THE team that drinks together, wins together. That used to be the mantra at Rangers in the days of Walter Smith. Under Steven Gerrard, however, the team-bonding has coalesced around a different beverage and some altogether more wholesome pursuits.

Identifying one of the problems he had to correct when he first arrived at the club being a dressing room riven with cliques, the Englishman’s attempts to foster harmony in his group includes a coffee club, a card school and a table tennis league. The idea is to nurture a collective identify from a squad which will be tested to the full by Rangers’ ambitions to compete in Europe this season as well as domestically.

“I want all my players to joke in the dressing room and have a laugh when they come to work,” said Gerrard. “It is key that they all bond. I came to this place and the stories I heard was that it was them, us, we and you,” he added. “Success doesn’t come from that. From the top to the bottom of the club it needs to connect. What you see on the camera when they are messing with each other is real.

“We have a leadership group in the dressing room. They run the dressing room. I don’t really get involved. As long as the standards are good in there, as long as they are delivering on the training pitch and on the football pitch they can manage themselves.

“But I encourage team bonding events. I know they have a coffee club, a card school and a table tennis group. They compete in training in a league format. There are different scenarios we create here for camaraderie. Everyone is going to need each other if we are to have a good time together.”

Gerrard said Jordan Jones “arrived” as a Rangers player with his showing in the fine 4-2 win against FC Midytlland in Denmark on Thursday night. His next challenge is proving he isn’t just a man for the big occasion.

“I don’t think he’s cocky,” said Gerrard. “He’s confident. When we are tracking these players one of the key things is what are they like in big games.

“Jordan did damage to us when he played for Kilmarnock just after the winter break last season. The challenge for him now is what is next. Is hat going to come every ten games or is he going to do it more consistently?”