Steven Gerrard has paid tribute to the stellar collective effort that has lit up Rangers’ path to their first title triumph in a decade.
The Ibrox outfit are celebrating being crowned kings of Scotland for the 55th time after bitter rivals Celtic stumbled at Dundee United.
Having spent so long in the shadow of their bitter rivals, Gers have now cantered to the title with six games to spare and will have the chance to rub their bitter rivals’ faces in it in two weeks’ time as they walk out at Celtic Park having already smashed the Hoops’ reign of dominance.
While Gerrard had to rely on individual performances – with Alfredo Morelos usually the leading talisman – to get him through some sticky situations in his first two ultimately trophy-less seasons, this term the Light Blues’ list of star men at times has numbered one to 11.
Skipper James Tavernier has contributed 17 goals from right-back, goalkeeper Allan McGregor and defender Connor Goldson will also be leading contenders for player of the year after forming a defensive wall that has conceded just nine league goals in 32 games so far.
In midfield, Steven Davis continues to put in vintage displays at the age of 36, while Morelos has timed his return to form to perfection with eight goals in the last 11 games seeing Gers over the line in the league and into the last 16 of the Europa League.
“In year one and year two we have at times been heavily reliant on certain individuals,” said Gerrard, whose side now turn their attention to Thursday’s Europa League clash with Slavia Prague. “It’s taken us time to get the squad into this shape with this quality.
“I think the star is the team. There is no ego in the team. Everyone is playing together. There’s a great spirit in the group.
“I think everyone – and me included – has expected at some point, as we got closer, to see some nerves or tension or some inexperience.
“But this shows the strength of the dressing room. There’s a lot of fearless young players and some real calm heads. We’ve got the balance spot on at the moment.
“That doesn’t mean we’re set. We need to keep moving it forwards and improve things – and we will.
“But in the short term it’s about getting them ready for two massive games now.”
Rangers chairman Douglas Park hailed an “absolutely unbelievable” achievement.
He told RangersTV: “We’ve achieved 55, we’ve won the league. I couldn’t be more happy for the club, the supporters and everyone.
“It’s been a hard, hard road getting there, but we’ve got there and obviously we want this to be the start of many.”
Park praised Gerrard for doing a “magnificent job”.
“He’s brought standards back to the club – standards inside the club, standards outside the club,” said Park.
“Every thanks I’ve got goes to him for the job he’s done, and the players.”
Tavernier, the only player still at the club who played for them in the Championship, said: “I’ve experienced such a roller coaster since I first came here.
“To do it this year, with everything surrounding this season, it’s monumental to not just the boys that have contributed, to the fans as well.
“Because they’ve been with us from day one. As for them and everyone who’s been involved, this is a terrific day for the club.”
Joe Aribo said: “It just feels crazy right now and I’m ecstatic that we were able to do it.”
Fellow midfielder Glen Kamara added: “We’re all buzzing and hopefully we’ve got many more to come.”
Jubilant Rangers fans flouted lockdown rules at Ibrox to celebrate the success for the second day running, while supporters also gathered at the club’s training ground in Milngavie to salute Gerrard and his players.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urged them to observe coronavirus regulations.
She said on Twitter: “I congratulate @RangersFC on the title win & recognise what a moment this is for fans. But gathering in crowds just now risks lives, and could delay exit from lockdown for everyone else. If those gathering care at all about the safety of others & the country, they will go home.”
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