IF there is one statistic which sums up the unpredictability and weirdness of the Scottish Premiership season it is that should Hearts win at Ibrox today they will go 11 points ahead of Rangers.

Even those who felt unconvinced by Steven Gerrard’s appointment would not have felt this was a likelihood ahead of the second international break in early October.

And that as things stand before today’s fixtures, Livingston sit above both Glasgow teams, as do Hibernian and of course leaders Hearts, all of which is good for the neutrals who would like to see a tighter top six rather than Celtic running away from it.

Today is massive for Rangers and their manager.

Win and it will say a lot, all of it good, about a group who gave their all in Thursday’s win over Rapid Vienna. Lose and before the first quarter of the season has been completed, and every team faced, Rangers would not be far away from being in a position in which winning the title was beyond them.

Not many sides come back to win the league from an 11-point gap even with more than three quarters of league matches to go.

And while winning the league was obviously on Gerrard’s radar, he is intelligent enough to know that was always asking a lot. But his team can't be seen to be also-rans before the second Old Firm game.

“You could say that,” said the Rangers manager when asked if today's is a must-win game. “I’m not going to play the importance of it down. It is a huge three points for Rangers.

“Does the world end if we lose it? No it doesn’t because of the timing of the season but it would be a big blow to us. It has the reverse effect if you win it.

It sends out a statement, brings them closer in. I’m sure other people around us would welcome us bringing Hearts in as they don’t want the gap to get any bigger. It is a fascinating game and we will be ready come kick-off. We are at home and we will be hoping to get close to Thursday night’s performance.

“It’s another challenge, a different challenge. The players won’t do much until kick-off on Sunday. They recovered on Friday and it’s mostly about food, diet and trying to get energy back into the legs for Sunday.

“We will do a very light session on Saturday, it won’t be at all high volume, and this is what being at Rangers is all about. Big games coming thick and fast. This is a game you shouldn’t have to motivate the players for, it is staring us in the face that Hearts have a big gap on us and we need to claw them back closer towards us.

If we can do that then I think we’ll be in a nice position on all fronts.”

It is an exciting league, and what the Scottish game needs after the effortless dominance of one side, but the fact Hearts, Hibs and perhaps Aberdeen once they get going, have at least a chance of going for the league flag, is not welcomed by everybody.

“No," said Gerrard when asked if he thought it a good thing. "It might be good for the neutrals but I’m not a neutral anymore/

“Hearts have done fantastically well and Craig [Levein] is a good manager. It is great to see him back after missing a few games. He has done ever so well and they have been very consistent.”

Gerrard, a world-class midfielder and knows what is good and bad football. He likes what he has seen in Scotland.

“The styles are a big contrast and that has surprised me a little bit, in terms of how different teams are from week to week,” he said. “You can play a team that wants to pass, pass, pass, and then you play a team that has no interest in passing, and they want to play in a completely different style.

“It’s just having your team ready for that different test from game to game, and in Europe as well. On Thursday we met a team that just wants to play, they wanted to build through the lines.

“The game before was a lot more direct. I’m not criticising that because it was effective and it beat Rangers, they’re really good at what they do. But the difference in preparation and game plan is completely different.

“I’ve been impressed by the level. I always liked Scottish football before I came in and I’d watched a lot of games. I travelled up here on numerous occasions to watch games. I’m happy with the standard.”

The standard would certainly be improved if Rangers winger Ryan Kent was to replicate at least some of the form of the one player he always looked up to.

“Ronaldinho was my idol,” said the man on loan from Liverpool. “He always played with a smile on his face and I try to image my game off his playing style.

“The fans seem to really enjoy players getting forward. That suits my identity as a footballer. I really enjoy picking the ball up, dribbling at defenders and getting past them. When the fans are right behind me, it gives me confidence to do that.”

Rangers could do with a bit of Ronnie-style magic this afternoon.