EVERY season of Steven Gerrard’s playing career with Liverpool was defined by success and silverware. His first as a manager at Rangers, then, would have left him somewhat unfulfilled and frustrated.

The job that Gerrard did at Ibrox last term can’t be solely looked at in black and white and the fact that he and his players were left empty-handed at the end of the campaign doesn’t mean it can be written off.

Now, the 39-year-old is embarking on a new challenge, but the same aims and ambitions remain.

On Monday, Gerrard, his staff and his players returned to the Hummel Training Centre and started working towards what they hope will be a Premiership title and some long-awaited domestic success.

The next day, he was linked with an early exit from Ibrox as Derby County consider their options ahead of Frank Lampard’s potential departure to Chelsea this summer.

Any talk of Gerrard leaving was quickly put to bed as supporters’ fears were allayed. This summer, as it was last year, all of Gerrard’s focus is on bringing a trophy back to Ibrox

“It is speculation and I know how happy the manager is here and with the opportunity that he has been given here and to manage this club,” Gary McAllister, the Rangers assistant manager, said.

“We want to do a job, we want to be successful. All the noises outside of that are just treated as speculation and we are just focused on the job. He is fully focused on trying to get some silverware back to Ibrox.

“I think the gaffer really appreciates the Rangers board and the owner for giving him this opportunity here and he wants to repay their faith in him and give them something back.

“The thing is here, you are gauged on winning things at Rangers and that is what he enjoys, that is the pressure that he has played at and been under his whole life. It is something that he thrives on and we are fully focused. We want to give it a real go this season and try and bring a trophy back to Ibrox.”

The summer break has been productive for Rangers as Gerrard has added strength and depth to his ranks but the quick turnaround between terms has given his players little chance to rest and recuperate.

The Light Blues will spend the coming days at a training camp in Portugal as preparations for the new campaign are stepped up once again.

And McAllister is pleased with the early work that has been done as the countdown continues to the first competitive outing next month.

He said: “The first day back there is always that nice buzz of anticipation and the players are all happy to see each other. But there is always that wee bit of nervousness about where they are fitness wise because this is the only opportunity to get that core strength and fitness into the team.

“If we progress in Europe, we are three game weeks right throughout the season really. We know how important it is to get the fitness levels right up but I have got to say that they have come back well.

“They have had a short time off so it is difficult to lose a great deal of fitness in that four-week period. The majority of players have come back in good nick and have coped with the first week well.”

While Gerrard and McAllister have been putting their players through their paces in recent days, the first weeks of the season have started to take shape, both domestically and in European competition.

The first two rounds of the Europa League were drawn on Tuesday and Wednesday, while the Premiership fixture schedule was revealed on Friday morning.

Rangers will start with a trip to Kilmarnock before facing Hibernian and St Mirren. Just four games in, Celtic are the visitors to Ibrox.

It is a start that is far from straightforward, but it is a challenge McAllister is relishing and one he is confident Rangers will rise to.

He said: “It is always important and to start with momentum and start fast is always a big thing. We are trying not to look too far ahead.

“Fans will naturally look to see where the Old Firms are in the fixture list, that is par for the course. But we don’t want to spend too much time going down that road.

“We will look at the other opponents and we will have targets early in the season. We look at little tranches of games and look to try and get a number of points out of those games. The facts are that we just have to be prepared for every fixture and we will have European ties in there so we will be busy.

“We go into the season knowing, like we did last season, that we could have three game weeks so there is no respite. You just have to prepare and be absolutely spot on for every game, whether it is the Premiership home or away or in Europe.”

The run to the group stages of the Europa League last season was the first objective that Gerrard achieved.

Wins over Shkupi, Osijek, Maribor and Ufa returned Rangers to a level they hadn’t been at for some time and were amongst the highlights of what turned into a rollercoaster season.

Having set the bar 12 months ago, Rangers must now go and match it in the coming weeks as they once again bid for a place amongst the 48 teams.

McAllister said: “We are a year wiser, most definitely, and we are another year down the line.

“There will be that expectation level put on the players from the fans, even in Europe.

“We know what they want and I think the fans enjoyed the European run. I have got to say that, from a personal point of view, I did.

“Once we got to the Europa League proper, I thought the games against Rapid, Villarreal and Spartak Moscow were outstanding, great European nights at Ibrox.

“That is something we have got to strive for. We have made some fantastic additions and strengthened the squad. It is not at the level of last year making wholesale changes but we think we have added quality. We are equipped to go into all competitions stronger in our mind knowing that we have got a good, strong squad.”