’s side dominated most of the game, a red card followed by an own goal resulted in Celtic’s downfall. The defeat meant Celtic fell even further behind Gerrard’s determined side in the title race.
Several 1-0 wins throughout the season, shows that Rangers have evolved into a side that can control games in a patient manner. When the tide has been against Rangers, as it was in the return fixture against Celtic. Goalkeeper, Allan McGregor has been key in keeping the opponents at bay, helping Rangers to an extraordinary 24 clean sheets.
Rangers have also developed a ruthless nature, something Gerrard was well known for in his playing days. When a team has been there for the taking, Rangers have played with intensity, keeping their opposition under pressure for the entire match. Rangers displayed this attitude with an 8-0 demolition job over Hamilton Academical.
How Far Can Steven Gerrard Take Rangers?
Winning the Premiership without losing a game is an incredible achievement, although Gerrard will know the job isn’t done. The issue with winning the league so early is that complacency can creep in.
However, Celtic’s unbeaten season in 2016/17 will be motivation for Rangers to do the same. In Brendan Rodger’s first season as manager, Celtic won 34 of their 38 games. Gerrard will be infused to achieve a similar feat to one of his former Liverpool bosses.
While, Celtic have been Scotland’s dominant side in domestic competitions for nearly a decade, their success in Europe has been limited.
European success as a player is something Steven Gerrard knows all too much about. Gerrard has successfully influenced his players, as Rangers have already had some big European nights since his arrival.
Rangers played Antwerp in the Europa League last month, the first leg of the Round of 32 was a thrilling clash. Rangers scored two goals in the last seven minutes to steal the match 4-3. The second leg was far more comfortable, meaning Rangers won 9-5 on aggregate.
In the short term, Rangers can just concentrate on the Europa League, with their next two matches against Slavia Prague. Rangers are unlikely to win the Europa League. Several top European teams will be serious about winning the competition, to gain a back door entrance to the Champions League.
Within three years of Gerrard’s arrival, Rangers are on course for an unbeaten Premiership title, while reaching the last 16 of the Europa League, with it all still to play for. It’s been a landmark season for Rangers, although before long, the focus will shift to retaining the Scottish Premiership.
Main Image Credit
Embed from Getty Images