STEVEN Gerrard admits there is no magic wand to transform Rangers into the dominant force in Scottish football again. The best he can hope for is a magic wad - of Dave King’s cash.

The Englishman had no problem with his chairman’s recent missive to season ticket holders that the club are within “tangible reach” of becoming top dogs in domestic Scottish football again. But he also laid bare in a recent phone conversation with the Ibrox supremo that investment will be required to find the summer squad improvements which could make that boast a reality. To illustrate the point, he used the fact that Celtic had fronted up a bigger transfer fee on one player, Odsonne Edouard, than he had on a raft of new signings this season combined.

“I think the word ‘tangible’ is up there for everyone to debate or have an opinion on,” said Gerrard. “But I obviously welcome the words the chairman has said in terms of him seeing a lot of progress being made. He obviously appreciates all the hard work that has gone into it and he can see what we’re trying to do.

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“He’s the chairman of the club and he’s entitled to his opinion and his say on things,” the Englishman added. “We’ve had a chat recently on the phone and it gave me the opportunity to be really open and honest and give a reflection on the season so far. I’m sure we’ll be catching up again soon.

“Does it put more pressure on me? I don’t think there CAN be any more pressure on the Rangers manager. I think we all know this is a very pressurised job - it always has been and it always will be. I don’t think just because the chairman has written a letter to the fans adds more pressure. And I embrace the pressure. I don’t see it as pressure, I see it as a challenge.

“What everyone would like to know is what level of backing there will be but I don’t think that’s for the public domain. It’s quite clear we have tried to build a squad of players which is capable of competing. This squad have showed that they are hungry. They are willing to accept the challenge. They have gone above and beyond to try to make that happen but the reality is that they need some help and some support. The staff and I as a manager need more backing in the summer.

“We haven’t got magic wands to all of a sudden change Rangers into a dominant force overnight. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that we do need a level of backing to add some quality to what we’ve already got. The board are aware of that.

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“People talk about big changes in the summer but we didn’t spend tons and tons. The reality is Celtic bought one player who was more expensive than all the changes we made.

“We’re not in the same markets as Premier League clubs but there is still quality in other leagues that is affordable and reachable. Mark [Allen, the club’s director of football] and I are working as hard as we can with the recruitment team to identify those bits of quality we need to help us go to the next level.”

Rangers, of course, still have this season to see out first, knowing a win at Tynecastle would be enough to complete a clean sweep against Craig Levein’s side and push any prospective Parkhead title party back another week. But this is a point in the season where canny clubs are already tying up players for next season and Rangers have as much incentive as any to get their business done early.

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With Jordan Jones is already lined up from rivals Kilmarnock, Gerrard said little about potential Scottish-based transfer targets Jake Hastie of Motherwell and John Souttar of Hearts, other than to say the Tynecastle centre half was a player he admired. “He’s a player I admire but there are tons I admire in this league and any other league,” said Gerrard. “In terms of the speculation in the papers then it hasn’t come from myself or anyone in Rangers. We’re at that time of year – the silly season – where you pick up a paper and we’re linked with three different names in each one. That doesn’t come from me and I’ll never speak about someone else’s player and certainly not on the eve of battle. It seems as if it’s people from Hearts who are talking about the speculation. No-one at Rangers.”

One way to square the circle, of course, is through judicious use of the loan market. To that end he spoke to his former club Liverpool this week to state their determination to retain the services Ryan Kent for next season one way or another, not to mention express an interest in a number of the other young players they have on their payroll. “The chat I had with Liverpool will remain private but the reality is that the clubs at the top of the Premier League have a lot of young, hungry players who want to play football,” he said. “We believe we are a good place where they would want to play. That has been proved but in terms of names and people you have to be respectful, although everyone knows Ryan Kent would have been on the agenda.”

“We’ve gone to Tynecastle before and done it and beaten Hearts twice at home. So can we go there again and take 12 from 12? That’s a good challenge. But it will be tough. They are on the back of reaching a cup final and I am sure confidence is high.”