Rangers boss Steven Gerrard excited to see fans back after 'soulless' empty stadiums

Steven Gerrard named Scottish Premiership Manager of the Month for November, Rangers captain James Tavernier named Player of the Month; Rangers face Ross County at Dingwall on Sunday; live on Sky Sports Football from 11am; kick-off 12pm

Image: Steven Gerrard's side are 11 points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership

Rangers will play in front of fans in the league for the first time this season on Sunday when they travel to Ross County, live on Sky Sports.

Steven Gerrard, whose side are 11 points clear of Celtic at the top of the league, having played two more games, said playing behind closed doors has at times felt "a bit soulless and a bit quiet", but have empty stadiums helped Rangers so far this season?

"I suppose (for) certain individuals that might be the case, but we have had some fantastic results when it's been tense and its been a really tough atmosphere to play against, we've managed to show real character and belief at times," Gerrard, who was named the Scottish Premiership Manager of the Month for November, said.

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"I think when you judge our results, I don't think it's had a negative effect for sure, you hear the players talking about it - I think if they had the choice they would rather play in front of the atmospheres. You walk out into the stadiums and it does feel a bit soulless and a bit quiet.

"When our crowd is behind us at Ibrox they are a massive help. Of course, if the result or the score line is not in our favour then it's natural that the stadium is tense, the same everywhere at every big club and every big capacity. That's something we have to live with and deal with when it comes back."

Rangers
Image: Gerrard says having fans at Ibrox is a 'massive help'

Rangers came from behind twice against Standard Liege at Ibrox on Thursday night to win 3-2 and qualify for the last 32 of the Europa League for the second year running, and Gerrard highlighted the influence of 27-year-old Kemar Roofe, who has scored seven times since signing on a four-year deal from Anderlecht in August.

"One thing for sure, I have to pay credit to the fitness department and the sports science lads," Gerrard said. "The numbers that we are hitting right now are really impressive.

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"I think Kemar Roofe certainly helps on that. He doesn't stop. He is hitting numbers that you don't really expect from a forward player; he is running more than the midfielders and running the most in the team at the moment.

"I think he is really setting the example in terms of what we need to put into a game to get the results we are getting.

"Everyone is hitting impressive numbers but Roofe has raised the bar with the last couple of performances he has put in."

James Tavernier is congratulated after hauling Rangers level at 2-2
Image: Gerrard says James Tavernier wants to 'grow as a leader' for Rangers

Rangers are unbeaten in 24 games this season, and won all three matches in the league last month, scoring 13 without conceding. Right-back James Tavernier scored four goals in the league in November, five in total, to help take his tally for the season to 15, and was named Scottish Premiership Player of the Month.

Gerrard said: "He has shown fantastic leadership on and off the pitch at the moment, James.

"I think he is really growing into the role. He wants to improve as a player on a daily basis, which is the most important thing, but he is also aware that he wants to grow as a leader as well.

"I couldn't be any more pleased for James in terms of his consistency and his goals and assists are always a bonus on top of the performances.

"He is certainly leading by example on and off the pitch.

Steven Gerrard shows his delight at the final whistle against Standard Liege
Image: Gerrard paid tribute to his management team after being announced as November's Scottish Premiership Manager of the Month

"In terms of the award as a staff, it should really be called the management team award because everyone puts so much in, not just the management staff in terms of the coaches.

"Behind the scenes there are a lot of staff that push the team and do everything they can to take the excuses away from the team.

"But we wouldn't get this award without the consistency of the players so they deserve the plaudits - and it is an award that is shared around the club."

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