Assessing Steven Gerrard’s First Year At Rangers – Not Great, Not Terrible!


Steven Gerrard’s Rangers team trudged off Rugby Park this afternoon having lost their last game of his maiden year as a manager.

The Gers boss will now understand just how tough life in Glasgow is because some will slate his debut year and call it unsuccessful. Others will try and say that Steven has in fact done a terrific job at Ibrox.

In truth Rangers have had a mixed season, it’s not been great and it’s not been bad either.

For me, Gerrard has managed to guide Rangers to what was expected of him and his players. Along the way he has suffered disappointments and he’s also enjoyed some great times too.

I think it’s worth remembering that Rangers were celebrating winning Scotland’s bottom tier just six years ago and are now onto their fourth permanent boss since 2013. That’s meant that the squad has been restructured quite a few times.

The task was never going to be an easy one for the rookie gaffer!

I think consistency has been an issue for this current Light Blues squad. They dropped points in fifteen Scottish Premiership fixtures (Losing six and drawing nine). If they are going to challenge for the league title next season then they need to win more games and go on a strong winning run earlier in the campaign.

Rangers could be helped by the fact that Gerrard managed to find a side that he trusted towards the end of the season and it’s not a surprise that when he did, a winning streak developed. If the Liverpool legend can keep the core of that side and supplement it with new, hungry signings then they might get off to a flier next term.

The signings under Gerrard have produced a bit of a mix bag.

Some have been great like Allan McGregor, Ryan Kent, Connor Goldson, Glenn Kamara and Scott Arfield. Others like Kyle Lafferty, Eros Grezda and Gareth McAuley have been flops. While Jon Flanagan, Joe Worrall, Borna Barisic and Lassana Coulibaly didn’t do enough throughout the whole term.

The recruitment team will hope they get more stars than duds in the door during next transfer window.

A lot of the players need to look at themselves when it comes to their discipline on the park. They received too many red cards for me and a lot of those could have been avoided.

The big games also offered up mixed fortunes for the Govan giants.

Gerrard managed to guide his team to two home victories over champions Celtic, being the first and only Gers boss to get a win over a Brendan Rodgers managed Hoops side. It should also be noted that they bossed those two games at Ibrox.

They also lost important games against Aberdeen and Kilmarnock. Now I think in recent years The Dons, Killie, Hearts, Hibs and St Johnstone have upped their game both on and off the park. No team lie down to Rangers these days and that’s a credit to Scottish football. That being said Rangers spend more than every team outside of Celtic and that means they’re expected to win those tough games when it really matters and that’s not always been the case this season.

The Rangers supporters will have been delighted with the team’s efforts in the Europa League. A year previously, Rangers were dumped in Luxembourg in what was their poorest European performance. In this campaign, Gerrard guided his troops beyond all the qualifying rounds and ended just a win away from qualifying out of a tough group. Wins over Maribor, UFA and Rapid Vienna were impressive as was the team’s two draws with La Liga cracks Villarreal.

Domestically the same support will have been disappointed to end the campaign without a trophy or a final appearance at Hampden. I think they bottled it twice against Aberdeen and they’ll be expected to do better next term.

Securing second place in the Scottish Premiership is a good achievement and it should be used as a springboard to go onto bigger and better things next year. But Celtic will look to be stronger and Aberdeen, Killie, Hearts and Hibs will also look to come again. Nothing is going to be guaranteed for The Gers!

I think if you are being realistic, Rangers have finally achieved what was expected of them since they arrived in the top flight in 2016. They have progressed  this year and now their young manager needs to keep that progression going.

To do that they need to find more consistency and hope for some luck when they need it.

This season’s report card says Steven Gerrard has improved the mood around Ibrox but performances could be better. It’s up to the management team to get more right next season.

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