THE lines between success and failure, hero and villain, are thin at the Old Firm and small margins can have a big impact on and off the park.

At the majority of clubs up, down and across the country, targets and achievements can shift from season to season.

Not inside Ibrox and Parkhead, though. At Rangers and Celtic, there is only one goal and that is to win.

Come the end of his first campaign as Light Blues boss, Steven Gerrard will be judged as every one of his predecessors was and will be compared to the man on the other side of Glasgow, in his case Brendan Rodgers.

Only time will tell if the Liverpool legend will realise his ambitions of Premiership title glory or place a Betfred Cup or Scottish Cup in the Trophy Room this term.

It will be another couple of months before we will discover whether those goals are realistic ones or not but Gerrard has already accomplished something this season, even at this very early stage. Just months into the job, he has given the Light Blue legions a belief and a pride in their team once again.

Over recent seasons, supporters have gone into the new term more in hope than expectation. They dreamt of success but were preparing themselves to be let down.

They let their hearts rule their heads when it came to setting targets for sides that weren’t up to the task and that didn’t deserve the backing they received every week.

Now, they are daring to dream once again but the hurt and embarrassment of recent years should ensure that they don’t get carried away and don’t get ahead of themselves.

There is no chance of Gerrard and his players doing just that despite an impressive start to the campaign that has seen them go nine matches unbeaten in the Europa League and lose just once in the Premiership.

From four points behind after that defeat to Celtic at the start of the month, Rangers are now ahead of Rodgers’ side after their slip-ups against St Mirren and Kilmarnock.

It remains unlikely that the Gers will have enough about them between now and May to go on and win the title but the fact that a challenge is being spoken about, on both sides of the supporters’ divide, says much about the job that Gerrard has done so far.

For the first time in his hugely successful Parkhead reign, there is pressure from elsewhere on Rodgers. The internal demands have always been high, but now those on the outside are questioning and criticising the Northern Irishman and his players.

Every stumble from Celtic makes the spotlight shine brighter and gives Rangers a boost but Gerrard’s side still have it all to do, and plenty to prove, before they can be considered as potential champions.

Six games into the season is not the time to write Rangers in or out of the title race and Celtic remain the benchmark despite a patchy run of form and the public fall-out from a shambolic transfer window.

When Rodgers admits that fans should be alarmed by Celtic’s start to the season, the Parkhead crowd are right to be concerned. Only they know how worried they are about Rangers, though.

The Light Blues haven’t done enough just yet to really make Rodgers and his players look over their shoulder with real fear but the fixtures up until the next Old Firm clash give them an opportunity to lay down a marker of their intentions this term.

There will be no public proclamations from the blue corner about what they hope to, or think they can, achieve this season but silverware must be in their sights.

Gerrard has ticked the first box by giving the Ibrox crowd a reason to be optimistic about what could lie ahead.

Now Rangers must maintain their momentum and capitalise on the chance to mark off another by starting to make Celtic think ‘what if?’ for the first time in a very long time.