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Sir Kenny Dalglish: Steven’s transformation of Rangers is up there with Istanbul – and now he’ll only want more

© Ross MacDonald / SNS GroupRangers boss Steven Gerrrard was celebrating in his car last Sunday
Rangers boss Steven Gerrrard was celebrating in his car last Sunday

For the past two months, we’ve all known Rangers were going to win the Premiership.

It was just a matter of when they got over the line.

Now that they have, one thing is for certain.

Steven Gerrard will not be resting on his laurels.

That’s not his style.

Now that he has tasted success, he will want more of it.

That’s the way big clubs and serious operators go about their business.

Rangers and Steven fall into such categories.

Steven was extremely unfortunate not to enjoy championship success at Liverpool.

But he did win the Champions League when he inspired the comeback from 3-0 down to AC Milan to win on penalties in Istanbul in 2005.

It was one of the greatest turnarounds of all time.

He has been at the heart of another remarkable comeback at Rangers.

He has enjoyed it, but he now looks to the next success story at Ibrox.

When he says that he will not stand still and be happy with just one title, he means it.

He will act upon it. He will drive on improvements in all areas. He is relentless and he is a winner.

Everybody knows that you need to keep looking to move forward.

© Tolga Bozoglu/EPA/Shutterstock
Gerrard lifting the Champions League trophy as Liverpool captain in Istanbul 16 years ago

A challenge will come from Celtic, and there are many changes on the horizon at Parkhead.

A new manager will come in, and he will look to bring his own people with him.

He will have his own ideas on players and there will be a number of changes to the squad.

Celtic will be well aware they have a real fight on their hands to topple Rangers.

The new regime will be up against a much stronger Rangers side than the one Steven started with almost three years ago.

There is no doubt that Steven, his staff and the players, enjoyed themselves for a day or two over the weekend.

They celebrated together, and were entitled to do so.

So much hard work and sacrifice has gone into this success – and it’s not just about this season and the past nine months.

This has been a process in the making since Steven arrived at the club in the summer of 2018.

He inherited a squad that required surgery, and he managed to improve the team, month by month, and with every transfer window.

Steven has been superb.

But he will be the first to admit that it is not all about him. He has a great support network and staff around him.

That’s not just about the guys he brought with him from down south.

It’s also about some of the people who were already there, and also the likes of Ross Wilson, the director of football.

They all work well together. There are clear lines of communication and everybody has had their roles defined.

It’s the best way and avoids any confusion.

But the hard work has just started. There is no way Steven will sit back and rest on this achievement.

© Craig Williamson / SNS Group
Gerrard and his coaching team

Of course, a slice of good fortune is required in all walks of life to help deliver more success.

You only need to look at Liverpool this season.

They have been up against it with injuries to several key players at different stages. It can have a real detrimental effect.

But Jurgen Klopp and the squad still have plenty to play for in the Premier League, and are also safely through to the last eight of the Champions League.

Rangers are also still in Europe, and managed a 1-1 draw at Slavia Prague on Thursday night.

They started the game poorly and fell behind.

But they dug in, and showed resilience to bounce back and get an equaliser from a set-piece through Filip Helander.

There was real courage and commitment in the overall performance.

Allan McGregor then pulled off an incredible save from Ondrej Kudela’s downward header in the closing minutes to deny the Czechs a winning goal.

The save was truly extraordinary and has already been mentioned in the same breath as the one Gordon Banks made to deny Pele in the 1970 World Cup Finals.

Gordon flew to his right and scooped the ball up to safety. Allan flew to his left and managed to save it from behind him. He also held on to the ball.

In his television interview afterwards, Allan played down the save in a very self-deprecating manner. That’s just his style.

But everyone inside Rangers knows that save may well prove to be the difference when it comes to the full-time whistle at Ibrox on Thursday evening and winning a place in the last eight of the Europa League.


We just need to keep going to beat Covid

Exactly a year ago, Covid-19 first impacted hard on football in Scotland.

The Scottish FA suspended the domestic game, which included the postponement of an Old Firm clash.

It has been a very frustrating time.

Not having fans inside the stadiums makes the game as we know it feel different.

So the sooner fans are allowed back in, the better.

We may well see supporters inside Hampden Park and Wembley Stadium for the Euros this summer.

And on the domestic front, it would give us all a boost if we could get the fans back inside the grounds for the start of the new season.

We need them back as the novelty has most definitely worn off.

Some clubs have excelled with no fans, while others have suffered with the lack of vocal support.

The more the population sticks to the rules, the better the chance football and society will have of being back to some form of normality in the not-too-distant future.

There is most definitely light at the end of the end of the tunnel with the vaccinations now on the go.

Credit to the NHS and the scientists for providing information and communication to keep us all as safe as possible.

The health and wellbeing of everyone will always be the most important thing. We need to follow the guidelines as best we can.

Of course, people have broken the rules.

I’m sure there are many, many people around the UK who would admit that they could have done better in the past year in terms of following the rules.

Scottish football has had its share of negativity this season, with players and clubs letting themselves down with some poor decision-making.

But the past year was always going to be a learning process for everyone because we were new to all of this. It was never going to be perfect.

The important thing is that we learn from mistakes and do not repeat them.

There are challenges to overcome every single day, and we just need to try our best to get through them.