THESE days, most people follow a big breaking story online, but not this story - Steven Gerrard signing as manager of Rangers was too big for that. As soon as the news of the appointment was announced, the fans wanted to be at Ibrox in person, claiming the pavements, the walls, the road, and then finally the stadium itself. This wasn't the kind the story they wanted to follow on their phone. They had to be here.

Most of the fans - who came from across the central belt - had hurriedly found something to wear, or wave, for the occasion: a 1972 Cup Winners Final T-shirt, some union jack braces, a flag with the words "True Blue Til I Die". The children - the next generation - were also done up in blue - some obviously too young to understand what was going on, but their parents will tell them: you were there on May 4th, 2018, the day Gerrard arrived.

Some of the crowd came to the stadium from nearby, in Govan, but many came from further away - a few down from Falkirk, others up from Ayr, and other places, dropping everything as soon as they heard the news. One fan, his leg covered in a proud Rangers tattoo, could barely walk but he limped here anyway, supported by a stick. News like this is like a homing beacon for fans - they'll get here somehow.

In all, there were at least 2000 fans at the stadium, and the emotional energy wasn't hard to interpret. Some said there hadn't been an event like this since 1995 when Paul Gascoigne signed for the club, but a few were also here in 2012 when the club went into administration - here was a chance to move on from that day.

One of the fans, 33-year-old Ainslie McRae - who travelled from Balloch with her husband Stuart and their one-year-old son Lochlan - spoke for a lot of the fans when she said coming to Ibrox was about showing support for the decision to appoint Gerrard. Ms McRae has been a season ticket holder since she was six and has been coming here for years to watch all the managers coming out of the stadium.

"If you're Rangers fan, you follow through the thick and the thin. You stay loyal," she said. "It's been a bit of a downer recently, it's been quite rubbish, but this is an emotional boost."

Ms McRae's partner Stuart agreed with that - a day like this works for the club and the fans, he said. The fans give their support but they also draw an emotional buzz from it.

"This is a big day for the club - we probably haven't seen a day like this since Gascoigne came," said Mr McRae. "Gerrard is untried as a manager, but as a persona, and character, he's probably the biggest thing to come to Scotland since Gascoigne." But will being a star footballer be enough? "It's not enough, but he's got to start somewhere, so why not start at Rangers? His ambition is to manage Liverpool - he's come here to win. He comes here as a star, but he could win the league and leave here a superstar."

The other fans in the crowd had similar hopes and ambitions. Twenty-one-year-old Taylor Banker, who came down with his friend Jordan McTaggart, was obviously feeling the boost of being here, and the presence, for the first time in a long time, of some hope for the club.

"I wanted to come because it's a bit of excitement for once isn't it?" said Mr Banker. "It has been tough the last few years. It's a bit of risk in footballing terms but it's a smart move in a lot of ways - he's a massive name. He's followed all over the world. And he'll command respect. If I was player and Steven Gerrard didn't think I was doing good, that would really affect me. I don't think the players respected Graeme Murty but they will respect Gerrard."

Many of the other fans were getting a similar emotional boost. Twenty-seven-year-old Graeme Naill was standing at the back by the railings with his five-year-old daughter Daisy, who's wearing a Rangers scarf that's as long as she is, and when I ask him why he's here he points at the crowd and then his little girl.

"It's just to take it in," he says, "and to take the wee barra." But then he says something else that pretty much sums up how everyone is feeling here. The last few years have been demoralising for Rangers fans, he says, but they've come here today to celebrate something they've been waiting a long time to see: a glimpse of the future.