Rangers are within three matches of potentially reaching the Europa League

Rangers have taken “immense strides” forward under new boss Steven Gerrard, says Scotland counterpart Alex McLeish.

Former Liverpool captain Gerrard has not lost any of his first seven competitive games since arriving in the summer with assistant Gary McAllister.

The Ibrox club are also three games away from potentially reaching the Europa League group stage.

“Steven Gerrard has come in and given Rangers a new lease of life,” McLeish told BBC Scotland.

“If you compare it to last season then you have to say it’s immense strides Rangers have taken under Steven.

“Gary McAllister is a very close friend and these guys have the belief, knowledge and gravitas to be at a club like Rangers.

“I think they inspire other players. Players that maybe didn’t do quite so well will now probably play to a level higher than they thought they were capable of.

“That’s the type of experience that Steven Gerrard and Gary McAllister bring to Rangers.”

Last season, Celtic finished the Premiership campaign nine points clear of Aberdeen and 12 ahead of Rangers.

Although it is only two games into the new league season, McLeish has been impressed with the challenge already mounted from those attempting to catch Brendan Rodgers’ side.

“There’s a fair bit of gravitas not only at Rangers or Celtic but the league in general,” said the former Rangers manager.

“Teams like Hamilton looked like they wouldn’t survive and they’ve put up tremendous resilience. You see that a lot in Scottish players.

“You now see challenges to Rangers and Celtic from other teams, like Hearts, who got a great result at the weekend, Hibs, who have been in fantastic form in the last couple of years under Neil Lennon, and what can you say about the Dons?

“Derek McInnes has had four years as number two behind Celtic. That augurs well.”

Alex McLeish has been impressed by Steven Gerrard’s start at Ibrox

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