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Gerrard wants Rangers to build on title as Sturgeon condemns celebrations

Ewan Murray
·3-min read

Steven Gerrard has insisted there is more to come from his Rangers team after the Scottish title was secured by Celtic’s failure to beat Dundee United on Sunday. Gerrard, in his third year of management, has comprehensively halted Celtic’s bid to win a record 10th championship in succession.

However, celebrating Rangers fans earned a rebuke from Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, after taking to Glasgow streets in their thousands for the second day in a row. Sturgeon warned the behaviour of fans “risks lives”.

Related: Steven Gerrard had to embrace the pressure to turn Rangers around | Ewan Murray

Gerrard emerged from a party with Rangers players and staff at the club’s training centre to look to the future. “It is very difficult to put into words right now,” the former Liverpool captain told rangers.co.uk. “I’m on a real, emotional high and it has been a journey that is not finished. There is more to come and the next thing for me, when you win, is always about what is next.”

The 40-year-old’s sentiment will ease fears among fans that Gerrard could soon be coaxed to England, especially if Liverpool continue to struggle under Jürgen Klopp.

After Celtic’s scoreless draw at Tannadice, jubilant Rangers supporters gathered en masse in Glasgow’s George Square and at Ibrox. Similar scenes at the stadium preceded Saturday’s 3-0 win over St Mirren. Sturgeon took to social media to express her displeasure. “I congratulate Rangers on the title win and recognise what a moment this is for fans,” said the first minister. “But gathering in crowds just now risks lives and could delay exit from lockdown for everyone else. If those gathering care at all about the safety of others and the country, they will go home.”

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She later added: “I share folks’ anger at this. Everyone has made so many sacrifices in the past year & seeing a minority risk our progress is infuriating & disgraceful. It is deeply unfair to the entire country, and the police have a hard enough job already. Please ask fans to go home @RangersFC.”

Rangers have not lost in 32 league matches, with their points advantage over Celtic at 20. Gerrard’s team have conceded only nine Premiership goals. They face Slavia Prague in the first leg of a Europa League last 16 match on Thursday. Nine years ago, after financial implosion, Rangers were consigned to Scotland’s bottom league.

“We are in March and I need them to keep delivering until the end of the season,” said Gerrard. “We need to enjoy this and get ourselves ready for the next challenge. Glasgow Rangers is about winning and we all live under that pressure, and that responsibility, but it is about what is next and it is about me getting these players ready for what is next.

“I want to get into the last eight of the Europa League and that is the next challenge and the focus is very much on that. But everyone deserves to enjoy their time, no more importantly than the supporters. The supporters deserve this for what they have been through.”

Douglas Park, the Rangers chairman, said of Gerrard: “He has done a magnificent job. He has brought standards back to the club, standards inside the club and standards outside the club.”