‘More than a match over the four games’ - Steven Gerrard urges Rangers to ‘knock Celtic off their perch’ next season

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has challenged his players to find the consistency needed to ‘knock Celtic off their perch’ next season after the Ibrox side convincingly defeated the champions 2-0 in the last Old Firm game of the current campaign.

Gerrard believes Rangers have proved they are capable of outperforming their great rivals but insists Celtic’s dominance of Scottish football can only be halted if his team can sustain higher quality displays against the other top flight clubs.

“If you analyse the four derby games this season, I think we have been more than a match for Celtic,” said Gerrard. “That hasn’t been the area where we have fallen short. We have drawn too many games elsewhere. There has been one or two disappointing defeats within that as well. It is a huge challenge here.

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“Just because we have won today and performed very well, it doesn’t make it any easier next season. Celtic aren’t going to go away, they’re going to improve. There’s still a target for us which is to try and knock them off their perch. As I say, we are very respectful to the challenge and the opposition, but we have to take confidence and belief from games like this.

Steven Gerrard has called for more consistency from his side next season. Picture: SNS Group

“At our best, we have shown we can compete and beat them. But we have to do it over a longer period of time and that’s a bigger challenge.

“You have to do it in cup competitions when it comes down to a one-off game. So that’s the challenge moving forward - can we be better over a longer period, can we be more consistent over a longer period.

“If it gets to the stage where we meet them in a cup competition, can we perform at that level, because that level beats them.”

Goals from James Tavernier and Scott Arfield saw Rangers end their Ibrox campaign on a high note as they moved six points behind Celtic ahead of their last league game at Kilmarnock next Sunday.

“We were outstanding from start to finish,” added Gerrard. “We’ve built on the last four or five performances really and that’s probably been the best of them all.

“I said last week we started the game well against Hibs, but the majority of last week’s performance wasn’t enough to win today because Celtic are a good team with top players.

“We’re very respectful of their achievements and what they are probably going on to achieve in a couple of weeks. It’s very important that we show that respect. But today was about Rangers from start to finish. We dominated in every department so the players deserve a lot of credit.”

Gerrard was especially gratified by the hunger and commitment shown by his players.

“We are no one without desire,” he said. “To achieve things at the top level of football, there are certain words that have to be non-negotiable and desire is one of them.

“Especially with this crowd. You would be found out very quickly if you don’t show desire, whether that is individually or collectively. That was there in abundance today. We need to carry that into next season.”