GARY MCALLISTER knew better than any member of Steven Gerrard’s coaching team what he was walking into at Ibrox last summer.

But the former Scotland midfielder admits even he was taken aback by his new surroundings as Gerrard started a fresh Rangers era.

McAllister was joined in Light Blue by Michael Beale, Tom Culshaw and Jordan Milsom on Gerrard’s backroom team when the Liverpool legend took his first step into the dugout and penned a four-year deal.

Just 90 minutes remain of that debut campaign and Rangers head to Kilmarnock tomorrow aiming to record a seventh consecutive league win following their Old Firm victory over Celtic last weekend.

The Gers will end the season empty-handed after falling short in the Premiership and missing out on cup silverware but there are plenty of positives to take from this term.

“I think the manager and all the coaching staff all knew it was going to be a tough task,” McAllister said.

“But on arrival, the expectations and the views of the club...I thought I knew Rangers, I’m from here and played with a lot of Rangers players during my international career...but it’s bigger than you actually think.

“When you work with a club this big you soon realise how enormous it is. I think the coaches all thought it was a big club, but once they came in they realised it was bigger than they thought. The job - everyone has loved it. We want professionalism right at every aspect of the club.

“I think you have seen changes greatly, so it’s important to finish this season on a high and go into the summer with a bounce. It was quite a big Bouncy, Bouncy last weekend!”

One of the major highlights of Rangers’ season arrived within weeks of Gerrard and his staff getting down to business in the summer.

The Gers progressed through four qualifying rounds to reach the Europa League group stages as a hastily assembled squad and side hit the ground running this term.

There won’t be the same turnover of players this time around, but McAllister knows a speedy start is imperative if Rangers are to realise their domestic silverware ambitions at the second time of asking.

He said: “The things we can learn from last season was that we did manage to bring a lot of players in time for pre-season which gave us a little jump start going into the Europa League. I think if we can go about our business again early - it’s not a major overhaul, we’re looking to add quality rather than quantity and if we can get our business done early and get players bedded in during the close season then I think we can start strong again.

“Since the split the results have gone really well, but the most enjoyable thing is the performance level and some of the football we have played in the last six or seven weeks. I think there has been a big shift.

“I think we can be judged when we can majorly compete and win. Because you’ve got to win here.

“As much as you can see improvement, you have got to win here. That’s the pressure that comes along with the job. It’s about silverware here.

“Are we ready to take that step? I think we most definitely in a better position to really compete.

“We are helped by having experience of being at clubs that have the same mentality.

“The fact is you are under the microscope in every minute of every game here. And you wouldn’t have it any other way. This is the end of the game where you want to work. And we think we are at the top end of the game in this country.”

There have been plenty of reasons to be optimistic for Rangers in recent weeks as an impressive streak of results and performances have been put together. Now, one final effort is required in Ayrshire.

The Killie clash could be the last that striker Alfredo Morelos plays for the Light Blues if clubs follow up their interest in him this summer.

The 22-year-old this week missed out on a place in the Colombia squad for the Copa America, with his well-publicised disciplinary issues coming back to cost him dear.

“It has obviously worked against him a wee bit and hopefully the penny will drop,” McAllister said. “The senior players are at him, the coaches, because he is key, an important guy. We have spoken about this a lot and the manager has spent loads of one to one time with Alfredo.

“He is a good man, a good guy. There are moments in games where it becomes hard for him but age is definitely on his side for future caps with his country and his levels will definitely improve if he gets that bit right.

“It has been mentioned loads of times that he is a key player for us and he signed new contracts with us.

“We want to keep him here, we don’t want to see him playing in any other league.”

While Morelos will get one more chance to break the 30-goal barrier this season, there will be no final appearance of the campaign for Nikola Katic or Scott Arfield.

Katic has made the most of his chance in recent weeks and will now join up with the Croatia squad for the Under-21 European Championships.

McAllister said: “I think he has been particularly outstanding.

“He is a young player and we felt that, in the way the season has gone, you get ups and downs – especially coming to a club like this. He has never played under this sort of scrutiny, so for a young player he has had an amazing season.

“He suffered a wee bit with confidence after going out of the team but the way he has responded has been excellent. He boosted back up, trained hard – he is here nearly every minute of every day. His performances recently haven’t surprised us because he is a very committed boy.”