Progress made but still work for Gers to do
Rangers undoubtedly have improved under Steven Gerrard although there is still some way to go for the Light Blues to rule Glasgow.
The Gers put in a fine performance on Thursday night to secure an impressive 4-2 victory over Danish outfit Midtjylland in the first leg of their third-round Europa League qualifying tie.
It not only puts Rangers in a strong position heading into the second leg, and going a step closer to reaching the group stages once again, but shows Gerrard’s side are forming into a strong unit that can pick up big results away from Ibrox.
“I’m very proud of the performance,” manager Gerrard told Rangers TV after the game. “I believe we’ve grown up. I’m not sure we had this performance in us last year. Yeah, we go away to Villarreal and perform very well, but I think we’ve gone up a level.
“Some of the goals we scored tonight were fantastic. I have nothing but praise for my players.”
🗣️ Steven Gerrard: “I’m not sure we had this performance in us last year. Yes, we went away to Villarreal and performed really well, but I think we have gone up a level again and I think that showed tonight."
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) August 8, 2019
Fans will be filled with optimism after their side’s efforts in Scandinavia, but it’s closer to home that they may have concerns about what Gers can achieve this season.
As Celtic breezed to a 7-0 thrashing of St Johnstone on the opening week of the Scottish Premiership, Rangers required a last-gasp header from Connor Goldson to scrape past Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.
It is early days in the season and Gers will need to get some rhythm going before they can really start to reach their full potential.
Gerrard has been busy over the summer window, which is still not over north of the border, and Manchester City winger Brandon Barker appears to be close to a loan switch to Ibrox.
Gers were long linked with bringing Ryan Kent back to Glasgow, but it appears the club have been priced out of a deal, with Liverpool not interested in sending the winger out on another loan.
Barker will be another strong addition to the Rangers squad, who will be looking to use their Midtjylland performance as a benchmark for the rest of the season.
It’s hard to tell how far Gers have progressed in this early stage of the season, but there will be no hiding place when Celtic head to Ibrox for the first Old Firm game of the campaign on September 1.