It's flag day at Ibrox tomorrow. And let me tell you the memories of raising that champions sign in front of 50,000 fans are among the proudest of my career.

I just hope James Tavernier and every one of Steven Gerrard ’s heroes from last season soak in the moment.

And then do what I did – use it as a burning motivation to ensure they are right back there doing the same in a year’s time.

Every single time I watched that flag getting hoisted into the Govan sky as captain or otherwise was special.

It was the moment you realised how proud you had made all those people in the stadium and beyond.

If this group of players weren’t already driven to go the whole journey again in the next few months then when they see the atmosphere tomorrow before the Motherwell game they will be left in no doubt.

Then it’s down to business.

I hear criticism that Rangers aren’t a patch on last season, that they’re not hitting the dizzy heights.

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But that will come. It’s only five games into the season.

And what I saw against Celtic and St Johnstone, where they had to find a way to win three points after falling behind, told me this team isn’t just back top of the league – it’s close to getting back to top gear.

You can’t judge them on Thursday’s defeat to Lyon.

I had watched the Ligue 1 side beat Strasbourg 3-1 on Sunday night – they are a top team. They’re top seeds in the group for a reason.

Rangers progressing from the group won’t be defined by that opener on Thursday, it will be the four games against Sparta Prague and Brondby which will decide if they finish in second spot.

And I honestly believe they will do.

Lyon had spent over £20million on players and there’s a gulf in that regard but on the park there wasn’t a great deal between the two.

It’s small margins. A wee mistake by Ryan Kent in the middle of the park where he got caught on the ball
and then a massive bit of quality from Ekambi to bend the ball round Allan McGregor.

Kent hasn’t hit the dizzy heights the criticism of him is well over the top.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 16: Rangers' Ryan Kent pulls up with an injury during a UEFA Europa League group stage match between Rangers and Lyon, on September 16, 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

As a player I’ve been through those spells. I can see signs of him getting back to his best like just before half time on Thursday - a great touch and shot and if it wasn’t for a brilliant save by the keeper then Rangers are level.

Yes he gets caught for the first goal. And maybe he should put his foot through the ball for the second.

But he actually does brilliantly in the lead-up to that second goal because he works his backside off to get back in and make the
challenge before trying a wee turn.

For me form is temporary, class is permanent and he will come through this.

Rangers are a better team with Ryan Kent in there and supporters shouldn’t be worried.

He isn’t hiding. He works and works for the team and keeps putting his head on the block and eventually that pays off with a bit of magic.

Whether thats’ an assist or a goal then that will fire him on to the next level again.

He’s trying to work his way out of a wee lapse in form. That’s why Gerrard keeps playing him.

If it was someone spitting the dummy then I would have a right pop at them but not Kent.

It’s just a shame he has picked up a hamstring injury that I can only hope doesn’t keep him out for much longer than the league game against Motherwell tomorrow.

But this is now where the others need to help out, to stick their necks out. It’s time for the new signings to step up and help out, to show their worth.

Most of them have been in the building for two or three months.

The bedding-in time has to end at some stage. It’s nearing that now and they need to go and show the reason why the club brought
them in.

The group that won the title has stayed together, which is brilliant, but you can’t stand still.

Fresh faces were brought in and these guys – be it John Lundstram, Fashion Sakala or Juninho Bacuna – need to step up to the plate.

I’ve seen it with my own eyes when new players come in even from so-called bigger leagues but they are taken
aback by the demands and intensity.

They have to get used to it quickly and some thrive while others fall by the wayside. But Rangers can’t afford to carry passengers.

“As I said, Motherwell will pose a big test at Ibrox tomorrow. They’ve won three league games on the spin and will be bursting with confidence.

But I full expect Rangers to take care of that and then it’s on to Wednesday and the visit of Livingston to Ibrox in the League Cup quarter-final.

The disappointment from losing out at this stage to St Mirren last season – and in the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup to St Johnstone – won’t have gone away.

The manager will have earmarked this tie and spoken to the squad about not just going further but going all the way.

That’s something from last season that needs put right. It starts on Wednesday.