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Rangers boss Steven Gerrard can make his mark on history today, but his greater goal is winning the Scottish Cup

© SNS GroupSteven Gerrard and Michael Beale have issues to ponder
Steven Gerrard and Michael Beale have issues to ponder

Steven Gerrard is looking to equal an Old Firm record today that goes back 63 years.

Rangers last won a third-consecutive league match at Celtic Park way back in 1958.

They can complete a hat-trick of victories this afternoon as they travel to Parkhead as the newly-crowned Premiership champions.

Goals from Ryan Kent and Niko Katic gave Rangers the points against their greatest rivals in December, 2019.

Then last October, Connor Goldson got a double as Gerrard’s men strolled to victory in the first Old Firm clash of the campaign.

It was a day that really seemed to signal the power balance in Scottish football was moving towards Ibrox.

Gerrard’s first experience of an Old Firm encounter ended in 1-0 defeat at Parkhead, but he believes things have changed massively since his that Sunday afternoon in September, 2018.

The fear he sensed in his players has gone.

The Light Blues boss said: “There is a complete shift in terms of the mindset from the first Old Firm game. I have addressed where we were at that moment.

“You could feel as a manager we probably weren’t ready to win an Old Firm game.

“We went and competed well against Brendan Rodgers’ team, but there were periods of that game, especially in the first half, when they dominated us with the ball.

“You could gauge there was still a fear factor there from previous results and experience.

“It was going to take time, and there was going to be a process before we got to the right level where we could compete head-on.

“Now we believe we’re at that point where it doesn’t matter where the Old Firm game is.

“We’re going to go in with belief and a right good chance of getting the result and the outcome we want.”

© SMG/PA Images
George Young tackles Neil Mochan in 1956 during Rangers’ unbeaten run at Celtic Park

Winning the first encounter against Celtic this term helped to boost confidence that was already high in the Rangers’ ranks.

Gerrard added: “Winning Old Firm games is bigger than your normal three points. On the back of a win comes a lot of belief and confidence. It gives a lot of good feeling, a satisfying feeling, because it is the main fixture.

“There is no getting away from that.

“Over the course of a campaign, you can’t become obsessed just with this fixture because you obviously have to perform consistently against all the other opponents, which we have done this season.”

Winning today’s game would keep Rangers on course for an unbeaten league campaign.

Much as he would enjoy his players achieving that, it’s not something Gerrard sees as being massively important.

He said: “If we can go from now until the end of the season unbeaten, of course it would be a wonderful achievement.

“It would be fantastic. But it’s not the priority. The priority is the next game. It’s a tough game and a tough place to go, but we’ll be ready.

“Then we will breathe and get ready for the fixtures after the split. Once they are announced, we’ll prepare in the best way we can to remain as consistent as we can.

“The priority now, which won’t be a surprise to anyone, is the Scottish Cup.

“The main thing we can be judged on at Rangers is success and winning trophies.

“If I had the choice, it would be to have a successful run in the Scottish Cup rather than this ‘Invincible’ tag, or going the remainder of the season unbeaten.

“We will try it and we will use it as a motivation, but the priority is the Scottish Cup right now.”

Rangers hope that skipper James Tavernier and midfielder Ryan Jack will both be fit again after the international break.

Their continued absence and the doubt surrounding teenage full-back Nathan Patterson, is likely to see Gerrard make a minor reshuffle of his team after the defeat by Slavia Prague.

When Rangers won three games-in-a-row at Celtic Park in the 1950s, they beat their Glasgow rivals 1-0 thanks to a Don Kichenbrand strike, 2-0 with goals from Max Murray and Alex Scott, and 1-0 with Scott again the scorer.