Rangers 'deserve' to be top of Premiership, says manager of month Steven Gerrard
Steven Gerrard says his Rangers side "deserve" to be at the top of the table as he was named Scottish Premiership manager of the month.
Striker Alfredo Morelos has also been named top-flight player of the month after scoring three times in September.
A 5-0 win over Hamilton Academical in Rangers first league game of October took them two points clear of Celtic.
"We are under no illusions how tough it will be to stay there," Gerrard said before Sunday's game against Hearts.
"We have to embrace the pressure and aim to stay there, but it's always nice to sit top. We certainly deserve to be there."
Since losing 2-0 at home to Celtic on 1 September, Rangers went on to win five games in a row, including a Europa League victory over Feyenoord.
Although October started with a defeat away to Young Boys in their next European outing, Rangers responded with a comprehensive win over Accies that allowed them to leapfrog Celtic after they lost at Livingston.
Talking of his award, Gerrard said: "It is a collective effort. We as a staff can't collect these unless the players are doing the job on the pitch and the players have been fantastic for the majority of the season."
Morelos scored in all three of Rangers' league wins during September.
"Alfredo deserves it," Gerrard said. "I am always pleased to see my players get individual accolades. He has been in fine form, enjoying his football and looking deadly in the penalty area.
"It is always nice for them from a personal point of view, but the important thing or us all is that we keep pushing hard to try achieve things collectively because that is the main part of our job."
As Celtic host fifth-top Ross County, Rangers visit a side languishing in ninth place, but manager Gerrard said: "I think Hearts have the talent and the management staff to move up the league. Every time I watch them, you can't fault them on effort and commitment.
"It will be tough. Tynecastle is always a tough place to go with the fans right close to the pitch. It is not a place you can go and under-perform."
Rangers full-back Jon Flanagan is fit again after injury, but Scotland midfielder Ryan Jack is not quite ready for a return and Gerrard is waiting to assess international players who return to training on Friday.