Rangers manager Steven Gerrard opens up on his Covid-19 woes -

His team may have got on just fine without him standing by the side of the pitch passing on instructions but Steven Gerrard hopes his first taste of socially-distanced management was also his last.

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard will be back in the technical area this weekend after his period of Covid self-isolation. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

The Rangers boss has been back in his natural environment this week, overseeing training ahead of his return to the technical area for Saturday’s Premiership assignment against St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.

Speaking for the first time about his Covid-enforced period of self-isolation, during which he watched from home as Rangers progressed beyond Alashkert into the Europa League group stage and then beat Celtic 1-0 at Ibrox in the first Old Firm game of the season, Gerrard outlined the difficulty of coming to terms with his circumstances.

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“Trying to look at the positives from those two weeks, rather than the negatives of being in bed with symptoms, feeling sorry for yourself, I actually had no choice but to cope and get on with it,” he said.

“It’s not ideal and it’s not something I ever want to experience again. You know, I came here to manage from the sideline. I feel like I can be a bigger help from the sideline.

“I like to be hands-on and I’m here for every training session. I could still obviously contribute in terms of the preparation, picking the team and making the decisions. But to do that remotely can be frustrating.

“For me, the most pleasing thing – and what made me most proud – was how we all stuck together during challenging times.

“It wasn’t just me that was missing, it was a few other staff members and some players were ruled out as well. We were really tested to the maximum.

“But I thought (first team coach) Michael (Beale) and (assistant manager) Gary (McAllister) stepped forward tremendously well. And the players followed them.

“From the outside looking in, it showed the strength of us as a club, that we could deal with adversity. And, when we were pushed to the maximum, certainly in certain positions, we coped extremely well.”

Goalkeeper Allan McGregor, captain James Tavernier and left-back Calvin Bassey - who were all absent for the same period as Gerrard after the return of positive Covid-19 test results at the club – are available again this weekend.

But there is a fresh blow for Rangers with the absence of Ianis Hagi after the playmaker tested positive for Covid-19 while on international duty with Romania. He is also set to miss the Europa League group stage opener against Lyon at Ibrox next Thursday night.

“I’m not sure when he’ll be available,” said Gerrard. “We’re trying to work off the normal situation, which is 10 days.

“I’ve not spoken to Ianis today. I spoke to him when I first heard the news. He didn’t have any symptoms at the time, which was good news.

“But I’m due to catch-up with him at some point within the next 24 hours, so I’ll know more then. But he’s obviously ruled out at the weekend – and I think he’s ruled out against Lyon, if you go on that ten-day period from the test.”

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