THE door to the manager's office at Auchenhowie was always open for Kevin Thomson over the last three years. It is the one at New Central Park that offers new opportunities these days.

The words of advice and understanding from Steven Gerrard were invaluable to the 36-year-old. He is now aiming to follow in Gerrard's footsteps and has ambitions of walking in his shoes.

Each moment spent with Gerrard was an education for Thomson. He would learn from Gary McAllister, Michael Beale and Tom Culshaw, too, as he saw the management team that would take Rangers to title 55 at close quarters.

Glasgow Times: Rangers manager Steven Gerrard

That experience will be invaluable as he embarks on the next stage of his career with Kelty Hearts. Thomson is now going it alone as a boss, but he will forever be grateful to those that he has left behind at Rangers.

"I have to say, the gaffer has been unbelievable with me to be fair," Thomson told the Essential Scottish Football Podcast. "To be honest, I think he is unbelievable with everyone. He has got time for everyone.

"I never knew him apart from his playing career and how wonderful a football player he was. He was a world-class icon, obviously, and everyone knows him.

"I never knew him personally. I played against him in pre-season one year for Rangers when Liverpool had played us in a friendly but, apart from that, I had never really come across him.

Glasgow Times: Rangers manager Steven Gerrard

"To make his door open for a young coach like myself was amazing and that is the whole staff. I knew Gary Mac. I didn't know TC, I never knew Mick. I knew big Colin (Stewart).

"The door always being open, from the academy side to the first team side, is amazing for any young coach. I would like to think it is like that at every club but I am pretty sure it is not.

"When I spoke to the manager, he said that our journeys are obviously different in the respect that his dream is to get to where he wants to get to and my dream is to hopefully be in his seat one day.

"Your gut has to tell you whether the journey and your path is right. He was the last person I spoke to and off the back of his phone call, it was the one that made my mind up.

"I felt that he had done what I have done with the academy, I have done the academy for a bit longer than he had.

Glasgow Times: Steven Gerrard on the touchline

"When I weighed things up, I got a lot of advice off a lot of good people and it made my gut feel that it was the right decision for me."

When Gerrard started out on his coaching journey at Melwood, he didn't know where it would take him but he knew where he wanted to end up and talk of a return to Anfield has never been far away during his three years in Glasgow.

Thomson is now embarking on a voyage of discovery himself and he has inherited a Kelty squad that former team-mate Barry Ferguson guided into League Two before he left to join Alloa.

That is where his focus is fixed ahead of the new campaign. He is ambitious and driven, though, and those traits will inspire him to be the best that he can be in the here and now and in the future.

Thomson said: "I would never earmark where you are going to go. We have all got dreams.

"I have always said that there is only ever one Hibs manager, one Rangers manager, one Hearts manager, one Celtic manager anywhere in the world.

"You have probably got more chance of winning the Euromillions than being the Rangers manager. But, I have got a dream.

"I will work really hard, I will see where it takes me and I have got unbelievable backing and support from the Rangers fans.

"I think, internally in the club, everyone respected us and was desperate to see me doing well. You can’t please everybody.

"But, at the same time, I feel as though this is my opportunity to shine and time will tell whether I have been good enough and I can do the right things. If I can, and I think I can, then hopefully it is the start of a really successful journey."

His time within the youth structure at Auchenhowie has given Thomson a chance a forge a reputation as a coach and given him the platform upon which to build in Scotland's fourth tier.

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The former Ibrox midfielder has immersed himself in the game since hanging up his boots and those he has worked under are not the only ones who have aided his development in recent times.

Thomson said: "When I say that I am starting to get a bit of a better schedule back, at one stage I was full-time with Rangers, full-time at my academy and doing media stuff and doing my Pro Licence.

"Part of the Pro Licence is to learn Spanish and then take notes on Jose and put assignments together. I can't tell you how much these Zoom calls and assignments have frazzled my brain!

Glasgow Times: Helping hand: Former Rangers midfielder Kevin Thomson is on hand to promote Rangers Pools for the Rangers Youth Development Company (Picture: SNS)

"I need to get to the end to get to where I want to get to. It is just another string to your bow. There will be stuff that you feel is valuable, stuff that you feel is not and even the candidates on the course and getting to speak to them, everyone will be learning different bits and taking different nuggets from what we are getting presented.

"To have Mick on two or three weeks ago, then have Jose Mourinho, we have also had [Andre] Villas-Boas, we have had Jesse Marsch, who was terrific. We have been spoiled with the speakers and the SFA have been great."