Steven Gerrard is eyeing more silverware as he insisted there is “more to come” after guiding Rangers to their first Scottish Premiership title triumph in a decade.
Gerrard was celebrating his first managerial trophy on Sunday after Celtic’s goalless draw at Dundee United meant the Hoops could not catch their bitter rivals, who have been crowned champions of Scotland for a 55th time.
While Gerrard expressed his pride at what his side have achieved, the former Liverpool captain is already looking ahead to Thursday’s Europa League last-16 first-leg showdown against Slavia Prague.
“It is very difficult to put into words right now,” he told the club’s website. “It has been an incredible journey we have been on and we deserve it. I’m on a real, emotional high and it has been a journey that is not finished.
“There is more to come and the next thing for me, when you win, it is always about what is next. We are in March and I need them to keep delivering until the end of the season.
“Glasgow Rangers is about winning and we all live under that pressure, and that responsibility, but it is about what is next and it is about me getting these players ready for what is next.”
Having spent so long in the shadow of their bitter rivals following their relegation to the fourth tier in 2012 after financial collapse, Gers have now cantered to the title with six games to spare and will have the chance to rub salt into their neighbours’ wounds in two weeks’ time as they walk out at Celtic Park having already smashed the Hoops’ reign of dominance.
While Gerrard had to rely on individual performances – with Alfredo Morelos usually the leading talisman – to get him through some sticky situations in his first two ultimately trophy-less seasons, this term the Light Blues’ list of star men at times has numbered one to 11.
Skipper James Tavernier has contributed 17 goals from right-back, goalkeeper Allan McGregor and defender Connor Goldson will also be leading contenders for player of the year after forming a defensive wall that has conceded just nine league goals in 32 games so far.
In midfield, Steven Davis continues to put in vintage displays at the age of 36, while Morelos has timed his return to form to perfection with eight goals in the last 11 games seeing Gers over the line in the league and into the last 16 of the Europa League.
“I am so proud of the players first and foremost – they are the most important people inside the club,” Gerrard added.
“This has been a team effort and a collective effort – it is a monumental achievement and I am just so proud to be the manager of that.”
Rangers chairman Douglas Park hailed an “absolutely unbelievable” achievement.
He told RangersTV: “We’ve achieved 55, we’ve won the league. I couldn’t be more happy for the club, the supporters and everyone.
“It’s been a hard, hard road getting there, but we’ve got there and obviously we want this to be the start of many.”
Park praised Gerrard for doing a “magnificent job”.
“He’s brought standards back to the club – standards inside the club, standards outside the club,” he said.
“Every thanks I’ve got goes to him for the job he’s done, and the players.”
Managing director Stewart Robertson added: “The ups and downs we’ve endured over the last six years have been something else.
“We always had a plan, we always knew where we wanted to get and how we thought we could get there.
“A few twists and turns but days like today make it all worthwhile.
“You can see the progress we’ve made. The key thing now is not to stop, we need to keep progressing.
“Actually this is just a staging post for pushing on further.”
Rangers first-team coach Michael Beale paid tribute to former Light Blues boss Ally McCoist, who was manager when the club were relegated to the Third Division.
He said: “Ally leading us started the rise for the club.
“Today I think of people like him because they’re what make our club what it is. Well done to everyone that’s been part of it and let’s really celebrate this and then go for more.”
Jubilant Rangers fans flouted lockdown rules at Ibrox to celebrate the success for the second day running, while supporters also gathered at the club’s training ground in Milngavie to salute Gerrard and his players.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon admitted her “anger” at the scenes, branding the behaviour of some fans “infuriating & disgraceful”, and called on Rangers to tell fans to go home.
She said on Twitter: “I congratulate @RangersFC on the title win & recognise what a moment this is for fans. But gathering in crowds just now risks lives, and could delay exit from lockdown for everyone else. If those gathering care at all about the safety of others & the country, they will go home.”
She added later: “I share folks’ anger at this. Everyone has made so many sacrifices in the past year & seeing a minority risk our progress is infuriating & disgraceful. It is deeply unfair to the entire country, and the police have a hard enough job already. Please ask fans to go home @RangersFC.”