Steven Gerrard has been given the backing of the Rangers board following a traumatic week for the Glasgow club.
In what was a major shock, the Light Blues were knocked out of the Scottish Cup by Hearts at Tynecastle eight days ago.
That was followed in midweek by a humbling home defeat from Hamilton Accies, a reverse which allowed Celtic to further extend their lead at the top of the Premiership table.
And with Bayer Leverkusen and Neil Lennon’s Hoops next up after today’s lunchtime trip to Ross County, fans could be forgiven for wondering if things will get worse before they get better.
Gerrard, who after the loss to Hearts took time out to do some “long, hard thinking”, reports that the men who count – the Ibrox directors – are right behind him.
Asked if they expressed their confidence he will get it right, the Englishman replied: “Collectively, as a group, they have.
“I think the board have seen enough over the 20 months, with this same group of players, to know they are capable of getting through this.
“Of course, confidence has been hit. A few things have been hit of late.
“This is a challenge for all of us to prove that we can. That starts from today.”
The former Liverpool and England star said he’d had talks with the board’s leader, outgoing chairman, Dave King. But he was circumspect about portraying him as responsible for the backing he has received.
“I don’t necessarily want to quote just Dave on that comment,” said Gerrard.
“Yes, I have spoken to him. But I have regular contact with Dave, so I don’t want it to look as if he has supported me on the back of a few bad results.
“He has supported me since day one. This week, following those bad results, all the board have been there for me and been rock solid.
“I think any manager at this football club needs that.”
Gerrard has considerable connections south of the border, thanks to his illustrious playing career. But is thankful also for having inherited the support of Walter Smith, one of his most-successful predecessors as Rangers boss.
“Will I speak to him? Quite possibly,” admitted Gerrard.
“I have had chats with Walter since day one, and he is obviously someone who has been round the block and got the T-shirt.
“The last message I sent to him was to wish him ‘Happy Birthday’, which wasn’t so long ago (February 24).
“If you are asking is he there for me, and will he be there for me this week? Then I’m sure he will be if I need it.
“I think things are different now in my reign compared to when he was the manager.
“But he has been one who has been honest with me since my first day. Even off the back of a good game, Walter is the type of person who will not just talk about the good things.
“He will say to you this, that and the other.
“His advice has been absolute gold dust and it will continue to be because I genuinely think he wants to help and support me and this
“You can hear his love for the club when you speak to him. He is still as passionate as he was when I looked up to him from the outside.”
Smith’s Rangers sides were renowned for their battling qualities, and the current boss is looking to see a similar spirit from his players in the days and weeks ahead.
“You have to fight when you are in our position. It’s the only way,” said Gerrard.
“And that’s why I’m saying we need everyone now. At times you can carry a few, but when the chips are down, and the heat and the pressure is on, we need everyone to pull in the right direction.
“If I spot or see anyone who is not prepared to fight, then I am going to have to deal with that situation.”
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