AS one of the biggest names in the game, Steven Gerrard has graced the finest surfaces and most famous arenas. Now, an altogether different environment and challenge awaits.

The surrounds of Central Park are far from salubrious, but the 90 minutes that will unfold this evening means the world to Gerrard as Rangers face Cowdenbeath.

The 38-year-old has heard all about the stock car track that circles the rutted surface, seen the pictures of the tyres piled up against the wire fence around the perimeter. And it doesn’t faze him one bit.

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After signing off the first half of the season with an Old Firm win in front of a packed Ibrox, Rangers now return to action against Cowdenbeath on a freezing Friday night in Fife.

“I’ve heard more about this stadium than I did when I was on my way to the Nou Camp,” Gerrard joked. “Listen, I’m looking forward to the experience. I’m a grassroots man, I grew up on muddy pitches.

“I’ve been changed in dressing rooms that were too small, on the grass outside and sometimes on the gravel in the car parks.

“All these things don’t matter, it’s a great fixture and we have respect for Cowdenbeath.

“The stadium isn’t going to change so we have to be professional and do our jobs.

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“We will have a fantastic support behind us, they are going there to see a strong Rangers team and that’s exactly what they’ll see. You’ll see from my selection just how much I want the job done.

“We need to forget who we’re playing, where we’re playing and go and produce a result and performance.”

That win over Celtic last month took Rangers level on points with their Old Firm rivals at the top of the Premiership and now they will face the side that are fifth in League Two.

Anything other than a comfortable win would be a major surprise but Gerrard will take nothing for granted against Gary Bollan’s part-timers.

“I hope they don’t play like the Blue Brazil that’s for sure,” Gerrard said. “Listen, it’s a fantastic fixture for Cowdenbeath. They will be wanting to write the headlines and get that giant-killing.

“From our point of view we have to show respect, remain professional and go and do what we do. Hopefully that will be enough to get us in the draw.

“It’s a fixture we just have to deal with and get the right result because I’m not sure it’s a fixture we can actually win.

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“If we win, we were meant to and if we don’t win but a huge margin we will have failed. That’s life.

“We totally respect Cowdenbeath and the facilities, it will be an experience taking my team there. All I am interested in is the result.”

Gerrard has seen and done it all in the game and is well aware of what can happen when Goliath doesn’t treat David with the respect due in cup competitions.

He was part of the Liverpool side that twice had to come from behind to beat Havant and Waterlooville in 2008. Two years earlier, the Reds legend watched on as Roy Keane’s Celtic debut ended in humiliation against Clyde.

“I do remember it,” Gerrard said. “If I remember right it was on TV and I think I watched part of that game.

“It’s not just this fixture coming up. I think we’ve seen it many times where that giant killing happens and we all know how it happens.

“It’s when you go in with that complacency and no respect for the opposition and you think you just have to turn up and get the result. If my players go in like that, there’s another giant killing on the cards.”

That was certainly the case when Liverpool made the trip to Boundary Park while Brendan Rodgers was in charge of the Reds.

On that occasion, it was Oldham that found the magic of the cup as Paul Dickov’s side clinched a 3-2 victory to book their place in the fifth round. It may be a cliché, but results like that prove anything can happen in football.

“I think I came off the bench in that one,” Gerrard said. “It was one of the coldest football matches I ever played in.

“That was the classic case of us, Liverpool, turning up... the dressing rooms weren’t great, the pitch wasn’t great, one side of the stadium wasn’t there so it wasn’t as glamorous as Anfield and we got caught out.

“Cowdenbeath have got a chance in this fixture. Without a doubt.

“That’s the mentality you’ve got to go in with: Do you want to play at a packed Hampden on a carpet with the chance to win a piece of silverware?

“That’s the carrot for me and us. That’s the mentality the players should go in with.”

That is certainly the mindset that the two most recent additions to Gerrard’s squad will have as they prepare for their debuts this evening.

Jermain Defoe and Steven Davis completed moves to the Light Blues earlier this month and will feature at Central Park after being put through their paces at the Gers’ training camp in Tenerife.

Gerrard said: “They will both be involved at some stage and I’m delighted with the way in which they’ve both settled into the squad, they’ve done that even quicker than I thought.

“Obviously Davo has been here before, he knew a lot of the staff and we have half the Northern Ireland team here now so it’s been easier for him.

“The boys have helped Jermain a lot and he’s already found a place in Glasgow.

“He’s enjoying himself and they’ve raised the quality in training.

“Jermain is a humble guy, they both are. We knew the character of both players and these are the checks we need to do on players.

“It might have surprised some members of staff just how professional they have been, but it didn’t surprise me.”