In what seems to be a bittersweet period for Rangers boss Steven Gerrard, he has undoubtedly transformed the Ibrox club into a force to be reckoned with in Europe.
With Celtic currently 12 points clear in the Scottish Premiership, it looks like a bad league campaign on the face of it, but there has been significant improvement.
At this stage last season, Rangers had notched up just 55 points with five defeats on the board, compared to three defeats this term. At the time of writing, they are nine points better off this season, complete with a stunning victory over their city rivals Celtic at Celtic Park; their first there since 2010.
Despite losing December’s League Cup final in dramatic circumstances - the winner appeared to be offside - Gerrard’s Rangers dominated. That day, the Gers had a total of 16 attempts on goal with seven on target; Celtic’s solitary attempt on target proved to be the winner.
That game looked to be the revival of Rangers’ resurgence against a Celtic side that has dominated domestically in Scotland since their neighbours relegation in 2012, and finally looked like the tide was turning.
Rangers are enjoying a cracking Europa League journey
This season, Rangers have been among the most feared opponents in the Europa League.
Stunning results over former Champions League winners Porto, and a victory away at in-form Braga, meant that they progressed to the Round-of-16 for the first time since 2011.
This European success has stemmed from Gerrard’s continued faith in Alfredo Morelos. Despite the player’s poor disciplinary record across all competitions, he’s continued to prove his worth in the Europa League, and he even broke the competition’s record after he found the back of the net 14 times before Christmas; something no player has done before.
The Rangers Ethos
“Rangers FC. Do not enter unless you are ready to put yourself second - and that should be the one and only time second is good enough for you” - Walter Smith, 2010.
After the scenes from the loyal travelling faithful who went to Braga, it is clear that Gerrard is instilling Walter Smith’s ethos around the club, the staff and the fanbase. The magnitude of a club that size deserves trophies, but they will return in time.
With only the Europa League up for grabs and the league title slipping away, Gerrard has a right to be questioning things.
However, criticism of the former England skipper seems a little harsh given the club’s downfall in 2011, and where they currently sit.
The club has come so far under Gerrard and given more time - plus the hope that stars such as Morelos and Barisic remain in Glasgow - along with some good recruitment in the summer, next season could well be the year of the Bear.