Gerrard keen to make a mark on first Old Firm experience

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard is confident his side can set the tone for a sea change in Scottish football by beating Celtic in his first experience of the Old Firm derby on Sunday.

The former Liverpool captain has made an impressive start to his first senior managerial role in Glasgow.

Rangers are unbeaten in 12 games under Gerrard and sealed their place in the Europa League group stages on Thursday by holding out for a 1-1 draw at Russian side Ufa despite being reduced to nine men.

The blue side of the Glasgow divide were thrashed 5-0 on their last visit to Celtic Park as the Scottish champions sealed a seventh straight title in May.

But Gerrard's arrival and 14 new signings have injected a fresh air of optimism at Ibrox over the past three months.

"People are always wanting to set the tone, to magnify how big this game is," said Gerrard on Friday. "We're going into this game in a good place."

Gerrard will come face-to-face with his former manager at Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers, who has enjoyed huge success in two seasons at Celtic.

The Northern Irishman has won back-to-back domestic trebles and overseen nine wins and two draws in 11 previous meetings with Rangers, racking up an aggregate score of 30-6 in the process.

"It's a big game for me, of course it is. It's the first Old Firm, I'm really looking forward to it," Gerrard continued.

"I can't wait for it. This is where I wanted to be as a player, this is where I want to be as a manager.

"I want to compete against the best. I'm going against a top manager from a personal point of view and my team are going up against a good team. We're going into a stadium which is renowned for a top atmosphere."

But after completing the job in Russia with nine men following two red cards on Thursday, Gerrard believes his side showed a resolve not seen in many years at Rangers and can cross the city confident of a first victory at Celtic Park since 2010 on Sunday.

"We have players in the squad with experience playing in front of a big crowd but we are aware of the challenge of playing away from home.

"We feel like we are building something special here. These are the sort of games we want to be a part of."

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