With Dave King revealing that he has not been able to reach a consensus amongst shareholders to rebuild the Ibrox board, and a statement from the group of shareholders backed by Jim McColl questioning the "outside influences who are 'pulling the strings'", off-field issues remained the most prominent.
Even so, the victory was of worth to Rangers, since it built on the established themes of their season. They were dogged, capable of perseverance, and their better players continue to provide progress for the team. Nicky Law provided the slickest touches, Lee McCulloch was authoritative and Jon Daly was a threat, scoring twice and spurning two further opportunities to add another hat trick to his goal tally this season. "I knew the big fella would score goals," said manager Ally McCoist. "But there's still more to come from him. He's important on and off the park for us. He is a good one for the younger players to look up to."
Ibrox was muted, but then the home supporters might have felt worn down by the ongoing boardroom saga. The majority of fans were fully behind King's attempts to broker an agreement that would have had new directors appointed. Instead, it remains a two-man board, with no chief executive, and the likelihood that next month's annual meeting of shareholders will be fractious.
A William Hill Scottish Cup third round tie against Airdrie ought to have been a welcome distraction, but Ibrox was a little short of half-full, and there was no mood to rise to the occasion. At least not until half-time and full-time, when a group of supporters stood just behind the directors box and held up banners which read: "No More Faceless Investors".
The opening period had been a test of patience. The home fans were united in applauding their support in the second minute for Fernando Ricksen, the former Rangers captain who announced during the week that he is suffering from Motor Neurone Disease. Otherwise, there was little to stir the fans. Rangers were able to breach the Airdrie defence, often taking advantage of their overlapping full-backs, but clear-cut chances were sporadic.
Width was always Rangers' best outlet and twice Law delivered dangerous crosses from the right, but Daly headed the first one wide from close range, while Nicky Clark headed the second off target. The home side came closest when Lee McCulloch met Arnold Peralta's free-kick with a firm header, but the ball flew into the side netting. "Gary [Bollan, the Airdrie manager] had them set up very well, breaking things up," said McCoist. "We knew more urgency would bring rewards, and that's what happened in the second half."
Rangers had to be relentless, at least in their application. Anxiety would have undermined their efforts, but an early breakthrough after the interval allowed the home side to grow into some assurance. Airdrie could not claim to have been caught unawares, since the source of the goal was typical. Peralta slung in a cross, and when the ball skidded off the top of Lewis Macleod's head, it fell to Daly, who steered a shot into the net.
So long as Rangers were moving the ball wide, and Daly was taking up shrewd positions inside the penalty area, the home side's approach could be simple and effective. Two minutes after opening the scoring, Daly added a second when he met Richard Foster's cross with a header that Tony Bullock, the Airdrie goalkeeper, could not keep out.
Accuracy was not an enduring trait for the centre-forward, though. He ought to have secured his hat trick, but sent one shot straight at Bullock from a good position, and headed Lee Wallace's free-kick only narrowly over the bar. Rangers did not have to rely on Daly to emphasise their dominance of the game, though, with David Templeton meeting Law's cross with a sure-footed finish.
"We kept our shape and stuck to our game plan in the first half," said Bollan, who was taking charge of his first match as Airdrie manager. "We tried to hold out as long as we could. We expected Rangers to come at us in the second half, but we switched off and they took advantage."