06 Oct Steven Gerrard keeping feet on ground as Rangers go top of table
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard warned his players not to get carried away by going top of the Ladbrokes Premiership after a 5-0 thrashing of Hamilton.
But the Gers boss claimed his squad were better and stronger than they were last year, when they could only hold on to top spot for three days.
Rangers took advantage of Celtic’s defeat at Livingston in emphatic fashion as Jermain Defoe’s hat-trick, a Connor Goldson header and Borna Barisic’s free-kick saw them sweep aside Accies.
Gerrard’s men have now scored 17 goals in four matches since losing to Celtic, their only slip-up in eight league matches.
Rangers lost at home to Aberdeen and drew with Dundee in the two games after going top in early December last year and Gerrard played down the significance of leapfrogging the champions.
“I’m not going to get involved in any top-of-the-table talk, that’s for you guys to do your jobs and impress your bosses,” he said when asked whether his team were better equipped to handle being top.
“My job’s to win football matches, and as many as I can, and focus on the next game. There’s a break now and I worry about what I have to do to try and beat Hearts. That’s all I will focus on.
“It’s still very early days in the season. I have said to the players not to get carried away, there’s a lot of hard work. We have still got to improve, we have still got to grow.
“But the answer to the question is yes, we are better than last year, and yes, we are stronger. The 11 is stronger, the squad is stronger, and we’ve got people coming back from injury. So we’re in a good place.”
Gerrard added: “Look, it’s October. There’s still tons and tons of football to be played.
“This time in the last block of fixtures we lost an Old Firm 2-0 and a lot of criticism came our way, and rightly so because we didn’t perform well enough on the day. So we all deserved that.
“This time round we have won four out of four in the league and lot of strong, positive performances, especially here at home, we have shown a lot of hunger and aggressive play about us.
“So that’s what I am looking for, but it’s October and there’s no point worrying about where we stand in the league or getting carried away.”
Hamilton head coach Brian Rice praised his young players for keeping going in trying circumstances.
He added: “I’ve seen a lot of Rangers. I keep saying it – their attacking play is as good as I’ve seen in a long, long time.
“For me, Celtic and Rangers are on a different planet to anyone else in this division. The gap for me, between Celtic, Rangers and the rest, is as big as I’ve ever seen in my 40 years in Scottish football.
“I know Celtic lost today but under normal circumstances the gap is enormous.
“All you can do it your best and try not to make it easy for them. They tried their best.
“I’ve seen teams in the English Premier League lose eight. I saw teams in the Champions League losing seven.
“It’s hurting. We want to do better and we’ll try to do better.”