Back in the summer of 1997 Rangers put on a show of strength as they fielded two teams at Ibrox against each other.

The Nike Family Day was an opportunity for supporters to catch a glimpse of a raft of new glamour signings, many from Serie A as the Light Blues geared up for their 10-in-a-row bid.

The teams that lined up that day were;

Blues: Goram, Porrini, Vidmar, Wright, Thern, Durrant, Albertz, Negri, Durie, Johansson, Laudrup.

Whites: Niemi, Cleland, Bjorklund, Amoruso, Stensaas, Gattuso, Ferguson, Gascoigne, Bo Andersen, McCoist, van Vossen.

Both sides were littered with talent and as the Blues ran out 6-1 victors, very few, if anyone, leaving the stadium could possibly imagine the season going pear-shaped.

Fast forward 24 years and Rangers possess a similar strength in depth that has fans brimming with excitement.

You sense this current vintage won’t end up with a similar fate, however.

An illustration on social media over the weekend highlighted just how impressive the squad Steven Gerrard has helped shape is.

To give you an idea, if a similar contest took place today the teams would look like this;

Blues: McGregor, Tavernier, Barisic, Goldson, Helander, Davis, Kamara, Lundstram, Hagi, Kent, Morelos.

Whites: McLaughlin, Patterson, Bassey, Katic, Balogun, Arfield, Aribo, Wright, Roofe, Sakala, Itten.

And that’s not to mention Jack, Simpson, Kelly, Defoe, Ofoborh, Barker, Jones and Middleton.

It truly is a feast of talent and given Rangers will be aiming to compete on four fronts this season, it’s a squad that will need to be used to its fullest.

The Light Blues boss said as much during his pre-match press conference ahead of tonight’s Champions League qualifier with Malmo.

“We are used to this sort of schedule, it is the reason why I have built a strong squad as is impossible to ask the same 11 players to go every match," Gerrard said.

“We have a few suspensions and injuries for this match but we have more than enough to put a good team out."

In his first two seasons at the helm, it was often noted he possessed a decent starting XI but encountered difficulties when injuries and suspensions mounted and the players trusted to step in weren’t of the quality required to stage a title bid.

That changed last season and going into the 2021/22 campaign, the additions of John Lundstram and Fashion Sakala have further enhanced this already strong pool of players.

Understandably, it’s expected one or two may depart before the transfer window closes but even still, if there are no further additions, you’d fully expect this group of players to romp towards 56 as well as adding at least one cup to the trophy cabinet.

It’s also a squad that will give Gerrard the belief he can guide the Ibrox club to the Champions League group stages for the first time in 11 years.

As he mentioned in his press conference, he goes into the Malmo contest with some suspensions and injuries to contend with, notably Glen Kamara and Kemar Roofe.

However, you look at the options he can call upon to step up and it gives you a sense of the level this Rangers side are operating at.

You’d imagine John Lundstram would slot into Kamara’s position with Cedric Itten, Fashion Sakala or the returning Alfredo Morelos leading the lineup front.

That’s not to mention the selection decisions Gerrard has to make elsewhere on the pitch, the front three could be any of Itten, Sakala, Wright, Hagi, Aribo and Kent.

Such a big and talented squad brings its own problems - the challenge will be to keep all players happy and feeling involved.

READ MORE: Rangers' Ross Wilson is adding firm foundations to a position of strength

It was interesting to watch Allan McGregor’s press conference yesterday morning where he discussed being left out of the team that beat Livingston on Saturday.

“We had a conversation about Saturday," he said.

When asked if he may not play as much as he did last season, he replied: “I don’t know, I’m pretty sure that wasn’t discussed so, it was mainly about Saturday really and then just take it from there as the season goes on.”

As we know, Jon McLaughlin stepped in at times last season to play his part but it still raised an eyebrow or two to see him between the sticks at the weekend.

Of course, McGregor isn’t getting any younger and, understandably, the management team would have one eye on the Malmo tie when making that call but it’s one of several decisions that will lie at Steven Gerrard’s door throughout the campaign.

But it’s quandaries that every manager in the game would love to have. Throughout his time at Ibrox, Gerrard has cultivated this group of footballers into one that looks very much equipped to compete on all fronts and take on the very best in European football.

Unlike their 1997 counterparts, this Rangers squad won't end up with eggs on their faces.