IT has been 30 years since any Rangers team has made as poor a start to their league season as the current players are enduring.

The opening weeks of the 1989/90 campaign saw the club in ‘crisis’ after two defeats from the first two games, at home to St Mirren then away at Hibs, were followed by draws at Dunfermline and Dundee and defeat to Motherwell on Premier League fixture number eight.

A certain Maurice Johnston had arrived in the summer, along with England international Trevor Steven for a record fee, while some more than decent players such as Terry Butcher, Richard Gough, Gary Stevens, Ray Wilkins and Ally McCoist were about the place. Their form was baffling.

The Rangers team of yesteryear recovered to eventually clinch the title by seven points ahead of Aberdeen and Hearts, it was two points for a win back then, which ought to give Steven Gerrard some comfort even if his team can’t boast such club legends.

Another star of Graeme Souness’s side was that wonderful winger Mark Walters who was in Glasgow yesterday to promote his autobiography which charts a superb playing career that took place in a time when racism was a depressing reality for black players in Britain.

More on that in a bit.

Rangers’ away Premiership record after their poor day at Livingston on Sunday reads two defeats and two draws. It’s not great. Walters can see that a problem does exist, but he’s not about to rule out Gerrard following in the footsteps of another Liverpool captain.

He knows slow starts can be fixed.

“It can become a psychological problem,” said Walters. “Maybe, for Rangers, it’s just the pressure of being away that they can’t get over at the moment. Invariably, these things will turn round over the course of a season but your home record is usually better than your away record anyway.

“However, while it’s unusual for them not to have won away from home for that length of time, I can’t see it lasting for long with the players and the attacking mentality they have. It will get better for them – there’s no doubt in my mind about that.

“What I would say is Steven has already made a big difference. The games I was watched so far they are more expansive, more attacking and tactically they seem better. They started well but they have had a little hiccup here and there, which is normal as he’s young in his career as a manager.

“I feel second is realistically what he could have hoped for but the romantic in me says if they can win the big games, do well against the smaller teams, then they could win the league.”

That’s a bold statement. Rangers’ season has been strange more than anything else. Europe has been a great bonus, there have been a few highlights in the league and yet they sit sixth, eight points behind Hearts.

How Gerrard handles this will be fascinating. How Souness dealt with a similar situation was unsurprising.

“Mr Souness probably didn’t speak to us,” recalled Walters. “We knew that, if we didn’t win, he’d be very quiet. But he’d have been effing and blinding and going in over the top on us at training.

“Losing a game when I was a Rangers was like a death in the family. If you are happy with losing then Rangers isn’t the club for you.Will Steven be surprised at the intensity? Maybe but he’ll know about it by now for sure.”

Walters is 54, in good nick and a quick glance at the book suggests an interesting read. The chapter which recalls his debut at Celtic Park, cue racist idiots and banana throwing, was followed by a trip to Tynecastle which was “ten times worse.”

Thank goodness things have changed and the likes of the brave and heroic Walters led the good fight.

“Whenever a black player came to Scotland, I always got a call from journalists up here to talk about it - after 10 years of it, it got a bit boring, to be honest,” he said. “So, I avoided speaking about it for about 15 years. Doing the book was really good for me. There are things I haven’t spoken about before.

“I reflect on my Rangers days as a fantastic time in my career. My debut wasn’t memorable for good reasons, of course. I’m human and when you have 60,000 people abusing you it’s hard to take and understand. But the bigger picture was good.

“Players don’t have to worry about it so much now. My peers at the start of my career, some of them at clubs like Coventry or West Brom, just couldn’t handle the abuse.

“It affected them on the pitch, they got into fights with other players or skirmishes with refs. As a coach, you can’t have players who are problematic in their team, so a lot of the black players went out of the game unfortunately. I don’t hear so much about racist incidents in football now, it has come on leaps and bounds.”

Wingin’ It – The Mark Walters Story by Jeff Holmes, published by Pitch Publishing Ltd, costs £18.99 hardback.