Steven Gerrard's two years as Rangers boss - highs, lows and Alfredo Morelos
Former Rangers striker Kris Boyd assesses the impact made by Steven Gerrard since his arrival in Glasgow two years ago
Last Updated: 05/05/20 6:41am
The key statistics of Steven Gerrard's time as Rangers manager pose more questions than answers when analysing his impact at Ibrox. One hundred and thirteen games, 68 wins, 27 draws, 18 defeats – with plenty of talking points, but no silverware.
Two years to the day after his appointment, plenty has changed at Rangers, but one thing that has not is the club's major trophy drought, which now extends to almost nine years.
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Gerrard's decision to begin his managerial career in Scotland provoked huge interest worldwide. His presence has added new levels of intrigue to the Old Firm rivalry, and there's no doubt that Rangers have improved under his tutelage - yet some damaging setbacks at the wrong times mean the prospect of ending Celtic's domination of Scottish football looks, for some, as unlikely now as it did when he took over.
Former Rangers striker Kris Boyd assesses the impact made by Gerrard since his arrival in Glasgow, and predicts what may lie ahead when finally football resumes…
It was always going to be difficult for him coming into this job, given how strong Celtic have been. I think that Steven Gerrard has brought the Rangers family back together; there were a lot of people disillusioned prior to his arrival.
All the fans seem to back him, and they've been optimistic going to games again - up until December, it felt as if there was a feelgood factor there once again.
Steven will know himself that there is a lot of room for improvement, and a lot of things will need to get better if Rangers are to challenge Celtic throughout the season.
It's all very well looking back and saying, 'we played well in the League Cup Final' and 'we had a great performance away to Celtic in the league' - but they've not been able to follow that up in the second part of the season. When you look at the points difference, before this season was halted, Celtic are way ahead. There's still a lot of work to be done.
Highlights so far
To go to Celtic Park, where they hadn't won in 10 years, and totally dominate Celtic the way they did - if that was a mediocre team, that was a performance you would go on about for years and years.
But, this is Rangers Football Club; you can't focus on one game and say that was the highlight, because at Rangers you must win things.
The two European campaigns have been very good. Last season in the group stage, they were very unlucky. This season I think the performances have been really good, but that, bizarrely, has been probably the most upsetting thing for Rangers fans.
They've seen their team perform at a high level on a Thursday night, but then the performances domestically have not, since the turn of the year, been anywhere near that level - they've failed to turn up sometimes.
Losing the two cup ties to Aberdeen in his first season was tough - if he'd won them, he would have been ahead of schedule in terms of being able to get to cup finals and ask some serious questions.
This season, there was the disappointment of losing the League Cup Final, but it was said by many at the time that he could take courage from the performance, they could compete with Celtic on the field. I think Rangers did that - in the next league game against Celtic they were able to go and show how good a team they were.
Gerrard's two years at Rangers
2018-2019: 60 games, 32 wins, 18 draws, 10 defeats, win %: 53
2019-2020: 53 games, 36 wins, 9 draws, 8 defeats, win%: 68
There's no doubt for me that for everything that was at stake, because Celtic were pulling away in the league, and having already lost in the League Cup Final, that recent performance at Tynecastle [in the Scottish Cup quarter-final against Hearts on February 29] was the lowest moment - you have to say this was their opportunity to get some silverware.
Personally, I think after that game Steven considered his future, because he looked like a defeated man, but credit to him - he managed to dust himself and go again. It shows that he's got the grit and determination to go and be a success.
The squad is better now than when he took over because there is depth in it. Last season he was chopping and changing his team quite a bit, and this season he decided not to, but probably this season was when he should have done the changes.
On the downside, doing that leaves the other guys further out of the picture; when they did come in, they knew they had to perform, and were getting maybe 50, 60 minutes to try and play themselves back into the manager's thoughts - sometimes that can be a difficult environment.
A lot of the time players seem to either crumble or not appear to be given the right opportunity. It's down to them to take it when they are on the pitch, and I don't think enough players have given him food for thought.
If you look at the treatment of Alfredo Morelos prior to that cup game against Hearts [Morelos was dropped after returning back late from a trip to Colombia], I believe that Steven was probably wanting to do that last season but he didn't have the same strength in depth.
You can't keep just fining players nowadays because money is available to them. The only way you can punish them is by taking the football off them.
His disciplinary record wasn't that bad until he arrived in Scotland and it's as if he is playing up to that image now and he is going to have to get rid of it because it has hindered him.
But, there's no doubt that he has been an asset for Rangers or if they decide to cash in then he can be an asset for other clubs.
He is a real handful when he is on his game. He seems to be able to switch it on sometimes but he can switch it off at others.
It is up to Steven what he wants to do, there is no doubt that he has the backing of the Rangers fans and the club.
When the season comes back, is he going to be backed? There's no doubt that there needs to be fresh investment again to progress. Some of the players that have come in have not lived up to it.
Whatever happens he is going to have to come back and start really well and then see what happens from there. Rangers need to start challenging for titles, there is no getting away from it.
Steven will have a lot of thinking to do over the summer. Does he want to come back and re-build another squad or has he had enough?
Everything that comes with being at Rangers or Celtic, it is a short life span especially when you are not winning. He is committed long-term but it is just a piece of paper that can be ripped up at any moment.
I hope he stays around because he has brought the feel-good factor back to Scottish football. For Rangers, there are smiles on the faces going to games again but that's not good enough, you need to win trophies if you're going to be a success.