Steven Gerrard ‘has to splash cash for Rangers to catch Celtic’

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Former Rangers player-manager Graeme Souness has urged Steven Gerrard to get his chequebook out - because he fears Rangers won’t catch Celtic if they rely on blooding younger players.

Souness, like Gerrard, was a key figure in the Liverpool midfield, and took the reins at Ibrox in the Eighties.

Steven Gerrard needs to spend big money to catch Celtic, according to one former Ibrox manager. Picture: SNS Group

Steven Gerrard needs to spend big money to catch Celtic, according to one former Ibrox manager. Picture: SNS Group

The former Scotland international captain had a sizeable budget that allowed him to compete with Celtic and ultimately end the Hoops’ dominance, and the 65-year-old believes Gerrard needs the same to challenge Brendan Rodgers.

He said: “I haven’t spoken to Steven yet, but I think he’s doing very well. They’ve only had the one hiccup. But the challenges all lie ahead – when you lose a few games, it’s how you deal with that.

“My experience of being in Glasgow is: you can be playing the best football but losing an Old Firm game, draw another game, then you play second fiddle to Celtic, and all the focus and all the criticism comes on you.

“It would be the other way around if Celtic were second. So, it’s a hard place to work. But there’s no doubt about it, he’s improved things greatly.

“I think he’s got a lot of goodwill from the supporters right now and that’ll give him time, which they need.”

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Souness reckons the Ibrox job is a different beast now than it was for him, adding: “I wasn’t surprised that [Gerrard] went into management and I think Rangers is a great place to start. 
“It’s a great football club with big challenges and big pressures, but he’s always been around the big time so he’ll deal with it.

“Rangers is a different job for Steven than it was for me. I had two enormous advantages: one, I still had a bit to offer as a player, and second I had a big budget to work with.”

Souness claims that finishing second would be an “acceptable” season for Rangers, rather than a “very good” campaign.

He added: “[A big budget] is what it’d take to get Rangers back to Celtic’s level - if you’re looking to get back sooner rather than later.

“You can buy the players - you can’t wait for the youth system, or hope you buy well over a long period of time from lower clubs for small money and then develop them into top players.

“Finishing second wouldn’t be a “very good” season for Rangers, it would be acceptable - but there’s a mood [at Ibrox] now that hasn’t been there for a number of years, which is good.”

• Graeme Souness was speaking exclusively to Paddy Power at their Museum of Mischief, celebrating the brand’s 30th birthday. To read more, visit news.paddypower.com