Rangers assistant manager Gary McAllister has been integral to the transformation in the team’s fortunes and the impressive start to Steven Gerrard’s managerial career.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, ex-Aberdeen and Leeds United striker Noel Whelan explained why his former teammate is such a key man at Ibrox.

Rangers announced last week that Gerrard had been joined by McAllister and the rest of his backroom staff in committing to new deals that run until 2014.

Former Premier League and Scotland star McAllister, 54, moved to Ibrox at the same time as Gerrard after previous coaching roles at Liverpool, Aston Villa and Middlesbrough as well as managerial spells at Leeds and Coventry.

“Gary McAllister will be a huge help to Steven Gerrard, no doubt about that,” Whelan told Football Insider. “I played with him at Leeds and Coventry and he has so much to offer in terms of experience and knowledge.

“He has had manager jobs himself as well and knows how top players tick. He will be a link between the dressing room and Gerrard, who might be a bit more distant.

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“Huge credit must go to Gary McAllister for how well Gerrard has settled into management. It’s all about partnerships and trust in coaching backroom staffs.

“It’s noticeable how they’ve all got new deals at the same time. That says a lot.”

Gerrard has yet to win his first trophy as a manager but has overseen a dramatic improvement since taking over at Ibrox.

Rangers have reached the Europa League knockstage stage for the first time in nine years, were a Fraser Forster masterclass away from winning the Scottish League Cup final and are just two points adrift of Celtic in what is shaping up to be a thrilling title race.

In other Rangers news, it can be REVEALED that the club have opened preliminary talks on signing Premier League player in January.