STEVEN GERRARD was always going to have to learn on the job as he made the move into management.

His first season at Ibrox has ultimately been unsuccessful in terms of silverware, but it has been invaluable for the 38-year-old.

There were questions asked and doubts raised about how ready Gerrard was for a step into the dugout at this level after a stint coaching with the Liverpool Under-18s.

But many of them have been answered and allayed throughout a season that has given supporters hope for the future and Gerrard even more belief in himself and his side.

Gerrard hasn’t been able to bring silverware back to Rangers. He is wiser and better prepared for a second crack at the domestic honours, though, while he now has to match his achievements on the continent after taking the Light Blues into the Europa League group stages.

Gerrard said: “I’ve enjoyed it. What I’ve noticed, the surprise factor I suppose, from coming into this job is the contrast in games.

“Teams are all different in different ways, but then domestically to Europe is completely different.

“Especially in the first six months we’re going up against teams that have maybe got Champions League experience – your Celtics, your Maribors – who are very technical and get on the ball and play.

“And the ball is on the floor for the majority of the game.

“But then within three or four days you can go and play against a team when all they’re interested in is spoiling what you do and going long and direct and being physical.

“So it’s being able to adapt and having enough players and different players in your squad to cope with the different styles of football.

“I’ve learned tonnes, loads. There’s not enough time to explain it all.

“I know more about players individually and I know more about managers. I know their tactics and their styles more.

“I know the environments where we’re going to play and I know the weather conditions.

“I know more about my players and where I’ve maybe got it wrong. I know where I’ve maybe done something and I’ve got it more right than I thought I was going to get it right.

“So the last 12 months have been so valuable to me and I believe myself and the team will benefit from that experience that’s gone before moving and we have to.

“We have to learn from our mistakes and also keep trying to strive for good standards where we’ve got it right.”

Those exploits in Europe were the highlights of the first half of the season as Rangers made it through four qualifying rounds to clinch a Group G berth and set up meetings with Villarreal, Spartak Moscow and Rapid Vienna.

The European run would end prematurely, however. As would Rangers’ hopes of success in the Betfred Cup and the Scottish Cup.

In the Premiership, the Old Firm win over Celtic in December raised hopes of a title challenge, but those dreams were dashed too often as performances fluctuated and crucial points were squandered.

Gerrard told RangersTV: “In the league, everyone will have an opinion. Have we closed the gap and have we improved? When I analyse it I see massive progress. I think you can see it in the numbers side of it - more points, more goals, less conceded etc.

“The reality is we have progressed and we have got better, but it hasn’t been enough.

“So we need to try and finish the season as strong as we can, get as many points as we can and set the standards up to follow into next year.

“Sitting coming into the job, did I think we could win it in the first year?

“I was hopeful, I thought we were in with a shout and we wanted to push a bit harder than we have.

“The first six months we were in a good position. We had a couple of damaging results and a bad month in March that have affected a real title chase. But I’ve seen enough that we can put a better challenge in.”