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Gerrard pulls clear at front of race for the Gers hotseat

By Andy Newport and Gareth Hanna

Steven Gerrard is the "frontrunner" to become the next Rangers boss, according to club sources.

It is understood the former Liverpool and England skipper has jumped straight to the top of the club's wishlist after talks were launched last week.

The 37-year-old hung up his boots after a 12-month stint with LA Galaxy and has spent the time since cutting his teeth with the Reds' Under-18s.

Rangers chairman Dave King was spotted at Anfield on Tuesday night as Liverpool took on Roma in their Champions League semi-final showdown - a match where Gerrard was working as a television pundit.

Now he has emerged as the leading candidate to take over at Ibrox.

Talks are at an early stage but Rangers have made it clear they are interested in handing Gerrard his first chance at first-team management.

Graeme Murty remains the man in charge having been asked to step into the Ibrox breach following Pedro Caixinha's sacking back in October - but his days in Glasgow's south side appear numbered.

The bookmakers have already installed Gerrard as the odds-on favourite.

The appointment of a rookie boss would be a major gamble for Rangers as they look to arrest Brendan Rodgers' reign of domestic dominance.

And ex-Rangers manager and current Scotland chief Alex McLeish admits Gerrard, who led Liverpool to Champions League glory in 2005 and won 114 caps for England, will have to learn on the job if he does make the move.

He said: "It depends on what Steven has been doing, how much coaching he has actually been involved in.

"He knows the game inside out but as regards coaching, then I'm sure he has got things to learn."

Meanwhile, Andy Little says Rangers need to develop a siege mentality if they are to have any hope of wrecking Celtic's title party on Sunday.

The former Northern Ireland international was part of the Gers squad which prevented the Hoops winning the championship at Ibrox back in 2012.

He netted in a 3-2 victory over Neil Lennon's men which came six weeks after the Ibrox club were sent into administration.

But Little says the unfolding chaos helped to galvanise Ally McCoist's squad as they ensured the unthinkable of the Parkhead men celebrating a title win on their patch did not materialise.

And he believes the current Ibrox line-up need to develop a similarly robust mentality if they are to stop Brendan Rodgers' men wrapping up seven in a row at Celtic Park this weekend.

Little - who now plays for Stirling Albion and coaches Rangers' Under-10s - said: "There was so much going on at the club off the pitch with the administration back in 2012.

"There was pressure as the players knew how embarrassing it'd be for our fans to watch our rivals lift the trophy on our patch. We had a determination that Celtic winning the league at Ibrox was not going to happen - that's what needs to happen come Sunday."

Five other unusual choices as manager

Steven Gerrard has emerged from left-field as the odds-on favourite to take over at Rangers. So what other managerial appointments have come out of the blue? Here's a look at five:

Arsene Wenger

(Arsenal 1996-present): Where else to begin than with the man about to bring an end to his 22-year reign? Now he's one of the best-known managers in the world, but when he was appointed at Arsenal, he was a bit of a nobody. His managerial career had already lasted 12 years but, after longer spells at Nancy and Monaco (where he was ousted), he moved east to take over at Japanese side Nagoya Grampus Eight. When he was announced as the new Arsenal boss, captain Tony Adams is even quoted as saying: "What does this Frenchman know about football?" Adams soon ate his words as Wenger made him a double winner just two years later.

Avram Grant

(Chelsea 2007-2008): Who remembers the bemused reaction when Grant became the first Israeli manager in the Premier League in 2007? The fans were less than impressed after they had seen the much-loved Jose Mourinho depart. Grant had been Director of Football during Mourinho's last few months, having moved from a similar role at Portsmouth. He lasted only eight months in the job, soon replaced by Luiz Felipe Scolari.

Sven-Goran Eriksson

(Notts County 2009-2010): Okay so he wasn't exactly the manager but this one's so bizarre we couldn't leave it out. The former England boss was actually brought in as Director of Football by a consortium called Munto Finance, who had taken over the club. With big plans to reach the Premier League, Sol Campbell and Kasper Schmeichel were brought in from the top tier but it all turned sour when the club was issued with a winding up order in November 2009 and Eriksson left in February 2010.

Juande Ramos

(Real Madrid 2008-2009): Juande Ramos somehow used getting the sack at Tottenham as a route to the Bernabeu. He had led Spurs to Carling Cup success but a poor start to the 08/09 season saw his side bag only two points from their opening eight Premier League games. In October, he was sacked after being goaded by Hull City fans during a 1-0 defeat. Two months later he was manager of Real Madrid. He saw out his contract to the end of that season and then, adios.

Pedro Caixinha

(Rangers 2017): The Portuguese's seven-month reign was described as "a desperate mess from start to finish" by BBC Scotland's Tom English. He had spent the previous four years managing in Mexico and Qatar. During his spell in the Americas, he managed Santos Laguna, a club with links to Celtic and even congratulated the Hoops on winning the title in a video message. Caixinha soon became Rangers' shortest-serving boss. He endured the club's biggest ever home defeat to Celtic (5-1), the Europa League exit to Luxembourg side Progres Niederkorn and left with his side trailing Celtic by eight points after 10 games.

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