Rangers: Steven Gerrard in it for the long haul

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard. Pic by PA Sport.
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard. Pic by PA Sport.

Rangers boss Steven Gerrard is thinking about long-term life at Ibrox after hailing the backing he has received from chairman Dave King.

The former Liverpool skipper was appointed on a four-year deal in the summer and has made an impressive start in his rookie year as manager.

His side can climb to the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership on Sunday with victory over Hearts, while they remain in the hunt for the last 32 of the Europe League ahead of Thursday night’s showdown with Villarreal.

Gerrard insists all that would not be possible without the support of King, director of football Mark Allen, managing director Stewart Robertson and the rest of the Light Blues board.

Gerrard, speaking at the Rangers International Football Club’s annual general meeting at the Clyde Auditorium in Glasgow, said: “I’d like to thank Dave for the support he’s given me since day one and also the rest of the board.

“They’ve been really supportive to me and my staff and I’d like to thank Mark and Stewart, who I work with on a daily basis.

“Without the support behind myself and my coaching staff, we wouldn’t have been able to have achieved what we have so far.

“I can assure everyone that we’ll give every bit of time and effort we’ve got to continue moving the club forward on the pitch and we’ll continue trying to attract the best players possible to help bring success back to this incredible club.

“I feel I’m in such a blessed position to be here as manager.

“I hope I stay here for a very long time and we share some really good times together.”

However, Gerrard was forced to defend the club’s handling of former skipper Lee Wallace after an angry shareholder hit out at the left-back’s “disgusting” treatment. Wallace was stripped of the captaincy following a bust-up with interim boss Graeme Murty in the aftermath of Rangers’ 4-0 Scottish Cup semi-final hammering by Celtic last season.

Wallace - who stuck by the club following liquidation - has made just one substitute appearance this term as he continues to struggle with injury.

But Gerrard said: “I have to pay my respects to Lee in terms of his professionalism while he’s been trying to get fit.

“To be really candid, he’s still part of the plans while he’s here but I have better options in that position.

“My relationship with Lee is fine. He trains with us every day and is pushing hard to regain his place in the team.”

And King insists he has “no intention” of reversing the decision to slash Celtic’s ticket allocation at Ibrox.

The Light Blues announced earlier this season they would be handing their Old Firm rivals just 800 seats for the December 29 derby clash - a move which saw the Hoops respond in tit-for-tat fashion ahead of the pair’s September meeting at Parkhead.

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers has also criticised Gers’ move, with the Northern Irishman claiming it has damaged the fixture as a spectacle.

“There has been something taken away from the games,” said Rodgers. “I think over the course of the games, home and away, they have been great spectacles, partly because of the impact of the away support. That’s now limited.”

Responding to a question from a shareholder, King said: “I can give you absolute assurance that the board has no intention of reversing that decision.”