Ally McCoist says Steven Gerrard has restored Rangers’ style and belief and hopes he can stay at Ibrox over the next few years and take them into the Champions League.
Rangers won their 55th Scottish top-flight title after Celtic’s 0-0 draw against Dundee United at Tannadice on Sunday officially ended their bid for 10-in-a-row.
Gerrard’s side’s first league outing as this season’s champions will be at Parkhead on March 21, live on Sky Sports.
Former Rangers player and manager McCoist described the team’s achievement as “remarkable” and says he hopes Gerrard will be given the opportunity to take the club back into Europe’s premier club competition for the first time since 2011.
Rangers will enter the 2021/22 Champions League at the third qualifying round – two ties away from the group stages.
“It’s been a remarkable season from start to finish. They have performed domestically incredibly well with one wee blip against St Mirren, apart from that it has been nearly perfection,” he told Sky Sports News.
“The performances in Europe have been just as impressive, to get through that campaign undefeated. The games against Benfica, to top that section, it has been quite a remarkable season.
“They look like there is a bit of belief within them, they have talented players and a good group. I see a different confidence about them and a belief in each other. They certainly have a style of play which is suited to all of them, they all enjoy playing it. Individual performance levels have gone up again this year, certainly collectively.
“I and all Rangers supporters hope he stays and gets the opportunity to take this team into the Champions League. Just a natural progression, I want to see him compete at the top level, I don’t see why that cannot happen, hopefully he will be around for a few years yet.”
‘Bigger picture than stopping Celtic’s 10-in-a-row’
When Gerrard took over at Ibrox three years ago he was tasked with rebuilding a Rangers side in order to challenge the decade-long dominance of Celtic.
However, McCoist insists the significance of their Scottish Premiership title win is far greater than blocking 10-in-a-row for their fierce rivals.
“Good times never seemed so good!” 🤩
What a season it has been for Rangers, the Scottish Premiership champions for the 2020/21 season! 🟦🏆pic.twitter.com/gYWXMkgDbK
— Sky Sports (@SkySports)
“There’s a lot more to it than [stopping Celtic winning 10 in a row]. It’s a bonus, don’t get me wrong, but the bigger picture, getting back to a competitive force domestically and in Europe.
“Just getting the club back to a standing where it is respected again among European circles. Stopping 10 in a row is important, I’m not going to say it is not, but there is a lot more to it.”
‘Whatever Gerrard does next – we’ll never forget’
Rangers’ triumph represented a first league title for Gerrard as a player or manager, with the former Liverpool captain having fallen agonisingly short of league glory during his Anfield career.
McCoist believes Rangers’ celebrations will mean “everything” to Gerrard because he understands the nature of the club’s fanbase and how the team’s fortunes can affect people’s lives.
“I was in a conversation with Michael Owen about Steven and talking about how well it is going. I said ‘he just gets it, he gets what Rangers are about, what management is about’,” he revealed.
“He’s made mistakes but he has done far, far more good. It was a gamble for Rangers and him, but they stuck by him. It’s been three years and they’ve given him a few quid to spend. The best description is a simple one, I just think he gets it.
“It will mean everything to him, he was one of the greatest players of his generation. It’s very surprising that someone of his career did not win a league title, I’m genuinely thrilled for him. No matter what he does in his managerial career going forward he may never do something greater for so many people in winning this title.”