THERE is a greater chance of Lord Buckethead becoming Prime Minister when the next General Election rolls around in 2024 than there is of Steven Gerrard still being manager of Rangers by that point.

The Ibrox club had leaked the possibility of Gerrard being given a new deal in the build-up to last weekend’s Betfred Cup Final and then confirmed the news on Friday morning. He already had a contract until 2022 before he and his backroom staff – all eight of them – were rewarded with an additional two years, presumably on enhanced terms.

It was a positive statement from the Ibrox club about their intentions but ultimately a meaningless gesture. Having taken over in 2018, Gerrard would become the club’s second-longest serving manager since the late 1960s and the reign of Scot Symon were he to still be in charge come 2024.

Only Walter Smith, in his first stint, stayed for longer and that was with an express purpose in mind – to try to deliver nine and then 10 in a row. Beyond that, Rangers managers do not tend to hang around for the long haul these days.

Since 2011 most incumbents in the dug-out have been firefighting to various degrees, as occupied with the pressures of dealing with endless off-field problems as they were with trying to bring about success on it.

Gerrard is fortunate in the regard that that side of things seems to be gradually easing, allowing him to focus entirely on delivering silverware and regular European football. He seems unlikely to quit his post having become burned out by trying to cope with ongoing shenanigans behind the scenes.

At just 39 years old, though, he is also too young and ambitious to view this as a job for life. Rangers would be the pinnacle of many managers’ careers but it is impossible to envisage that being the case for Gerrard.

How long he stays as Rangers manager, then, will be dictated by just two things: success or failure. Gerrard spoke recently about not treating Ibrox as a stepping stone to the Premier League but it will only be natural if he has designs on one day returning to manage in England.

To do so, though, he will probably need to be successful in Scotland first. His appointment was an experiment in many ways given nobody could have stated with any certainty how a first-time manager was going to cope in one of the most scrutinised roles in British football.

Eighteen months in, however, and the reviews ought to be mostly positive. He has shaped Rangers into credible challengers to Celtic’s domestic superiority, even if a trophy continues to elude them.

The performances have been even more impressive in Europe, with the team progressing through four tough qualifying rounds to reach the Europa League group phase in successive seasons. To then pass through to the knock-out phase this year is another feather in the Gerrard cap.

Ultimately, though, his record will be judged on whether he is able to match and then overtake Celtic as Scotland’s dominant side. If he can prevent their great rivals from claiming a ninth successive championship this term – or, perhaps more importantly, deny them a tenth the year after – then his stock will go through the roof. If he can do it in tandem with recurring European success, then he won’t he short of offers.

Conspiracy theorists worked themselves up into a lather on Friday when news of Gerrard’s new deal was closely followed by Jürgen Klopp similarly extending his stay at Liverpool until 2024. Perhaps in an ideal world the stars will align and Klopp will shuffle off for his next challenge at just the exact moment that Gerrard decides he’s had enough at Rangers.

But football – and life in general – never works that neatly. Nobody can predict just how the next five years will pan out for either manager or either club.

If Gerrard is doing well at Rangers he won’t hang around for a vacancy to open up at Anfield. He will have noted his former England midfield partner Frank Lampard spending a single season as Derby County manager before being handed the reins at Chelsea and think, not unreasonably, that a similar leap to a Premier League club isn’t outwith the bounds of possibility. It seems unlikely he will be of a mind to simply hang around in Scotland for a further five years to gather experience.

Of course, the other less palatable outcome for both parties is that Gerrard is sacked before 2024. Granted, that does not seem hugely likely in the foreseeable future given his impressive start to life in management but football can turn quickly.

If Rangers fail to stop Celtic making it 10 in a row then the club may decide the summer of 2021 is the right time for a change. Gerrard by that point will have served three years – not much less than the tenures of both Dick Advocaat and Ally McCoist.

Being Rangers manager is not a job in which the incumbent can simply coast along for years at a time. The expectation at the club is too great. Extending Gerrard’s contract is a positive PR move and will give Rangers greater financial protection should he become a target for clubs down south. Few, though, surely expect him to see it out.