Steven Gerrard’s two years at Rangers in his own words – BBC News

Plenty has happened since Steven Gerrard was named as Rangers manager two years ago.

On the anniversary of that appointment – on 4 May, 2018 – BBC Scotland looks back at the former England captain’s reign in his own words.

On his arrival…

The previous weekend, Rangers had been hammered 5-0 at Celtic Park as Brendan Rodgers’ side claimed their seventh successive title. The Ibrox club limped to a third-placed finish, winning only one of their final four matches.

A sizeable task faced Gerrard – who was greeted by thousands of fans at Ibrox – but was one he relished. He brought in 10 players and moved another 10 on as he prepared for his first season in management.

On his first league game…

Rangers started their domestic campaign at Aberdeen, the team who pipped them to second the previous season. And, despite playing the majority of the match with 10 men, they were unfortunate to be denied a win thanks to a stoppage-time leveller.

Afterwards, Gerrard stoked the fire somewhat by claiming his side were superior to Aberdeen. And while the Ibrox club did end the campaign finishing above them in the league, Derek McInnes’ men knocked them out of both cup competitions.

“Season 2018/19 was a mixture of good and not so good,” said Gerrard of his first season in charge.

On Morelos…

No player has been as prominent under Gerrard as Alfredo Morelos. The Colombian striker has played 94 games, scoring 59 goals, but has also shown himself capable of moments of madness.

Despite those disappointments in the cup against Aberdeen, Rangers travelled to Celtic Park in March 2019 trailing their city rivals by 10 points. Gerrard’s side had earned a derby win at Ibrox in December but lost 2-1 after Morelos was sent off for elbowing Celtic captain Scott Brown.

Morelos featured just three more times that season, albeit he did finish as the league’s top scorer, and has proved one of Gerrard’s greatest challenges.

After collecting five red cards in the manager’s first season, he appeared calmer and more driven this term before two sendings off in December, and a complete lack of form after Christmas, coincided with a slump for the whole team.

On the League Cup final defeat…

Before those challenges, Rangers looked an improved side at the start of this season – neck-and-neck with Celtic at the top of the Premiership and in November’s League Cup final.

With his first trophy as a manager within reach, Gerrard’s side faced Celtic, the team who had won the previous nine domestic trophies. Rangers had 16 shots on goal, 11 corners, and missed a penalty, losing by a contentious goal. After the match Gerrard’s pain was evident.

On losing to Hearts in the Scottish Cup

Perhaps the low point of Gerrard’s tenure was defeat at top-flight bottom club Hearts in the fifth round of the Scottish Cup in February.

With Morelos left out after returning late from Colombia, Rangers produced arguably their worst performance of his time in charge and lost 1-0. It was the second season in a row that their form had collapsed after the winter break.

On reaching the Europa League last 16…

In stark contrast to their domestic disappointments, Rangers have excelled in Europe in Gerrard. Twice they have reached the Europa League group stages, despite starting in the first qualifying round.

After a stirring comeback victory against Braga in the last 32 this season, they are still in the competition, albeit they trail Germany’s Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 after the first leg at Ibrox.

On what must happen next…

When the season was halted on 13 March, Rangers were second in the Premiership, 13 points behind Celtic with a game in hand. Their points total has increased this season but, regardless of how the campaign ends, a title seems out of reach.

That would mean Gerrard has not won any of the six domestic competitions in which he has competed in Scotland – something he knows makes the Rangers’ fans restless.

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