Detailed look at Steven Gerrard’s timeline as Rangers manager with reaction from chairman Douglas Park and Sporting Director Ross Wilson
The Liverpool legend has departed Glasgow after being appointed Aston Villa’s new head coach
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Steven Gerrard has left his position as Rangers boss after three and a half years in charge at Ibrox, but how will he be remembered by the club’s supporters?
The 41-year-old has been appointed as Aston Villa’s new manager as he takes up his English Premier League job.
When Gerrard took over as Rangers manager in June 2018, the former Liverpool captain knew he would be judged on whether he could stop Celtic’s bid for ten-in-a-row.
On his arrival, he quickly set about his task of turning the tide in Glasgow, with the Hoops dominating Scottish football’s landscape in the aftermath of Gers administration in 2012.
Within his first two months at the club, Gerrard led Rangers through four rounds of Europa League qualifying, a feat he would repeat over the next two seasons.
He also led the Light Blues to their first group stage appearance in seven years and delivered a first Old Firm victory in six years in December 2018.
The Gers agonisingly finished third in the Europa League group stage but showed signs of progress by drawing twice against Spanish giants Villarreal.
The Cup competitions were not so kind to Gerrard as Aberdeen knocked them out of both competitions in Glasgow during his first season in charge.
Celtic would clinch another league by nine points, despite changing their manager in February.
Players In: Scott Arfield, Allan McGregor, Jamie Murphy, Nikola Katic, Connor Goldson, Jon Flanagan, Borna Barisic, Kyle Lafferty, Eros Grezda, Gareth McAuley, Andy Firth. Matt Polster, Glen Kamara
Players Out: Kenny Miller, David Bates, Jordan Thompson, Liam Kelly, Michael O’Halloran, Bruno Alves, Harry Forrester, Fabio Cardoso, Declan John, Josh Windass, Carlos Pena
In his second season, Gerrard’s side improved dramatically.
They advanced in Europa League to reach the last 16, famously beating Porto and Feyenoord in the group stages and recording victories in both legs against Braga during the first knockout round before succumbing to the might of Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen.
Silverware still eluded Gerrard after Hearts knocked them out of the Scottish Cup and despite dominating the Old Firm League Cup Final at Hampden, a solitary Christopher Jullien strike secured an unlikely victory for the Hoops.
Rangers would use that heart-breaking loss as blueprint for Old Firm fixtures going forward though as they won 2-1 at Parkhead for the first time in eight years that December, with goals from Ryan Kent and Nikola Katic cancelling out Ryan Christie opener.
Defeat to Hearts, Kilmarnock and Hamilton Accies during the second part of the campaign would prove costly as Celtic were controversially crowned champions by eight points when the Coronavirus pandemic halted the season in March 2020.
Players In: Jake Hastie, Jordan Jones, Steven Davis, Greg Stewart, George Edmundson, Joe Aribo, Filip Helander, Brandon Barker, Ryan Kent
Players Out: Kyle Bradley, Myles Beerman, Liam Burt, Gareth McAuley, Lee Hodson, Lee Wallace, Ryan Hardie, Daniel Candeias, Kyle Lafferty, Graham Dorrans, Joe Dodoo, Eroz Grezda, Zak Rudden, Jordan Houston, Eduardo Herrera
Following a long-enforced break, the 2020/21 season began without supporters against the backdrop of empty stadiums. This was a pivotal season for Steven Gerrard as the threat of Celtic completing a historic ten-in-a-row bid got underway.
Thankfully for the Light Blues, everything seemed to click into place as Gerrard’s side propelled themselves to another level.
Galatasaray were disposed of before topping their Europa League group ahead of Portuguese giants Benfica.
They put a sensational nine goals past Belgian side Royal Antwerp over both legs in the last 32 and didn’t lose a game in the competition until Slavia Prague narrowly beat them in the last 16.
The two respective cup competitions once again ended in disappointment for Gerrard as St Mirren and St Johnstone his side out at the quarter-final stages.
Those proved to be the only domestic defeats the Gers suffered all season as they endured a flawless Scottish Premiership campaign that saw them break all kinds of records.
Gerrard’s side remarkably finished the season unbeaten, winning three Old Firm Derbies against Celtic, conceding just 13 goals, reaching 102 points, and were crowned champions at the earliest date in over 100 years.
Players In: Kemar Roofe, Ianis Hagi, Cedric Itten, Scott Wright, Jermain Defoe, Leon Balogun, Jon McLaughlin, Calvin Bassey, Jack Simpson
Players Out: Greg Docherty, Matt Polster, Ross McCrorie, Andy Halliday, Jordan Rossiter, Jason Holt, Wes Foderingham, Jak Alnwick, Jon Flanagan
Having delivered the club’s first top-flight title since the late Walter Smith in season 2010/11, questions were raised over how far Gerrard could take Rangers as his fledgling managerial career continued to rise.
He ultimately succeeded in his main task of halting Celtic’s stranglehold on Scottish football, but his cup record left much to be desired as Gerrard admitted himself.
A disappointing Champions League exit to Malmo in the third qualifying round meant Gerrard’s side faced up to another gruelling Europa League campaign.
The Gers were immediately on the back-foot after being outclassed by French Ligue 1 outfit Lyon on Matchday One at Ibrox before suffering a shock defeat to Sparta Prague.
Four points from their next two games against Danish side Brondby thrusted Gerrard’s side back into Group A contention.
Dundee United inflicted the club’s first defeat in 41 matches in August with the Light Blues still struggling to reach the heights of last season.
However, in saying that, Gerrard departs Ibrox with the club sitting top of the Premiership by four points heading into this week’s international break.
Players In: Juninho Bacuna, Fashion Sakala, Nnamdi Ofoborh, John Lundstram
Players Out: George Edmundson, Jamie Murphy, Jamie Barjonas, Greg Stewart, Jordan Jones
Rangers chairman Douglas Park thanked Gerrard for his “outstanding efforts” during his time in Glasgow.
He said: “I would firstly like to put on record my thanks to Steven for his outstanding efforts over the last three-and-a-half years at Rangers.
“He has provided us all with some unforgettable moments, not least his delivery of the Scottish Premiership title back to Ibrox last season having not lost a match in the entire league campaign.
“In European competition, he has restored the good home and credibility of our club on the continent and leaves us in a very healthy position on the pitch.”
Sporting Director, Ross Wilson added: “Firstly I want to say thank you to Steven for the work, dedication and professionalism with which he has diligently carried out the role of Rangers Manager.
“Steven and his backroom staff have ensured that the club is undoubtedly in a better place today than it was three-and-a-half years ago.
“I joined Steven on that journey just over two years ago and from the first day we met, I have enjoyed all aspects of our partnership.
“We have shared a desire to move Rangers forward, to modernise our infrastructure and to make the club win again.
“There has been so many areas that we have moved forward, and there is still so much to be done, but I can’t stress enough how important it has been to have with us a first team manager who has shared a drive and desire to set standards and move the whole football operation forward.
“I know how much it meant to Steven that our 55th league championship was achieved last season, and alongside an excellent European record across his tenure, we have had some truly memorable days and nights.
“Personally, I am proud of the work that we have done together along with all of the players and staff, and I know Steven shares that pride. We wish Steven nothing but success for his next chapter.”