IF it was premature to rain criticism on top of Rangers following a sluggish start to the season then it is surely also too early to say they have turned the corner following two home wins in succession over part-time opposition.
Still, there is little doubt that the mood around Ibrox has lifted somewhat following the thumping victories over Clyde in the Petrofac Training Cup last Monday and then Dumbarton in the SPFL Championship on Saturday. Should Rangers secure safe passage through to the second round of the League Cup by defeating another part-time side in Queen's Park tomorrow night then even the staunchest critics of Ally McCoist and his players might start to wonder if things might actually turn out okay this season.
Naturally it will take a much wider sample size before anyone can say with any certainty that this bloated and yet still-to-be-expanded Rangers squad is capable of winning the league and also reaching cup finals but against Dumbarton there was a sense of purpose and cohesion that had been noticeably absent in previous league games against Hearts and Falkirk.
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Rangers scored four times through Lee McCulloch, Darren McGregor, Nicky Clark and an own goal from Chris Turner, and could have registered even more, with shots pranging against a post or being stopped by the Dumbarton goalkeeper, Danny Rogers. The only downside on an otherwise good day was their failure once again to keep a clean sheet, the unfortunate Bilel Mohsni heading into his own net late in the game.
"It's good to come into the dressing room at the end of the game smiling and able to look back on some good play," said Lee Wallace, the Rangers defender. "Hopefully that continues. "It's a bit annoying that it's taken a few games for that to happen, maybe it's just the way things have fallen into place. The games are coming around quickly now but it's good that we're all feeling confident, feeling a bit better after the slow start.
"In the first two games I don't know why we've not played like that. That was disappointing as those were games we would have liked to have shown everyone that that's what we're about, playing at a high tempo, stopping other teams playing, and making Ibrox a hard place to come. I believe we will do all that once we go on a good run."
With Rangers, of course, what happens on the field is only ever half the story. A disappointing crowd of just 31,175 will do little to ease the club's financial worries, especially with no sign so far of the proposed equity issue which those in charge hope will raise in the region of £4m.
An alternative method of bringing in money at short notice would be to sell one of the more marketable players of which Wallace - a target for Nottingham Forest last season and Brighton and Hove Albion more recently - would certainly be one. The full-back, though, has little desire to move on. One of a handful of players to have been with the club since the pre-administration days, the 27-year-old instead has designs on taking Rangers into the top division.
"I'm happy here and that's probably going to be the case for a long time," added the full-back. "I've always stated that there's a part of me wants to be a part of history at the club and we're not too far away from where we should be playing our football. We did talk before about [a transfer fee helping the club] with the Nottingham Forest scenario but it's something that's way above my head.
"If and when that comes around we'll have to look at it. But as it stands I see my future here for a very long time playing my part in what's going to be a great period for the club."
Wallace does not expect to be selected when Gordon Strachan names his Scotland squad this morning for the forthcoming European Championship qualifier against Germany, with Hull City's Andy Robertson likely to remain first pick at left-back.
"I'm still probably a bit behind. There are guys who are way ahead of me at this stage, guys who play their football down south in strong successful sides," Wallace added. "When I stayed with Rangers after what happened I knew that would be a stumbling block [for call-ups] and Craig had at the time that it would be difficult to select someone in the bottom tier of Scottish football. It was a sacrifice I made."