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Old Firm bosses need to deal with scrutiny of form says Steven Gerrard

Steven Gerrard File Photo
(Image credit: Jane Barlow)

Steven Gerrard accepts life as an Old Firm manager moves easily and at times quickly between praise and condemnation.

Celtic boss Neil Lennon spoke about the hysteria that is surrounding the Parkhead club at the moment, despite them losing only one Premiership game this season – to Rangers – and being able to go within three points of the Light Blues at the top of the table if they win their game in hand.

Gerrard’s side are unbeaten in 16 games this season as they look forward to the Europa League clash with Polish side Lech Poznan at Ibrox on Thursday night.

The former captain of Liverpool and England, still to win a trophy at Ibrox, knows any marked change in that form would see him under the spotlight.

He said: “I don’t think you have to be a rocket scientist to work it out that whoever is in the best form seems to get a bit more peace in terms of scrutiny in the media and the questions that are fired at you.

“You get a couple of indifferent results and that certainly changes very quickly and the heat comes in a different direction. That’s the way it is.

“That’s what myself and Neil, or myself and Brendan (Rodgers) prior to Neil, have to live with. That’s the job we are in. That’s never going to change.

“I’m sure that it has been the same for many years and it will be in the future.

“I accept that. Obviously the team are doing well, we need to keep continuing that. But it is what it is.”

Rangers have won 14 and drawn two games so far and opened up their Europa League campaign with an impressive 2-0 win over Standard Liege in Belgium last Thursday.

Asked about increasing expectations, Gerrard said: “We need to just focus on our job in hand.

“It’s my job to guard and protect the players in the squad from the noise from the outside, whether it be positive, whether it be negative.

“It’s my job to make sure the team stay in this place, stay humble and guard from complacency and we’ll just attack each game individually and give it our best shot.

“We want the run to last as long as possible. I don’t think it’s realistic to expect us to win every game but we’re playing well.

“We are at a good level, confidence is high, belief is high, and it’s about moving on from a positive win at the weekend against Livingston and facing this challenge in isolation.

“It will be a tough game but one we’re certainly looking forward to and it’s coming at a good time because of the place we’re in.”

South Africa international Bongani Zungu joined in with his new team-mates at training for the first time after a period of quarantine following his loan move to from French side Amiens.

Gerrard said: “It is very exciting to have him available.

“It has been a long two weeks for him in quarantine on his own in the flat in Glasgow.

“He is desperate to be involved. He trained for the first time today, which was fantastic.

“We managed to get a running machine and a bike and some dumbbells to his apartment so he’s been ticking over and doing a certain level of training but he will feel it today because the tempo was high.

“He is happy, smiling and great to have him finally with us.”