STEVEN Gerrard thanked his team for making him September’s Ladbrokes Premiership Manager of the Month and then asked them to make sure October finished as successfully.

Rangers sit top of the table going into the weekend’s round of fixtures but that could have changed by kick-off on Sunday against Hearts.

Gerrard has asked his players to enjoy the pressure of keeping their spot at the top and embrace the challenge as they head to Tynecastle looking for another three points.

The Gers have scored 17 goals in their last four games, picking up maximum points since Old Firm defeat in early September, before the international break stopped their run.

Speaking to the media Gerrard smiled: “I think it (MOTM) is a collective effort, we as a staff can’t receive these awards unless the players are doing the job on the pitch and the players have been fantastic for the majority of this season.

“The important thing is that we keep pushing hard and try and achieve things collectively because that is the main part of our job.

“It’s always nice to sit top, it is a reward for the players for how well they have played, how consistent they have been and how well they recovered from the Old Firm defeat.

“We certainly deserve to be there but we are under no illusions how tough it is going to be to stay there.

“That has to be the motivation, to try and stay there as long as we can and keep performing at the level we have been.

“We have to embrace the pressure, embrace being top, enjoy it and work as hard as we can to stay there – that’s the challenge.

“Tynecastle is a really intimidating place to go; the fans really get behind their team and are close to the pitch.

“I believe Hearts are in a false league position, if you look at the personnel they have in the squad and if you roll the clock back 12 months they were sitting top of the league, eight points ahead of us.

“They certainly have the talent and the players and management staff to move up the league. At times they maybe haven’t got the results their performances deserve.

“It will be a really tough test for us, we have to go there and try and find the level of performance that we have done on previous occasions, when we have got the win.”

While the international break halted Rangers impressive form it allowed Gerrard to welcome some of his squad back from the treatment room and onto the grass.

Ryan Kent (hamstring) and Jon Flanagan (hernia) could return this weekend, after lay-offs, while Ryan Jack is working on his fitness after limping off against Young Boys in Switzerland earlier this month.

Gerrard continued:

“You can look at it (the international break) both ways, for us to get Ryan Kent and Jon Flanagan back in the group and Ryan Jack as close as we can then I think the break has been a real positive from that point of view.

“But when you’re in a good moment and in good form then you just want to try and make that snowball. So from that point of view the break came at bad time.

“It’s important we try and carry on where we left off and try and continue to keep this consistency going because we are certainly in good form.

“Ryan Jack won’t be available at the weekend. Jon and Ryan Kent are available for selection but they have probably only trained four or five sessions, so we will have to make a decision on them closer to the game.”

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