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Extending my stay at Ibrox an easy decision: Gerrard

Motherwell v Rangers, Scottish Premiership: Fir Park, Tomorrow, 12 noon

Staying put: Steven Gerrard and assistant Gary McAllister were delighted to sign new Rangers deals
Staying put: Steven Gerrard and assistant Gary McAllister were delighted to sign new Rangers deals
Steven Gerrard

By Andy Newport

Steven Gerrard insists it would have taken him just 10 minutes to put pen to paper on his new Rangers deal had it not been for this week's crucial fixtures.

The Ibrox boss, along with assistant Gary McAllister, first-team coach Michael Beale and six other members of his backroom team have re-committed themselves to the Light Blues after agreeing extensions running to 2024.

News of the contract talks leaked last week, just two days before Gerrard's side were due to face Celtic in Sunday's Betfred Cup final.

He also had Thursday's all-important Europa League clash with Young Boys to focus on so asked the club to shelve their announcement.

But now his team have secured the point they required to book a place in the last-32, making up for some of the pain they suffered in losing to Celtic at Hampden, Gerrard was happy to make things official.

Ahead of tomorrow's trip to Motherwell, the 39-year-old said: "I am extremely happy and proud to have extended my contract. It takes me back to the day when I came in, I think it was May 4, and such a big day. It feels similar today to extend my stay here and I am obviously very grateful to the club.

"It means a lot that they came to me and my staff and recognised the work that we are doing here. That is the most important thing.

"I like to be loyal, I like to be committed to the job in hand and it was a pretty straightforward conversation when our sporting director Ross Wilson and managing director Stewart Robertson approached me.

"It was only over a week ago and I asked them to park it up for a week because of the magnitude of the games.

"But if the magnitude of the games wasn't there, it would have been done in five or 10 minutes and I think that shows the commitment that myself and the staff have got here.

"We believe we have moved the club forward in a lot of areas and it is where we want it to be right now. But there is still work to be done and places where we want to take this club and we are confident that we can do that."

Gerrard has made huge strides on the continent during his two seasons in charge, transforming a side dumped out by minnows Progres Niederkorn 12 months before his arrival into a team now competing beyond Christmas for the first time since 2011.

But there remains work to be done domestically. The former Champions League-winning Liverpool skipper ended his first campaign in Scotland empty-handed while he saw another chance to land his first trophy as a manager slip away last Sunday.

Celtic also have a two-point lead over their rivals in the Premiership as they look to claim a ninth successive league title but Gerrard knows the Light Blues legions are desperate to smash that reign of dominance.

"It is the reason why I am here, the reason why I want to stay here," he said. "Sunday was a very important day for me from a personal point of view because my feelings only grew stronger towards the support.

"They have been fantastic with me from day one. They understand and can see with their own eyes what we are trying to do and how we want the team to play and I think they have got belief and confidence in us that, if we keep doing the right things and keep growing the team and strengthening in the right areas, there is confidence there that it will turn for the better."

Rangers chairman Dave King has no doubt Gerrard is the man to bring back the glory years.

He said: "From the moment I met Steven, I could tell that he was the right man to help us drive this club forward on the pitch. He has an elite mentality and that is what I was looking for. He is relentless in his desire to bring success to our club and we are delighted he has signed this new contract, which shows his commitment to Rangers."

Meanwhile, McAllister admits Gerrard cannot live on his past glories and must deliver some silverware to the Ibrox trophy room to be considered a Rangers success.

McAllister said: "Steven's definitely grown into the job. He's come into a club with high expectations but he's lived with that his entire career, so I knew that was something he'd cope with.

"But it's still new to him. As a backroom team of five or six plus all the physio staff, I think it's moving on pretty well. Progress has been seen.

"I see two different people now. I knew Steven Gerrard the player as a team-mate. Now I see Steven Gerrard the manager and those two never cross over.

"He knows he cannot rely on an amazing playing career. He's gone into a different field but has thrown himself right into it.

"He's very, very enthusiastic along with the rest of us. How far away is real success? I'd love to give you a good answer on that.

"What I can assure you is we're just working as hard as we can every day to get to that point because nothing has been achieved yet.

"There has been progress but ultimately a club like this is gauged on winning trophies and that is the target."

However, both McAllister and Gerrard think they have gone some way to repairing the damage done to the club's reputation by its infamous financial collapse with their march to the knock-out stages.

They could now land a potential February showdown with the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal, Ajax or Inter Milan when the draw is made on Monday.

"Arriving here, one of the main jobs was to try and get some respect back for this club," said McAllister. "The kudos of doing well in the European campaigns, getting to where we got last season and going one better this term adds to that."

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