Steven Gerrard gets taste of Ibrox with 6-0 win in Bury friendly as 41,000 turn out for Rangers boss' first match
- Steven Gerrard took charge of his first home game since taking over at Rangers
- League Two Bury were the visitors to Glasgow and a 41,000 crowd attended
- The match acted as a dress rehearsal for next week's Europa League qualifier
- Rangers face FK Shkupi of Macedonia in the first round of European competition
By Craig Hope for MailOnline
Published: 13:06 EDT, 6 July 2018 | Updated: 19:14 EDT, 6 July 2018
It felt like the first day of the season and not, as it was, a friendly against League Two opposition on World Cup quarter-final night.
But that is what the arrival of Steven Gerrard has done to the blue half of Glasgow. Forget Brazil and Belgium, an incredible 41,000 turned out at Ibrox to watch the new manager's reign kick off against Bury.
The raucous welcome he received when he stepped from the team bus for the first time and skipped into the club's famous red-brick entrance was like many he would have enjoyed at major tournaments with England.
Steven Gerrard cuts an animated figure during his first home game as Rangers manager
The match was an early opportunity for supporters to see Gerrard's ideas applied on the pitch
Gerrard held a look of steely determination alongside assistant manager Gary McAllister
The Rangers managerial team are all up standing moments before kick-off on Friday night
Gerrard, also vocal in his playing days, made his feelings known in a first half that ended 3-0
Not that Gerrard is thinking of those days anymore. He spent the early part of the World Cup at a training camp in Spain rather than a television studio in Russia, shaping a squad which already includes seven summer signings.
The furthest he has gone to engaging in Three Lions chat was a video message in which he urged the new generation to perform better than his own Golden vintage. Beat Sweden on Saturday and they would have achieved that much.
But Gerrard can only concern himself with bettering Celtic. Seasoned observers in these parts say that a convincing second-placed finish would represent success in his first season, not that the former Liverpool captain will be settling for that just yet.
'I asked for energy and desire and I saw lots of that,' he said after a 6-0 victory.
While the club have made summer signings, the only name on fans' lips was their manager's
Programme sellers show off the game's latest edition as Gerrard marked the start of his era
Gerrard has been in the position for seven weeks and will soon enter European qualfiiers
'Teams who come here need to feel what Rangers is about. I told the players they have a responsibility to go out and excite these supporters - they did that tonight.
'I'm one of the hungriest people on this planet. The players have to match that otherwise it's pointless working together.'
His side certainly looked ravenous in their efforts to impress him here. They were in front after seven minutes when Jamie Murphy turned in from close range and they celebrated in the stands as if it was the first of the league campaign, such is the excitement.
The most intriguing of Gerrard's new recruits is Nikola Katic, a 21-year-old Croatia international signed for £2million.
Already there is talk of him one day being sold for a handsome profit and, on this evidence, it won't be long before Premier League scouts are dispatched north.
The new manager was more than happy to pose for photos with young Rangers supporters
More than 40,000 fans turned up to see the new-look Gers put six past Bury on Friday
But while the goals flooded in, Gerrard still looked to iron out mistakes among his players
The centre-back stepped out of defence on the half hour and found the bottom corner from 25 yards for what was a memorable debut goal. Scott Arfield - a free-transfer addition from Burnley - made it three before the break.
Gerrard - dressed head to toe in a black club tracksuit - took a moment before half-time to observe the crowd, bouncing in unison and in song. Was this really a summer friendly?
They only have to wait until Thursday for competitive football when FK Shkupi of Macedonia are the visitors for their Europa League first-round qualifier.
It was this time 12 months ago that Rangers were beaten by Luxembourg part-timers Progres Niederkorn at the same stage. Already under Gerrard, however, it feels like progress has been made.
Arfield slotted in his second on 65 minutes and again the stadium erupted, just as it did when Alfredo Morelos headed their fifth and Zak Rudden nicked a sixth.
Gerrard can only imagine what the noise will be like when the action starts for real.