TIME is of the essence for Rangers. A new era will begin sooner rather than later at Ibrox and the man chosen to lead it must pick up where his predecessor left off.

Following Steven Gerrard’s example will be no easy feat. He did, after all, leave Rangers at the top of the Premiership and within touching distance of places in the Premier Sports Cup final and knockout rounds of the Europa League.

The champions cannot afford to look back now, though, and all the focus must be on the future. There is too much at stake for anyone associated with the club to sulk in the aftermath of Gerrard’s departure to Aston Villa.

His successor will be named in the coming days and former Ibrox star Giovanni Van Bronckhorst continues to lead the way in that process. Time will tell whether it is the Dutchman or another candidate that becomes the next boss to hold office.

Once Rangers have their man, there are several key areas which he must address to ensure minimum disruption and maximum effort from a squad that are entering a defining run of fixtures this term.


The Ibrox squad is one that Gerrard has assembled over the last three seasons and many of the players there will have a deep affinity with the 41-year-old. Their strongest bond should be with the club, however, and Gerrard’s exit should not be used as an excuse to mentally switch off or decrease effort levels.

There are enough model professionals within the group to ensure that standards do not slip and the change of manager cannot become a distraction. The timing is far from ideal, of course, but there is too much at stake for Rangers to suffer a post-Gerrard hangover.

His successor will call on the likes of James Tavernier, Allan McGregor, Connor Goldson, Steven Davis and Ryan Jack to lead by example, to rally those around them and settle minds as he gets down to business next week.

It is a squad that knows what they are capable of individually, but it is only by pulling in the same direction collectively that they will achieve their ambitions and further enhance their standing in Rangers’ history books.


It is not quite a case of ‘if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it’ at Rangers but there is no need for wholesale changes at the start of the new era. Continuity and consistency are going to be key in the coming weeks.

Rangers may not have performed at their peak so far this term, but there is a method of training and a way of playing that is engrained in the side that Gerrard has left behind and now is not the moment to rip it up and start again.

Every boss will rightly have their own ideas on how the team should prepare and play, but any alterations to the system should be tweaks only right now. Given the run of fixtures that Rangers have coming up, there is not the time to implement significant tactical or personnel switches.

Rangers will evolve as campaign goes on and a new style will no doubt become evident in time but the safest approach is to stick largely to what has worked for so long at Ibrox.


A Hampden clash with Hibernian offers the next boss a perfect opportunity to hit the ground running and a fixture that was always going to be of huge significance is now even more important for Rangers.

The cup record on Gerrard’s watch wasn’t good enough and has to go down as one area where he ultimately failed at Ibrox. There is, then, plenty of room for improvement and Hibernian must be overcome a week on Sunday.

Victory against Sparta Prague a few days later would secure a place in the Europa League knockout rounds and the controversial manner of Gerrard’s exit would quickly be forgotten about if two key tests can be passed early in a new reign.

It is then all about the run up to the next Old Firm clash. In that spell, Rangers face trips to Livingston, Hibernian, Hearts and Aberdeen and a potentially defining sequence will be a barometer of their title credentials this term.

The champions are still more than capable of retaining their Premiership crown. The coming weeks could see cup silverware secured and Rangers laying down a marker of their intentions.


When it comes to the team and the tactics, there is not much scope for an overhaul first and foremost. That isn’t the case in terms of the support network, though.

It is no surprise that Gary McAllister, Michael Beale, Tom Culshaw and Jordan Milsom have followed Gerrard to Villa Park. Analyst Scott Mason has also left the champions.

The next boss will naturally bring an assistant manager and first team coach with him and those trusted lieutenants will be crucial allies in the opening weeks of his reign as Rangers transition from one era into another. Colin Stewart, the goalkeeping coach, remains at the club but there are doubts over Jermain Defoe’s position on the staff.

In Ross Wilson, the sporting director that is overseeing the recruitment process, Rangers at least have a figurehead in the football department. Once the boss is on board, work can begin to re-establish a core of key personnel after several high-profile departures.


All the focus must be on winning as many games as possible over the next few weeks and Rangers’ fortunes between now and the winter break will shape their aspirations for the second half of the campaign.

Gerrard had expressed his frustration at Rangers’ business in the summer and his successor will surely require guarantees about what funds he will have available heading into the New Year.

Goldson’s contract situation requires urgent attention, while Rangers will find it difficult to turn down solid offers for the likes of Glen Kamara or Borna Barisic. If money is to be spent, it surely must be brought in first.

The squad is more than capable of winning the title in its current state, but there may well be players who are not committed to the cause without Gerrard and the January window offers his replacement a chance to start putting his mark on the group to ensure Rangers get over the line this term.