IT turns out Jurgen Klopp wasn’t the only Liverpool idol who had the sudden notion to run onto the pitch and get involved in the action this weekend. While he ultimately managed to keep the urge in check, when Steven Gerrard heard the roar go out around Tynecastle on Sunday, for perhaps the first time in his Rangers career he felt like ditching the brown brogues and getting his boots back on.

“I didn’t think ‘I could influence this game’,” said the 38-year-old former Champions League winner. “But on Sunday when that roar came just before kick-off I thought ‘I would love to be playing in this’.

“What a set-up Tynecastle is, what a stadium,” added Gerrard, who limits his playing these days to swapping in every now and then on the ‘short spaces’ of the 5-a-side or 7-a-side park in training. “Fans on your shoulders, banter is flying from both sets of fans. All my staff are trying to referee the game, all Craig [Levein’s] staff are trying to referee the game. And then you have got 22 players out on the pitch and they are the lucky ones because when someone takes that away from you, it is tough. Well, it was for me.”

Seventeen years at Anfield, followed by only a couple of months being pampered at LA Galaxy, life at a big club with the pressure to deliver leagues and cups is quite simply all Gerrard knows. No wonder that he feels that his existence at Ibrox has served as a form of replacement therapy to his past life as a Premiership superstar.

“When I came out from being a player, there was a huge void in my life and I think this is as close as you can get to being in the mix and feeling the emotions that I missed,” he said. “I don’t see myself being a manager of numerous clubs throughout my career. I think it has to be a certain draw, has to give me a certain feeling. I turned down quite a few jobs before I got this opportunity. I said on day one, when I came up, that this felt different. That is the reason I am enjoying it so much.

“It is a wonderful club and I just hope that come the business end we are still in this position where there is a lot of attention and focus on us and hopefully we reward ourselves for all the hard work that we have put in so far and the hard work we will put in between now and the end of the season.”

You couldn’t touch upon Rangers going top of the Ladbrokes Premiership as they did as a result of that hard-earned victory in Gorgie and not mention Gerrard’s personal story, his agonising failure to ever land the top league title south of the border. While he won’t labour the point to his players or drone on about his playing days, it certainly serves as a cautionary tale. As much as he saw fit to celebrate going top of the table is one thing, staying there is another entirely.

“It’s hard to get there and even harder to stay there,” said Gerrard. “I love that quote because certainly my experience as a player over many, many seasons I experienced that.

“I never really mention myself in the dressing room about what I did or my experiences,” he added. “But the most difficult thing to do is to win a league over 36 or 38 games, getting over the line when it matters at the business end.

“I am experienced enough to praise the players for where they are sitting, but at the same time to warn them about consistency and to make them understand that now is the time to go to work even harder to stay there.”

When does a title challenge become a title challenge? Perhaps unsurprisingly, Gerrard is coy about saying whether they are capable of sustaining a run at Celtic all the way to the end.

“I am thinking about challenging of course, but what I am saying is that I am not getting carried away or predicting we are going to challenge right now because we are still a long way out,” he said. “Of course the hope is that we are still pushing and challenging for as long as we can. But the big question for us is ‘can we?’ That’s the big question that is going to hang over us for a while and that’s the reason we won’t get carried away.”

Losing Alfredo Morelos to a red card and then a late equaliser on the first day, then drawing a blank in the Betfred Cup semi-final; Aberdeen have been frustrating opponents so far for Rangers this season but Gerrard is looking to forward to playing a full match against them with a recognised striker on board. “We feel that in our two performances against Aberdeen we probably haven’t got the results we deserved,” said Gerrard. “In the circumstances the result was good on the first day of the season getting a point with ten men after 12 minutes because we played extremely well on the day and conceded late on which was a blow and felt like a defeat. And in the semi-final we played well up to a certain point of the pitch but never had the quality to hurt Aberdeen. We have played them twice without two recognised centre forwards so this is an opportunity to show how good and strong we are against a good Aberdeen team. But we won’t be using the words ‘point to prove’ or ‘revenge’ or anything like that.”