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Stephen Craigan: Gerrard must fill Rangers trophy cabinet before Liverpool return

Swiss role: Young Boys’ Roger Assale after equalising against Rangers in Bern, the Swiss side then grabbing a late winner
Swiss role: Young Boys’ Roger Assale after equalising against Rangers in Bern, the Swiss side then grabbing a late winner
Stephen Craigan

By Stephen Craigan

When Jurgen Klopp said in an interview last week he would recommend to the Liverpool board that they bring Steven Gerrard down from Glasgow to replace him, he didn't actually mean in the immediate future.

It was a throwaway comment that really should have no substance as it was his personal opinion and not that of his club, publicly anyway.

However it's got people in Scotland discussing the possibility of it becoming a reality and if so when?

Although Klopp meant it as a compliment to Gerrard, the last 10 days or so it's become an unnecessary distraction. He's had to answer questions that are hypothetical on something that he has no influence over.

Gerrard has continually reiterated his desire to bring success to Rangers and repay the faith the club showed in him last summer as a rookie manager. The talk of Liverpool is on the back burner, as he knows the enormity of the job he has taken on at Ibrox.

The squad needed major surgery last summer and this summer; the fans needed a bit of hope and the board needed a figurehead to lead the club back to the top of Scottish football.

The Rangers board gambled on Gerrard based on his coaching and managerial experience, of that there's no doubt, but as a prominent figure within football they got that bit spot on.

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Qualifying for the Europa League last season was a huge bonus but both domestic cup competitions ended in disappointment, exiting both at the hands of Aberdeen.

A second place in the Premiership was an improvement but they finished the season empty handed.

This season has certainly begun in a positive fashion with the team again qualifying for the Europa League group stages and although Thursday night's 2-1 defeat against Young Boys was a setback, it shouldn't put them off track.

They are also just a point behind Celtic in the league and with an upcoming League Cup semi-final against Hearts they are well placed to challenge on all fronts.

There has been a consistent improvement since Gerrard took the helm 17 months ago but he will know more than most silverware defines a manager's success at a club like Rangers. It's well known that second place in Glasgow is last and Gerrard wasn't brought in to finish last!

Longer term I have no doubt if Gerrard's managerial career in Glasgow is a success then he will certainly be a candidate if and when the time comes for a possible Anfield return.

He has the charisma, the stature and has Liverpool Football Club etched in his heart but I wouldn't expect the Reds board to base an appointment purely on sentiment.

When it boils down to it they need someone who has been successful in a high-profile high-pressure environment and has shown the capability to be a serial winner.

There are few more intense cities in the world for football than the goldfish bowl of Glasgow so Gerrard is in the best place to show he can excel.

So Gerrard knows he has to fill the Ibrox trophy cabinet if his private dream of returning to Merseyside is to become a reality.

 

I’d like to pass on my congratulations to Gareth McAuley on an incredible career for both club and country.

The big man’s goal in Lyon will live long in the memory of many but his dedication to his profession should be a shining example to all young footballers in the Irish League in particular. Good luck Big G and all the best for the future.

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