Steven Gerrard wants Filip Helander at Aston Villa
Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard

Last summer Rangers had appointed Steven Gerrard as their manager but the former Liverpool man did little to halt Celtic’s progress as the Bhoys managed yet another domestic clean sweep.

And most pundits fear that a repeat is likely to happen during the 2019-20 season too.

But Gers man James Tavernier has sent out a warning to their Old Firm rivals claiming that they are now ready to challenge for the Premiership title as they have learned their lessons from the previous campaign.

“It’s going to be a huge season, definitely,” Tavernier said.

“The gaffer has already highlighted it to all the boys how big a season it is. It’s my duty now, along with the other experienced boys, to let the new boys know what it is all about because they will soon know once the season starts.

“It’s a responsibility that I am taking with a lot of pride. Hopefully, I can lead the boys and be successful this season. Once the new campaign unfolds, they will see how chaotic it can get. But we have a good group of boys and we will let them know that. You can tell them to stay off social media. A lot of things can be said on there and you don’t want to put your head in a different place. You try and stay out of the limelight as much as you can.

“You need to see who can cope and who can’t. You just need to put yourself in the best position mentally for the team. You want to stay focused on the job in hand and it will be a team effort. We want to achieve the same things and we can’t get caught up in anything else.

“There are a lot of boys from last season who are capable of it and the new boys have shown great signs so far.

“The gaffer has introduced great additions. He wants to make us better and he’s done that and the transfer window is not closed yet. I don’t know if he wants to add more, but he’s brought great additions into the club so far. Our standards are even higher now in training and in games and that’s only going to bring the best out of us.

“We are as ready as we could be. We’ve worked incredibly hard this pre-season and, except for Blackburn, all of the results have gone our way. We’ve conceded only one goal in pre-season, so it’s been good from a defensive point of view.

“I’m not really surprised by how quickly they [new players] have settled in. We work really hard on the training ground to get all the new boys up to pace. The lads who were here last season can help them out if they need it and the staff have been working really hard too on getting the new boys ready. It’s been showing in the games and it’s so much easier now it’s the gaffer’s second season.

“We all know the system, we all know what’s required and the new boys coming in can speak to the boys from last season.

“We are all here for the same journey, we all have the same targets and we all want to help each other out.

“We can’t take our foot off the gas because we did that last season and we dropped points. That hindered us, but we have learned our lessons. We don’t want to be experiencing any of that last season.”

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