STEVEN GERRARD knows what it takes to captain a big football club.
He skippered Liverpool at the age of 23 and won nine trophies, including the Champions League.
The importance of leaders on and off the field remains a top priority for the Rangers boss.
Victory over Hearts today would see the 38-year-old take the Ibrox club to the top of the Premiership for the first time during his reign.
Gerrard is desperate for his club to reach the top and stay there.
But winning games in the white-hot heat of Tynecastle isn’t achieved by shrinking violets.
That’s why Gerrard believes his team’s success at home and abroad is based on having multiple captains in Light Blue.
It all starts with Allan McGregor, a man the boss values for the way he leads by example and his incredible saves.
Gerrard said: “He is a captain for me.
“I don’t just see it that, because James Tavernier has the armband, we only have one captain. There are a lot of leaders in that dressing room.
“I have one in Connor Goldson. You saw that from his performance against Villarreal on Thursday night.
“It is leadership we are looking for, not just captains, and Allan gives us that from the back.
“He is positive at the right times, he gives people a kick up the backside at the right time.
“People listen to him, they respect him.
“Andy Halliday leads in a different way, Tav leads by his performances and his consistency.
“Scott Arfield, where do you start with him? He is just a perfectionist on and off the pitch.
“I think the dressing room is quite healthy because we have some good people in there.”
Gerrard accepts that becoming league leaders will boost morale, but he’s too canny to claim Rangers will go on to claim the title.
It’s still more about hope than expectation at this stage.
He went on: “We want to stay as high as we can for as long as we can.
“We want to compete at the top. That’s the challenge.
“But there’s still a lot of games to play. There will be a twists and turns from now to the end of the season.
“Of course, come the winter break, it would be nice if we were top. But we have some big challenges ahead of us before that.”
Taking on Hearts at their own stadium will be another first for Gerrard today.
He said: “I haven’t played at Tynecastle. I didn’t go there with Liverpool when they played in the Europa League in 2012.
“I was rested on the night, although I played in the home fixture.
“I went to Tynecastle when they played
St Johnstone early in the season, I was trying to visit as many stadiums as I could to get a feel for it.
“It is a narrow pitch, a little bit tighter to what we are used to at Ibrox, but it is the same for both teams.
“I don’t mind it being a wicked atmosphere. I am all for that. I used to love playing in those ones.
“I am sure it will be feisty at times.”
Kyle Lafferty returns to Hearts for the first time since leaving for a second spell at Rangers.
His boss believes the striker will have no problem handling the occasion.
He said: “I thought Kyle was excellent when he came on the other night against Villarreal. That’s the Lafferty we want.
“He was aggressive, putting himself about, difficult to play against.
“He nearly got the winner with an unbelievable strike.
“He will play a big part between now and the end of the season, but there will be no sentiment involved just because it’s his old club.
“I’m sure he’ll get an OK reception.
“Kyle has been around the game a long time.
“He’s professional, and he will just get on with it.”