ASK any chairman of a football club and they will likely tell you that managers are always trying to have their cake and eat it when it comes to the transfer market. Rangers manager Steven Gerrard would argue the case against though, believing the ‘cake’ he is putting together at Rangers is still very much a work in progress.

The Ibrox boss used the analogy to demonstrate that while he believes he has put a solid base in place at Rangers this season, his team are currently missing those special ingredients that that take you from slugging it out for second-place at the village fete, to displacing Celtic as champions of the Great British Bake-off that is the Scottish Premiership.

“Tactically, we believe we have moved on leaps and bounds but the reality is when you’ve built your cake you need a lovely icing on it and a bit of decoration on it that will hopefully one make a difference,” Gerrard said. “That’s the reality and the brutal truth of it.

“The question all the time is closing the gap to Celtic and I understand and respect that, but the reality is we’ve played Celtic twice, beat them once and lost to them once. We are 10 points off Celtic because we haven’t had the right answers against Hibs three times, Aberdeen a couple of times, St Johnstone at home, Dundee away, so in the final third we haven’t that sprinkle of icing or that magic to go and open the door, when it’s been 1-1 or when it’s been 1-0 to make it 2-0 and kill a game off.

“We know around Alfredo (Morelos) we need more volume, whether it’s from an eight, a seven, an 11. We are aware of that. If you analyse us, we have conceded an awful lot less than last year. We are still scoring heavily but we are reliant on Alfredo, so we know where we are.

“Have we progressed? Yes. Are we closer to Celtic head-to-head if you compare 12 months ago to now? You would probably say yes. Do we need to improve and get better in certain areas around Alfredo? One million per cent.

“Now, can we do that? Yes, but sometimes it’s hard to do it on a free contract or a loan because, for example, Ryan Kent might be going back [to Liverpool]. Somewhere along the line, you need to get the icing or the bits to decorate the cake, and you know, and I know, that costs money.”

The notion of Rangers spending more and more money chasing their city rivals may well make one or two of their supporters recoil a little given recent history, but Gerrard tempered his pleas for financial backing with a dose of realism.

“There’s a lot of people in the world, who are breathing now, who can score goals from midfield,” he said.

“There’s a lot of people that are available, that are capable. I am not expecting us to go and buy Paul Pogba or (Aaron) Ramsey, (Kevin) De Bruyne.

“We can go into a market where we can improve and get more and better options around Alfredo, assuming he stays, to be better against your Hibernians and St Johnstones and Dundees and hopefully that’s the next step.”

But is such a man not already on the Rangers books in the shape of Steven Davis? Certainly, that would have been the reasoning behind bringing the midfielder back to the club in January on loan from Southampton.

His second stint in light blue hasn’t quite gone according to that plan so far, but with three full games played in quick succession for club and country, there is a feeling he may be nearing his brilliant best yet again.

“I think he was looking more like himself in the last game he played,” Gerrard said.

“I watched the two international games and he played quite well. I think he is in a better place than he has been.

“If [the players] come back healthy, full of confidence and in a good place then that is a bonus.”

Despite the suggestion of Gerrards’s former Liverpool teammate Danny Murphy, the role of goalscoring midfielder will certainly not be filled by the Rangers boss himself, with a run-out at Anfield last week in a charity match confirming to him that his days as a professional player are long gone.

“I’m still feeling it a week down the line!” he said.

“It was a full house and I love playing in front of a full Anfield. To win and score was a nice feeling but I was in bits for two or three days. It was tough. Thank God it was 80 minutes and not 90.

“In my head I can still do it. I still see it but unfortunately your body sends you that message at a certain time where it won’t do it anymore. That happened a long time ago.”

So, even though Rangers’ season failed to rise to the heights that Gerrard had hoped, the cherry on top would certainly be a second consecutive win over Celtic today.

“The players have to see this as an opportunity,” he said. “To put their shoulders back and thrive on the challenge rather than fear it and come away with regrets. If we have people with that mentality, then we will struggle.”