ONCE upon a long time ago I had the good fortune to interview the late, great Sir Henry Cecil. I asked him about his recipe for success and what had made him champion British trainer on so many occasions. He was at that time in something of a slump in his career and there were numerous empty boxes in his famous yard.

He did not hesitate in his reply: “The horses. It’s all about the horses. Without the horses you can do nothing on the courses.”

We had been talking about Sir Alex Ferguson – and the champion colt Rock of Gibraltar – and Cecil (a Scot, don’t forget) added: “It’s like a football manager – you can do nothing without the players, and Sir Alex knows that better than anyone.”

In my subsequent article I am so glad that I wrote that form is temporary but class is permanent and predicted that Cecil would get back to the top, which he so gloriously did with the fabulous Frankel before his untimely demise in 2013.

For the same reason I am happy to predict that Steven Gerrard as a class act steeped in the game will one day be a great football manager, but unless something massive changes at Ibrox it will not be at Rangers next season.

All the best team bosses have had six things in common – work ethic, tactical nous, attention to detail, high-quality man management skills, supportive directors and above all the players to deliver on the pitch.

In my lifetime in Scotland only Scot Symon, Jock Stein, Eddie Turnbull, Sir Alex Ferguson, Jim McLean, Willie Waddell, Jock Wallace, John Greig, Billy McNeill, Graeme Souness, Walter Smith, Martin O’Neill, Alex McLeish, Gordon Strachan and Neil Lennon have had all those six qualities to a greater or lesser degree as proven by their success in winning multiple major domestic trophies. Only two of those men, John Greig and Neil Lennon, won a trophy in their first season as full-time club managers, indeed Greigy won two – Walter Smith could argue he did, too, but he had already managed the Scotland under-18 and under-21 sides as well as being assistant to Souness. Now we must wait to see if Gerrard can do the same, for he will be judged both by the standards of his predecessor Greig and by the results he achieves against Celtic.

The problem for Gerrard when he starts on June 1 is that he is taking over at a time when, by its own standards, Rangers is a club failing to hit the financial heights. Even more problematic is that on all the evidence, the current Rangers squad is just not good enough to do the two things Gerrard must do – beat Celtic and win trophies.

With the possible exception of Alfredo Morelos and Declan John, I don’t think there are any Rangers players that Brendan Rodgers would buy, and that would only be for cover behind the current incumbents at striker and left back. Gerrard, to be frank, needs to get shot of half his bloated squad.

You cannot dispute that chairman Dave King has done well to attract Gerrard to Ibrox at this juncture just as season tickets are being renewed. Gerrard is box office, and that should help financially.

Yet the club has lost millions over the past three years and has relied on loans from directors and finance from Close Brothers to stay afloat. Yesterday’s announcement by King of a share issue provoked groans among many Rangers fans, as they had been seeking new external investment, reckoning that the mysterious departure of directors Paul Murray and Barry Scott would allow new and presumably wealthy directors on to the board.

The supporters were reasoning correctly that their season ticket money and previous share purchases had entitled them to see a source of money that wasn’t theirs. After all, they had been promised plenty of backing. It’s not been forthcoming and I would say that is a big problem for both King and Gerrard, unless the latter is an alchemist who can turn the current roster of players into gold.

The chairman needs to answer more questions before he flies home to South Africa – how exactly will the promised £6 million for Gerrard’s rebuilding be raised? How do you do a share issue when you have the Takeover Panel breathing down your neck about buying the club’s shares yourself?

It’s a bold gamble for both Gerrard and King, but what they need to do is find new players, and Gerrard and Gary McAllister’s connections should help with that – expect a few loanees from Liverpool’s youth set-up soon.

Then King has to devise a way of paying for them that doesn’t put Rangers’ finances into a complete mess. Do all that and Rangers may just have a chance to halt the Celtic juggernaut.