I’VE said from the outset that Steven Gerrard was a good appointment by Rangers, and performances so far have vindicated my confidence in him.
Sure, it’s early days but anyone watching can already see the improvement in organisation and discipline in the Ibrox side.
Not that it has been entirely plain sailing.
Managing Alfredo Morelos would be a challenge for any coach, inexperienced or otherwise.
The Colombian has talent, that much is certain. He is not what you would call an intelligent striker but defenders find it hard to work out what he is doing and, as a consequence, how best to stop him.
His mentality, though, makes him a problem. Ignore the fact his offence at Pittodrie last Sunday got downgraded to a yellow card.
To kick out at Scott McKenna, no matter the provocation, was a crazy thing to do.
His action put his team down to 10 men for the vast majority of the match. The fact Rangers played well enough to take a point – and actually deserved all three – was no thanks to Morelos.
He was fouled twice by McKenna. A shoulder charge has to be shoulder to shoulder, and the ball has to be in the vicinity.
Neither was the case in the lead up to the Morelos red.
However, there was a very good reason why the Colombian was targeted for such treatment.
I’m sure Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes knew he was a hot-head and likely to react, based on Morelos’ previous record of throwing tantrums in games over the last 12 months.
So his sending off will not have been a surprise to one single manager in the Premiership.
If it was, they will certainly not be slow in reminding their players of the potential advantage to be had of noising up the striker at every opportunity.
So it is a problem for Gerrard to deal with – and one which I believe he should have been spared.
Rangers should have leapt at the reported big-money offer they received last season from China for Morelos, suggested to be anything from £8-10m.
Gerrard said he would speak to the player after the Pittodrie incident, and the positive display Morelos gave against Maribor – where he scored the opener and won a crucial penalty – points to that meeting having gone pretty well.
Even so, I think it is clear Rangers need to get another striker in, and a quality one at that.
Josh Windass, who as I have said before also has talent but has been too inconsistent, is off to Wigan for £2.5m. That was good money, as was the £1m Rangers picked up for transferring Declan John to Swansea.
But Windass leaving reduces the number of attacking options open to the Rangers manager.
And with Umar Sadiq, on loan from Roma, not showing enough yet, there is a strong case for bringing in reinforcements
The links with Liverpool’s Dominic Solanke have resurfaced again, and have been persistent enough through the summer to give fans reason to believe it will happen.
If Rangers get him, they should be pretty well set for the season ahead.
The confidence with which the manager spoke of his team being “a class above” Aberdeen both hints at that – and at fun to be had around the first Old Firm game of the season.
Gerrard has been nothing if not active in the market, with almost a revolving-door policy at the club.
The work that has been done is very encouraging, and the way he and his fellow coaches have already tightened up the team impressive.
Conor Goldson and Nikola Katic look solid, Jon Flanagan is definitely a decent player, James Tavernier will have been boosted by being handed the armband and the signing of the Borna Barisic from Osijek is an interesting one.
It will, I think, see Flanagan switched to right back and Tavernier pushed on, which would strengthen the midfield.
We will see more today when the Light Blues host St Mirren in their first home league match of the season.
But, Morelos mishaps aside, Rangers under Steven Gerrard are looking good.