Steven Gerrard insists he always knew rebuilding Rangers into a title-winning force was not a quick fix.
The Ibrox boss will chalk up his 150th game in charge of the Light Blues on Saturday as his team finally look set to claim the club’s first league crown in a decade.
Victory at home to Ross County will push them 23 points clear of Celtic and deliver another blow to the Hoops’ 10-in-a-row dreams.
Yet there have been times during Gerrard’s reign where the Gers faithful thought their Parkhead rivals were on an unstoppable march to that record-breaking Premiership triumph.
The stunning collapse of Neil Lennon’s team has changed all that but Rangers had to be in a position to capitalise.
And Gerrard admits that simply was not the case when he was appointed back in 2018.
He said: “Look I’m not soft. I’ve been around the game a long time and I knew walking into this job it wasn’t going to be overnight change.
“It wasn’t a case of days or months. It was going to be a process.
“I’ve been reluctant to mention any targets. I obviously sat down with the chairman at the time Dave King and Stewart Robertson and the board and I was well aware of what was expected of me.
“So knowing it was going to take time and a certain amount of windows, that hasn’t surprised me. It’s played out exactly how I thought.
“We just need to remain focused on our targets and what we’re trying to achieve as a group.”
Gerrard has record 97 wins as Gers boss so far and 10 more in the league will be enough to crown his side champions.
He added: “I was told this week that Saturday is my 150th game. It’s not something that I give too much focus too. It’s very much not about me. It’s about the team and getting results.
“But I am really proud to be sitting here having been the manager for 149 games. It’s a journey that I’ve enjoyed immensely.
“I’m certainly in a better place for what I’ve learned from the experience so far. I want to improve and push myself to become a better manager.
“I hope there are many more games to come. It’s a fantastic number in such a short space of time. It’s almost like three full seasons in two-and-a-half years.
“It’s been really intense but enjoyable at the same time and I’m very much looking forward to the future and us pushing towards becoming a successful group. That’s the challenge for everyone at the club.
“We all know that when you sign up to Rangers and the DNA here, you’re always pushing towards success as quick as you can.
“That was the remit on day one and it hasn’t changed, so that’s what we’ll continue to push for.”
Rangers are so far in front this term they have already turned their attentions to next season.
But Gerrard refused to confirm if Bournemouth pair Jack Simpson and Nnamdi Ofoborh were among those he was looking to secure on pre-contracts.
“Rangers are linked with players on a daily basis,” he said. “But what I won’t do is be disrespectful to any player or their clubs.
“Those are two players who belong to another club. Yes we are actively trying to add to the group come the summer but I certainly won’t be mentioning any names.
“The recruitment never stops here. We’re always looking further down the line and trying to be a window or two ahead to try to identify the right players who can help us moving forward.”
There’s a double fitness boost for Gerrard ahead of the County clash as he welcomes Ryan Jack and potentially Kemar Roofe back to face a Staggies side buoyed by last week’s 4-1 thumping of Aberdeen.
He said: “It’s two really big boosts for us to have Jack and Roofe back, two really important players.
“John Hughes has certainly gone into Ross County and made a difference. It was a fantastic result against Aberdeen, it probably sent shockwaves through the league.
“They also got a big win at Hibs so this is a team that’s very capable on their day. But the focus has been on making sure we put out the best version of ourselves.”