Ally McCoist has no doubt Rangers are the underdogs
They ought to be firmly in command of every encounter, since their resources outstrip the rest of the league combined, but complications persist.
Even if a period of accommodation might have been expected, nobody expected it would be quite so galling. The tribulations are, nonetheless, still more prosaic than the upheaval of the summer.
The club, for a time, could not be certain that it would continue to exist. It is understandable then that Ally McCoist's response to the run of disappointing results is to seek perspective. He is entitled to emphasise that he is building a new team and that he cannot call upon the level of resources that the club has had to spend in recent years.
Even so, Rangers are not lining up against history, but clubs whose players are part-time, who train twice a week and some of whom work shifts on the Saturday mornings before games.
McCoist is managing a team in transition, but it remains a club that does not tolerate inferiority. Frustration has been stoked by all three away games in the league having been drawn, then Rangers losing at home to Queen of the South in the Ramsdens Cup last Tuesday night.
Queens are in the Second Division, but they are also in a period of development, under a new manager who included five of his seven new signings in the penalty shoot-out victory at Ibrox. There is scant consolation available. The irked mood of the Ibrox crowd is familiar to McCoist, since the Rangers fans once derided him when he first joined the club. That trauma might have been necessary, since it hardened an essentially laid-back character and prepared him for the unique demands of the support. His own players are now enduring a similar experience.
"I am very hopeful that the team we have just now is given the chance to get us out the division," McCoist said. "I've got tremendous respect and plans for this team in the coming years. The team will change, but we've signed some good younger boys and some good SPL players.
"I don't want to sound as though I'm turning on my own team, I'm the opposite, I'm 100% with the boys, [but] it is finding the balance, there has to be a realisation of where our team is at the moment.
"It is a learning curve for the majority of the players to find out what it is like to play for this club. The opposition can see us in a transitional period. We'd all probably agree this is the best time to play Rangers in their history. It is far easier playing against Rangers than playing for Rangers.
"Scottish football is filled to the brim with people that couldn't handle the responsibility of being a Rangers player. With the greatest respect to other clubs, you can get away with five wins, two draws and two defeats.
"But with Rangers it's [winning] every game and it takes a different type of person to be able to do that. We will all get stick ... get the rhino skin on and just get on with it."
Nerves would be calmed by a dominant performance against Montrose today. The Queens game apart, Rangers have tended to be more self-assured at home. Victory would be important in the context of the Third Division, but Rangers cannot escape their status.
Motherwell visit Ibrox on Wednesday night in the League Cup and even if Stuart McCall was attempting to apply some psychology in describing Rangers as the favourites, this was once a fixture that the Ibrox fans would have made assumptions about.
"I don't think there is any doubt we are underdogs," McCoist said. "We are playing arguably the best team in the country at the moment. They are sitting top of the SPL and we are where we are. I'm not saying we can't beat Motherwell, of course we can. I don't want to sound defeatist.
"We've got to be competitive against Motherwell. [But] I will do as much as I can to take the pressure off the players. The buck stops with me."
Contextual targeting label:
Hobbies and general interest