Glasgow Rangers legend Terry Butcher believes that beating Glasgow Celtic just once or more this season will represent initial success for manager Steven Gerrard – and he is partly right.
The former Rangers captain expects that Celtic could “Notch things up to another gear” over the next few months and go on to win another unchallenged league title – I really hope Butcher is wrong again!
But, while he feels second best is as much as Gerrard can hope for in his first season in the Premiership, Butcher is backing his fellow ex-England captain to lay down a marker in his longer-term quest to switch the Old Firm balance of power back in Rangers favour.
The Ibrox side are only two points behind Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic and Craig Levein’s Hearts but Butcher says: “Celtic will come into their own in the title race when the New Year comes around,” according to The Scotsman.
That’s what Celtic normally do, but this year is totally different because for the last six years, the Hoops have had nobody to challenge them, and this year they have Rangers breathing down their necks.
There is one very important game for Rangers to win on December 29th at Ibrox, where a ‘Gers win will be important to having a reasonable chance of winning the title, after a very long time in the wilderness.
Most Rangers managers are judged by the results of their side against their bitter rivals Celtic, from the east end of Glasgow, and Gerrard is no different.
If Gerrard’s team are on fire when they play against Celtic, there should only be one winner, but if they play well below their normal standard, then the Hoops could very well win the game.
Butcher has been very impressed with manager Gerrard so far, and if he didn’t know how big Rangers was before, then he fully understands it all now.
He has taken everything in his stride, and looks and sounds the part in every department of being a superb Rangers manager.
He has certainly built a new team that is hopefully going to challenge for the title this season, or is heading for second place as the minimum target.
As Butcher says. “He is learning all the time. The way he speaks and goes about his work, it’s very encouraging for Rangers and for him.
“Of course, he is looking at future jobs, the Liverpool job if it ever comes up. But to do that, he has to get success elsewhere.
“What would qualify as success at Rangers? Finishing second to Celtic? Some people would say that is success in the current circumstances but Rangers fans certainly want more than that and I’m sure Stevie wants more than that”.
He doesn’t want to finish second. He wants to finish first. He didn’t quite manage to do that in the league at Liverpool. He nearly got there but he doesn’t want to just nearly get there with Rangers. He wants to go all the way.
“That might take a bit of time but I think he is in it for the long run, and getting success at Rangers will get him a job in England eventually. Every manager wants to work there”.
“Because the Premier League is where the big bucks and the real glory are in many respects. But the Premiership is a tough league and Rangers is a tough job. If he can cope with this, he can cope with anything.”