IT is the only way that life across the Old Firm divide can be. When one is winning, the other is losing, when one is taking acclaim, the other is under pressure.

Once again this season, it is Rangers that find themselves on the wrong side of that equation as Steven Gerrard faces being left empty handed in his first campaign at Ibrox.

Gary Gillespie knows just how he feels. He has been there, done it and got the t-shirt, but no medals.

When Liam Brady was tasked with stopping Rangers in the early 90’s, Gillespie was brought back across the border from Liverpool to try and play his part. History, of course, shows that their efforts were futile.

The defender found himself in the right place at the wrong time. He is confident a similar fate won’t befall Gerrard as the Anfield legend looks to bring success back to Ibrox.

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“I had it when I was up there with Celtic,” Gillespie said. “That was a time when Rangers were really dominant, going back many moons ago.

“It is difficult. If you are on the wrong side, it is never easy. It’s not pleasant for the team that is struggling in comparison to their rivals.

“I don’t think Rangers will be struggling for too long. Steven will identify the kind of guys he wants to come into his team and squad of players.

“Because let’s face it, that is what football is about these days no matter where you are – recruitment. It doesn’t matter whether it is the EPL or the Scottish Premiership, you have to get the right people in for that environment and I’m sure Steven will identify them at the end of the season.

“Liam’s starting point was maybe a bit further back than what Steven’s is at this moment in time. But you can run some parallels there a little bit.

“There was so much wrong at Celtic at time when I was there with Liam. There was a lot of boardroom activity going on and that is never an easy or healthy situation to have behind the footballing side.

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“It was difficult. But I’m sure the Rangers board is all behind Steven and that everyone there is pulling in the right direction. If you are doing that then I think you are halfway there to being a success.”

The appointment of Brady was a gamble by the Parkhead board as their faith was placed in a player that had enjoyed a glittering career but came with no track record in the dugout.

Having made his name for the likes of Arsenal, Juventus and Inter Milan, he arrived with an impressive CV, but he couldn’t add to it on the touchline as Rangers continued to stroll to success in Scotland.

“It is minging,” Gillespie said of life on the losing side of the Old Firm. “You are going into games and there is probably a lack of confidence and belief.

“For sportspeople, it is all about confidence and believing you can achieve something. We probably didn’t have that at Celtic during my time.

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“It is difficult when you are in that situation but I don’t think it’s quite so bad for Rangers just now. I believe the gap has closed this season. Steven is heading in the right direction. Long may he suffer, right enough!

“I suppose it was hard for Liam because I don’t think he quite appreciated the magnitude of the job at the time.

“That was his first managerial job. It was a big ask and a big task. Steven will find that as well. He will make mistakes along the way. That is all part of the learning curve, but eventually he will come through the other end and Rangers will be a threat and a force again in Scottish football.

“I’m sure of that and I am sure it is going to be with Steven Gerrard at the helm as opposed to someone else.”

Like when Brady arrived in Glasgow almost three decades ago, Gerrard faces an unenviable task in the top flight as he looks to transform Rangers’ fortunes and swing the Old Firm balance of power back into the blue.

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It is a challenge the 38-year-old relishes, however, and Gillespie reckons the size of the assignment is what will drive Gerrard on.

“I wouldn’t say I was that surprised when Steven took the Rangers job,” he said. “The likes of Steven Gerrard are made for big managerial jobs. And that is certainly a big job.

“Overall, I think he has done exceptionally well given where he was starting from. He has closed the gap, even if there is still quite a bit to go.

“He is a born winner. But it is like anything in life, a new job or challenge, you find your way. Steven will grow in the job as he goes on. He will become a better manager through time.

“It’s whether you get time as a manager these days, but I am sure Steven will do and that he will do a good job for Rangers. Eventually, he will turn it all round.”

Questions were raised about Gerrard’s suitability for the Rangers job in the summer as the Ibrox board took a chance on a fledgling coach and unproven manager.

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There have been enough positive signs so far to justify the decision, though, and Gerrard retains the backing of a support that were rejuvenated upon his appointment after two disheartening campaigns since their return to the Premiership.

“Looking from the outside in, you look at Steven’s ability and what he had as a player,” Gillespie said.

“You could run something of a parallel with Kenny Dalglish when he took over at Liverpool, but he probably had a better squad of players – no disrespect to the current squad at Rangers.

“I think there always is that little bit where you look at Steven. One of things he will learn is not everyone is as good as him because he was a top class player.

“It’s how you manage that situation but he is clever enough and wise enough to do so. He also has a very good backroom team with the likes of Gary McAllister there as well.”