The news that Rangers are close to appointing former Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard as their new manager is potentially a huge shot in the arm for Scottish football.
Rangers’ 5-0 defeat at Celtic on Sunday handed the Hoops their seventh successive league title, but it also highlighted how much of a one-horse race Scottish football has become.
Gerrard played 710 times and won nine trophies for Liverpool during 19 years as a player, before joining MLS side LA Galaxy in 2015.
He also made 114 appearances for England and captained the side at three of the six major tournaments he played at.
Gerrard retired in 2016 and joined the youth set-up at Anfield after rejecting an offer to become manager of MK Dons.
The former Liverpool star could be announced as Pedro Caixinha’s permanent replacement by midweek at the latest.
Gerrard is likely to bring Gary McAllister with him to Ibrox and their knowledge and expertise could prove to be a huge boost for both Rangers and the Scottish game in general.
Rangers’ liquidation and subsequent relegation to the bottom tier of Scottish football in 2012 caused much merriment amongst Celtic fans, but those events were a major hindrance to the sport’s wellbeing in Scotland.
A strong and competitive rivalry between Celtic and Rangers not only helps drive both clubs to greater heights, but also creates a buzz around the league that simply hasn’t been in evidence over the past few years.
Putting aside Gerrard’s managerial inexperience – which shouldn’t be an issue in the Scottish game – the former Liverpool midfielder’s reputation could be a key factor in Rangers’ attempts to close the gap on their big rivals.
There was a lot of excitement amongst the club’s fans about the news that Burnley midfielder Scott Arfield had agreed to sign for the club, but that positivity shows how far Rangers have fallen behind Celtic in recent years.
Arfield has been reasonable enough at Burnley, but he’s average at best and Rangers need better than him if they’re to break Celtic’s stranglehold in Scotland.
Gerrard’s possible appointment at Ibrox bears many similarities to when Graeme Souness joined the club in 1986.
Souness had no managerial experience when he was appointed as Rangers’ boss, but ended up winning seven trophies in his spell with the club.
His status in the game helped Rangers attract players they would not have been able to sign without him in charge and Gerrard could have a similar impact if he takes over this summer.
Scottish football has stagnated in recent times due to Celtic’s dominance, but Gerrard’s arrival at Ibrox may be the catalyst for an improvement in standard over the next few seasons.
If the move doesn’t pay off it’s difficult to see how Rangers could bridge the gap to Celtic. A last throw of the dice for the Gers perhaps?