BILL STRUTH was the last Rangers manager to go two full seasons without winning a trophy 68 years ago. By that point the legendary Ibrox boss had already amassed 28 major honours. He would bounce back from that brief drought by claiming a domestic double the next year, Struth’s last trophies as manager.

Now Steven Gerrard looks set to inherit that unwanted mantle. Barring an unlikely Europa League resurrection, the current incumbent of the Rangers dug-out will head into his third season in charge still waiting for his first trophy as a manager.

Comparing eras is not always fair given the disparity in circumstances and finances but, given what is at stake as rivals Celtic go for 10-in-a-row, Gerrard simply can’t afford another barren season.

His assistant Gary McAllister admits as much. A week after the pair’s former club Liverpool ended their 30-year wait for a league title, McAllister knows it may take that sort of relentless consistency if Rangers are to be similarly celebrating next May.

“Everyone at this club has to embrace what is a massive challenge to stop a team from winning ten leagues in a row but we’re up for the battle,” said McAllister.

“Making a good start is imperative and we’ve got to come out the traps and start the season well and be very positive and then maintain it. 

“Do we need to be as consistent as Liverpool have shown? Absolutely. That's just a given. Historically, across the globe, with most of the teams that win leagues that is the sort of level you have to hit. There's no wiggle room. Or there's very little wiggle room there.

“We’ve got to win. You can break it all down but the easiest way to say things is: we’ve got to try to win. We will only be judged on winning. I’m sitting in a room now where I can see some trophies on the wall. And we need to win one of them. Or two or three.

“That hunger and desire to win – Steven has got it even more so now. He’s worked his entire life and career at those levels. Throughout his entire playing career he had that expectation of having to win. That hunger and desire is something he eats, sleeps and drinks.”

Since Aberdeen’s last league title in 1985, Scottish football has been effectively a see-saw; if Rangers are up, then Celtic are down. And vice versa.

When the Parkhead club stopped their rivals’ attempt to win 10 successive titles back in 1998 they were helped by Rangers’ own frailties. A similar Celtic self-implosion next season would undoubtedly help the Ibrox side’s chances this time around but McAllister insisted they were only looking inwardly.

“[Celtic losing star players] is not something that we are sat here at Rangers hoping for,” he added.

“We're looking across the city but our main focus has got to be on ourselves. Fraser Forster was outstanding [last season] and Odsonne Edouard is a very, very good player but we've got to focus on what we do and improve on what we do.

“There’s been a lot of good - last season in particular there was some excellent stuff - but lockdown gave all of us a chance to reflect on the four or five results that caused the gap. We want to put that right and make it super competitive.”

Rangers will need to have a core of players performing at their peak for that to happen. Supporters would be within their rights to expect more from Ryan Kent, for example, a £7m winger who failed to provide a single assist in 21 league matches last term.

“Ryan is most definitely one of our big players and criticism is part of being a big player at a big club,” admitted McAllister.

“When results go the other way you tend to look at the star players within the group and he’s one of our blue chip players. 

“But I’ve known Ryan for a while and, even though there were times I felt the criticism was a bit unfair, I didn’t see a player hiding. 

“I see a hard-working guy and I remember way back when I played at Leeds United a coach said to lose yourself in hard work. 

“That quote is flying around my head and is something I’d say to Ryan ‘Lose yourself in hard work’ and you might just get the rub of the green, a ball might bounce nicely for you, you might get a shot at goal and a deflection. 

“I know in the modern day a lot of people look at numbers - goals and assists - and that’s been thrown at him but maybe he should blank that away and lose himself in hard work. 

“Things will fall for him after that. We see a player who is pretty robust. He doesn’t miss much training. He’s generally there to be picked for every game.

“He just needs to keep working away. There’s little tactical things we want to impress upon him and there’s little areas of the pitch he can improve in and we’re just drip feeding these all the time. 

“He’s a young man who loves the city and he’s come back looking sharp so a wee run of form or goals and he’ll be fine.”

Similarly, McAllister and Gerrard have no qualms about retaining James Tavernier as club captain for the new campaign.

“We trust the captain,” said the former Scotland skipper. “He’s another player who’s available the entire time. He’s set some very high standards in terms of goalscoring and assists. You look at his numbers and what he provides for us and he’s a key player.

“A lot of our attacking structure – you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to see where our game is built. He plays a massive part in that and I like that he takes on that responsibility. We do ask him to go and go, and over the piece I think he’s a good captain.”