Motherwell’s Graham Alexander has rueful memories of Steven Gerrard as a player but looks forward to facing him as a fellow manager on Sunday.
Alexander’s Burnley side were relegated from the Premier League in 2010 and it was a double from then Liverpool skipper Gerrard at Turf Moor in a 4-0 win which confirmed their departure.
More than a decade later, both men face each other in the Scottish Premiership at Fir Park in what will be Alexander’s second game as the Steelmen boss.
The former Preston and Scotland defender recalled Gerrard in his midfield pomp as he prepared for the visit of Rangers.
He said: “Yeah, but I’d rather forget those couple of occasions.
“When I got promoted to the Premier League with Burnley we played them (Liverpool) at Anfield and then Turf Moor against him.
“I think he scored a couple of goals and sent us down. I’ll need to thank him for that on Sunday – (although) it wasn’t him, it was over the whole season.
“Coming up against people like Steven Gerrard was a tough task in itself. Being 37 didn’t help, but I wanted to challenge myself and test myself.
“I always saw those kind of players from afar and I wanted to test myself against them. I didn’t shirk away from it.
“I wasn’t thinking about it (taking him on the Premiership) then or a week-and-a-half ago either.
“This is what I love about the game, you don’t know where it is going to take you and who you are going to go up against.
“I am so privileged to be part of this game for so long. It has exposed me to so many different experiences, people and challenges and I have loved every minute of it.
“I’ve always tried to compete at the highest level. That is football, that is competition, you have to go into it and give it your best shot.”
However, Alexander knows Sunday will primarily be about the two teams with one of them in imperious form.
Rangers are top of the table and unbeaten in 23 league games this season.
Alexander said: “Rangers have been on a fantastic run, they have quality players and the manager has done a great job.
“I was well aware of the types of fixtures I was coming into and it was part of the attraction.
“I just want to see my team play as well as they can and try and implement the things we want to do every week, not just for this game.”