THE five-a-sides and training matches give Steven Gerrard a chance to show his players that he hasn’t lost any of his magic. But it was at Tynecastle on Sunday where the 38-year-old wished he could really join in.

As he stood on the touchline in his suit and Rangers tie, Gerrard would have loved nothing more than to pull on his boots and get stuck in amid a cacophony of noise and with the three points on the line.

That dream will never become a reality again for Gerrard. At Ibrox, he has found the next best thing, though.

The Liverpool legend may not have been on the park, but he kicked every ball as his side beat Hearts to move top of the Premiership for the first time under his guidance.

“I don’t think I could influence it,” he said. “I don’t think ‘I could influence this game’.

“But on Sunday when that roar came just before kick-off I thought ‘I would love to be playing in this’.

“What a setup Tynecastle is, what a stadium. Fans on your shoulders, banter is flying from both sets of fans.

“All my staff are trying to referee the game, all Craig’s staff are trying to referee the game.

“And then you have got 22 players out on the pitch and they are the lucky ones because when someone takes that away from you, it is tough. Well, it was for me.”

His body may no longer do what his brain knows it was once capable of but that doesn’t stop Gerrard rolling back the years when the chance arises.

His task day to day is to improve the players under his guidance and lead from the sidelines rather than the middle of the park.

The temptation is always there, though, and the opportunity to get involved is too great to pass up. He joked that his players couldn’t get near him but there is probably more than a bit of truth behind the one-liner.

“No, my time is well gone,” Gerrard said. “I had a fantastic career, full of ups and downs and that is what it is all about - I loved it.

“Now I have to look after these and try to help these to get as much success as possible.

“Five-a-sides is well enough. Those big spaces are well gone, short spaces.

“I shouldn't say this, but if there are any knocks or any one is out for any reason, my hand is up, I am in. I am not going to miss it.”

Gerrard may not have been at the heart of the action at Tynecastle but he still got caught up in the emotion and excitement of a hugely significant Premiership clash.

The midfielder spent his playing career competing for, and winning, silverware and the chance to do so as a manager inspires him just like the good old days.

“It is very similar, very similar,” Gerrard said. “I am absolutely loving this.

“When I came out from being a player, there was a huge void in my life and I think this is as close as you can get to being in the mix and feeling the emotions that I missed.

“I am loving it, I am loving the challenge and really delighted to be the manager of this club.

“It is a wonderful club and I just hope that come the business end we are still in this position where there is a lot of attention and focus on us.

“Hopefully we reward ourselves for all the hard work that we have put in so far and the hard work we will put in between now and the end of the season.”

If that effort pays off, it will deliver the one thing that eluded Gerrard during his illustrious playing career as he looks to land the league title this term.

The Englishman spurned numerous offers to take his first steps into management before signing a four-year deal with Rangers in the summer.

The big game player is back in a pressure environment. The winner has another chance to taste success.

“I don’t see myself being a manager of numerous clubs throughout my career,” Gerrard said. “I think it has to be a certain draw, has to give me a certain feeling.

“I turned down quite a few jobs before I got this opportunity. I said on day one, I think a lot of you were in that room, when I came up that it felt different. That is the reason I am enjoying it so much.

“It is the only thing I know, the only environment I know. That is what I love.”

When kick-off arrives tonight and Ibrox is rocking ahead of the meeting with Aberdeen, Gerrard will no doubt have those same feelings of wishing he was out there on the park.

It will be the first time that his side will take to the field as league leaders and with all of their Premiership rivals behind them. The pressure is on, and is even more intense now.

“The right way to say is that it’s hard to get there and even harder to stay there,” Gerrard said.

“I love the quote because certainly my experience as a player over many, many seasons I experienced that. I totally appreciate the quote.

“Everyone wants to beat Rangers. Beating Rangers is a big achievement. There are other fantastic teams in the league who are not going to be happy seeing us there, so we are there to be shot at.

“But we have to handle the pressure and the responsibility and try and enjoy it rather than be concerned about it, but of course we are going to have to try extremely hard to remain there.”

After a seven year wait, supporters have lapped up the sight of their side sitting top of the table once again in the aftermath of their weekend win.

Gerrard has played down the significance of it, though, and stressed to his players that nothing has been achieved just yet.

The title is the ultimate ambition but now is not the time to judge whether Rangers are serious contenders for the crown or not.

"I think if we cope well from now until the end of the month I think it's one we can assess then,” Gerrard said. “But for me it's important not to get too far ahead and think about where we are going to be at the end of December.

“We have Aberdeen and that's the main focus for myself and the players. But when we assess it at the end of the month and think we have coped well at the end of the month then I think we would take huge belief and confidence from that. But we have to go and do that first and foremost."