Every picture told a thousand words. From the roar towards the crowd to the stare down the camera lens and embraces with his players, there was no doubting just what Old Firm victory meant to Steven Gerrard.
The celebrations were nonsensically knocked by some – Chris Sutton and John Hartson aiming jibes in Gerrard’s direction – but the scenes of euphoria were lapped up by the Rangers fans after a hugely significant win at Celtic Park.
Gerrard has shown his emotions after a number of big-game wins in recent months but there was an extra edge to his outpouring on that occasion given the importance, and historic nature, of the victory.
As assistant manager, Gary McAllister has been by Gerrard’s side during wins over opponents such as Celtic, Legia Warsaw and Porto. At Parkhead, he was in the centre of the celebrations again.
“It was great to see,” McAllister said. “There was a lot of emotion. There was a lot going on on the sides as well as on the pitch.
“I think from the neutrals’ point of view it was a good game. I know the people I’ve spoken to really enjoyed it. They couldn’t believe the intensity of it all.
“Obviously the manager showing emotion at the end is something I know about because I have seen it before.
“We were very much aware of the three results, if we’d won, drawn or lost. The outcome was the one we really wanted and I think at the end you saw that relief coming out.
“There was a show of emotion from everyone connected with Rangers.
“The fans can relate to it. This is Steven’s first job, he’s very grateful a club of this magnitude has given him the opportunity.
“As soon as he was offered the job he’s held it in such high esteem, I think you can see what it means to him.
“Rangers have taken a chance on a young manager,and given him big responsibility to try to win things again here.”
The concoction of emotions – everything from joy to relief – that were swirling around Gerrard’s mind at the whistle were shared by the 800 fans tucked away in the corner of Celtic Park.
Pictures and clips of the celebrations quickly spread online as supporters at home and abroad toasted their first Old Firm away win for nine years.
Three points were Rangers’ only reward on the day but it was a statement of intent by Gerrard’s side. And, perhaps, a sign of things to come.
“It’s the devil you do, the devil you don’t,” McAllister said. “Sometimes when you are stood there and you are very concentrated and focused and don’t show any emotion some people see that as you don’t care, it doesn’t really matter to you.
“The show of emotion shows that you are human, that there’s big prizes here to play for but we’re halfway through the season and nothing has been done yet. We just have to try to kick on.
“We go to Dubai to reset and refocus and go over some old ground, there will be loads of reminders to players that there’s a long, long way to go and there’s going to be ups and downs right to the very end of the season I think.”
Having ended the first half of the campaign on the ultimate high, Rangers must now pick up where they left off when they return to competitive action later this month. The title is very much in their sights.
Former chairman Alastair Johnston spoke about the belief that Old Firm victory had given the club last week. McAllister shares those sentiments after the Ibrox squad regrouped for their winter training camp.
He said: “I have seen that in games and it tends to show its face when they are tight. Maybe last season we might not have come out of them with the right result but I’ve seen a coming together where the players say ‘we just need to dig in here, this is the moment where somebody has to produce something as team or as an individual.
“I wouldn’t say they are trying any harder than they tried last season but there’s a greater realisation that if we keep doing what we have worked on during the week we’ll get a result. Something will happen if we keep trusting what we’re doing.”
The feeling of winning the final derby of the year is nothing new to Rangers and it was 12 months ago that they would achieve the same aim going into the break.
Their season would end in disappointment, though, as momentum, and then the title, were lost. History can’t be repeated this time around at Ibrox.
McAllister said: “The experience of what happened last year will be the biggest thing itself.
“They know they perhaps let themselves down a little bit last year and we are all very aware of the results we had after last year’s winter break.
“What you have seen already this season is more resilience from the boys. In games where we perhaps have not played as well we have managed to grind out the result. We have found a way to win.
“You have seen that yourselves. You don’t have to play well to win every game and I think the boys have learned that.
“Teams will make it difficult for us so it’s about finding a way to win. There is a greater know-how within the squad.”