Steven Gerrard already knows the size of the task that awaits him at Rangers.
Catching Celtic could take a considerable length of time given the current status of each club and the difference in budget and wages.
But Gerrard wants to improve the areas he can control and he’s identified the fitness of his players as a priority.
The Rangers boss recently admitted that there’s a noticeable gap between the fitness levels of his players and those at Celtic Park.
“The fitness is the thing that struck me most when watching them last season,” Gerrard said.
“You look at the group and areas where you can improve it and fitness is definitely one of them.
“I watched Rangers with my own eyes close up in the game against Celtic and it was glaringly obvious to me that Celtic were fitter and stronger on that occasion.
Scott Brown's warning
“If you want to play at the top end and, fight for trophies, be in the running when the big prizes are given out, compete against the best the first thing you have to do as a footballer is be fit.”
Gerrard is spot on. His players are in for a gruelling pre-season.
Yet Celtic captain Scott Brown has issued a warning to Rangers - the Scottish champions want to get even fitter.
Brown, 32, says his teammates want to improve their physical condition after dropping “a lot of sloppy points” in the 2017-18 season.
Asked if he felt that Celtic were fitter than their rivals last season, Brown said, per the Evening Times: “We felt that in most games.
“We score a lot more goals in the last 15/20 minutes of games because we have a lot more of the ball and we create more chances.
“We work harder than every other team that we play against and that is down to what we do out there on the training pitch with the fitness coaches and the manager.
“But the lads want to get fitter than what they were last season. We dropped a lot of sloppy points, especially at home in front of the fans.”
Celtic have won seven Scottish Premiership titles in a row and have done the treble in back-to-back campaign, but the players are still as motivated as ever, according to Brown.
“We want more trophies,” he added.
“We want to be better, stronger break more records and go down in the history books and that comes down to hard work in the gym and on the training park.”
It’s not going to be easy for Gerrard and his crew.
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