Rangers midfielder Ryan Jack is looking forward to a bright future at the club, despite missing out on a chance to make history in the 2018-19 season.
Steven Gerrard’s side fell short in his first season in the Scottish Premiership, eventually finishing nine points behind champions Celtic.
A final-day defeat at Kilmarnock took some of the gloss off their campaign but a convincing Old Firm victory in their last home game helped foster a sense of optimism ahead of what is expected to be a busy summer at Ibrox.
“We’re disappointed obviously to end the season with defeat and it was a chance missed to make history because there was a lot of talk about no team having won all their post-split fixtures,” Jack told the Herald.
“But at the same time it’s hard to have too many complaints because we’ve been on a good run and it just wasn’t to be on the day for us.
“The outlook is certainly much more positive than 12 months ago. A new staff came in at the start of the season and there were a lot of changes with players coming in and others going out.
“It’s been a good season but disappointing that there’s no trophy to show for it because that demand is there from the supporters, staff and everyone at the club to win silverware and as players we haven’t managed to deliver it.
“That is disappointing but I believe we have come a long way and I’m convinced we can challenge for trophies next season because we’re 12 months on and as a staff and group of players we have worked together and know each other better.”
A close-fought title race and runs to the latter stages of both domestic cups built some optimism at Ibrox, but Jack and Gerrard were left empty handed.
Some damaging defeats along the way hurt momentum and helped extend Celtic’s hegemony at the top of the Scottish game – but Jack says the squad are now fully aware of the standard necessary to go all the way next season.
“Part of it is down to mentality,” he said. “I’ve played in the league a long time so I know what it’s like going to Rugby Park, Easter Road and Tynecastle and they are tough grounds to go to.
“You can’t just turn up and think because you’re Rangers you’re going to win the game.
“You have to be fully focused and if you aren’t fully focused or switched on then results like Sunday’s defeat will happen. But the group of players and the run we’ve been on gives me optimism for next season.
“We’ve shown what we are capable of and the staff we’ve got behind us gives me real hope.”