IF you compare Rangers this season to last season, you would be mad to think that it is not night and day and mad not to see the improvements that have been made under Steven Gerrard.

Look at the team, both in terms of the quality of the players and the character of the side, and the standards that Steven and his staff set on and off the park.

Everyone will focus on the results and there is no doubt that not winning the league, which looks likely now unfortunately, and losing to Aberdeen in the semi-finals and quarter-finals of the cup competitions isn’t good enough for Rangers.

But results don’t just happen overnight. This is a transitional time for the club and to give any manager just two transfer windows isn’t enough time.

In my opinion, you should be judging a manager after four or five windows because that is then his team with his own identity. I know football doesn’t always work like that, though.

Steven brought a lot of players in and people will think that it is his team bedded in, but it takes a lot of time for a team to play how you really want them to play and for them to settle into the club, especially when they are at a club like Rangers.

It was always going to take time but when you compare last season and this season, it is clear as day the difference that Steven Gerrard has made and that is why he has got to be given a bit of support from the people round about him now.

He has Gary McAllister with him there and he has great experience as a player and in management. He is probably the one that will be in Steven’s ear the most and he is a very grounded guy, and a very honest guy.

Steven will know himself if he has made mistakes and I know how much you analyse yourself when you are in your first job and how quickly you learn.

You make mistakes signing players, tactically, emotionally or in the Press. I have been there and made all the mistakes, but you have to learn from them and get stronger from them.

Rangers want instant success but they have got a manager that is learning his trade basically, and doing so at one of the biggest clubs in the world. It is a catch-22.

It doesn’t look like Rangers will win the league this season and then we are into the nine-in-a-row year for Celtic, so that becomes a one-year project and it is non-negotiable that Rangers win the Premiership next term.

The fans were obviously frustrated on Tuesday night and that will last for some time and that is another side of life at Rangers that the new signings have to contend with now.

They have had the adulation from the European run and the Old Firm game and they have been flying high at times this season. But they are back down to earth with a bump now and they have gone out of both cups to the same team.

It is up to the players to go out and give the manager a bit back because I feel for Steven right now. I know what a winner he is, I have been in his company and spoken to him.

He will be gutted right now, Tuesday night will have been one of the lowest points of his career and he will have really felt it.

So the players have to give him something back, and they certainly have to give the supporters something back as well.

If I am in the captain or if I am in the dressing room, I am having a meeting with the boys and saying we have got nine games left where we need to give everything we have got for the manager and for the fans that have backed them home and away all season.

They can’t afford to let the campaign just fizzle out into nothing and it is time now for the leaders – and I know Allan McGregor will be doing it – to step up and give the gaffer and the fans something back.

There are players in that dressing room that understand the demands of Rangers and the management staff certainly do because they have been at a big club for so many years.

They don’t need anyone to tell them that not lifting silverware isn’t good enough, and they know how important it is to progress to the point where Rangers are winning again.