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I need time to make Gers a dominant force: Gerrard

 

Positive signs: Steven Gerrard and Rangers captain James Tavernier
Positive signs: Steven Gerrard and Rangers captain James Tavernier

By Gavin McCafferty

Steven Gerrard has warned he does not have a "magic wand" to transform Rangers into the dominant force in Scottish football.

Gerrard felt it would be unwise for him to make any predictions after chairman Dave King claimed this week that Rangers were "within touching distance" of becoming the dominant force.

But the Rangers manager welcomed King's comment that the board would continue to back Gerrard and Director of Football Mark Allen after the South Africa-based businessman admitted the team required a "further upgrade".

When asked whether King's opinion matched his own analysis, Rangers manager Gerrard said ahead of today's trip to face Hearts: "The chairman is well within his rights to have his opinion, I certainly respect and welcome his opinion.

"I caught up with him recently on the phone and we had a very in-depth chat about where we are, the areas where we feel like we have progressed, the areas where I feel as if we fell short.

"We had a really honest and open conversation and I'm going to be catching up with him face to face in the coming weeks as well.

"In terms of the statement, he is within his rights to say what he believes and what his opinion is. In terms of tangible Scottish dominance, I don't think it's sensible for me to make any predictions.

"For me the challenge is for me to have this squad and this team ready to compete for what's available next season. I don't have to really look further than that.

"We want to finish this season as strongly as we can and then get ourselves best prepared to have another go next year to win the next trophy that's available, and that's the League Cup."

Gerrard confirmed there was agreement between himself and King that the squad needed investment.

"It's very clear we do need backing," the 38-year-old said. "I'm not a guy who's got a magic wand and all of a sudden turns Rangers into a dominant force overnight.

"Everyone knows and every manager will say the same thing, you need backing from your board and your chairman.

"There has been progress made in a lot of areas that I'm very pleased and happy about. And I've also made it clear to the chairman where I feel we need to improve, in the 11 and the squad, to make sure we're capable of competing and tasting that first bit of success.

"I believe once we get that, then that will help us to grow and achieve more things together."

The level of investment is to be determined with Gerrard admitting talks were at an early stage.

"It is nice to hear that backing will be there," he said. "In terms of what level, the amount, I don't think that's for the public domain.

"But it was nice that he identified that there has been a lot of hard work going on with myself, the coaching staff, the recruitment team, that never stops."

Gerrard, whose team are 11 points off Ladbrokes Premiership leaders Celtic and lost twice to Aberdeen in the domestic cups, added: "I think the players deserve a lot of credit considering where they were 12 months ago to where they are now.

"But the message to the players is clear, we need to continue to work and keep improving because there's still a way to go before we are ready to compete for real."

Meanwhile, Jimmy Nicholl has rubbished suggestions Rangers have not progressed under Gerrard - insisting those criticising the Ibrox boss have no idea how bad a state the club was in 12 months ago.

The former Northern Ireland ace was placed in caretaker charge for the final three games of last season after interim manager Graeme Murty was sacked on the back of two defeats to Celtic.

However, the likes of pundit Chris Sutton have questioned whether the Light Blues are really any better off under former Liverpool skipper Gerrard.

But Nicholl insists anyone looking behind the scenes will be left in no doubt about how big the strides forward have been.

Nicholl - now assisting Oran Kearney at St Mirren - said: "There has been progress this year, but everybody wants progress quicker. Hopefully whatever happens in the summer means it will be a lot different next year.

"People don't know what it was like inside, so they turn round and say there's been no progress. But I'm telling you there has been."

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