"We're gonna win the league" sang their supporters, jokers that they are, as they slashed Celtic's lead to, erm, 20 points at the top of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League. There's no chance of that, but otherwise Rangers couldn't have had a more agreeable day unless they had detoured via Grantown on the way home and thrown rotten eggs at Craig Whyte's country house.
For a couple of hours it wasn't about the nuclear winter of their finances. It was a coming together of management, players and supporters to provide some mutual respite from the hell of their current existence. "Nothing can prepare you for the actuality of losing staff and personnel," Terry Butcher wrote in his programme notes. "Football takes second place when it comes to redundancies and dismissals, especially as good club people lose their jobs as a result of poor management at the very top."
Butcher hadn't intended his sympathy to extend to a compliant performance from his Inverness team, but it did.
Rangers won with a side sprinkled with reserves or men playing out of position. Lee McCulloch and Andy Little as the strike partnership? Salim Kerkar wide on the left? Kirk Broadfoot at left-back and Ross Perry over on the right? Inverness should have looked at that lot and found all sorts of grounds for optimism. Whereas Kilmarnock were aggressive and confident when they won at Ibrox last weekend, though, the Highland side were careless in defence and wasteful up front. Steven Davis ran rings round their midfield and Kerkar and McCulloch were constant nuisances.
The Rangers support had clearly decided they wouldn't give Celtic the satisfaction of seeing or hearing them depressed. There was one song after another about what a great time they were having. There wasn't any anger towards Whyte or Sir David Murray this time, just songs of praise for the likes of Ally McCoist and Ian Durrant. They were going to be happy even if it killed them.
Depressingly, there were references to "F****n b*******" late in the second half and those have now been heard in both games since emotions were whipped up by the club going into administration. Rangers' staff, with plenty on their plates already, inevitably will have to spend time explaining it away to the Scottish Premier League yet again.
McCoist wants to avoid the "Sophie's Choice" scenario of having any input into which players might be singled out for redundancy. It seems unlikely that the first team squad will be entirely spared and perhaps the likes of Little and Kerkar, who would still be fringe players if everyone was fit, will be deemed expendable. Both played well in a bright match and Little claimed one of the four goals. Davis, Sone Aluko and McCulloch found the net too.
No wonder Butcher's arms were windmilling on the touchline as though he was trying to guide a plane down to a runway. His blood pressure must have been off the scale. His team served up the sort of limp display which betrayed their hard-earned reputation for being able to give Rangers, Celtic or anybody else a bloody nose. Even when they had plenty of possession and territory in the first half, they fell 3-0 down because their defending allowed Rangers to score from virtually every attack.
They were opened up after only six minutes. Dorin Goian, Davis, Little and Kerkar were all involved. Kerkar looked strong and dangerous and it was his cross which Davis lashed stylishly into the net. Soon Kenny Gillet made a hash of clearing a Little cross and the ball fell for Aluko to stick a low shot inside the far post.
The third looked just as straightforward. Kerkar played Little in down the left and he burst away from Josh Meekings before placing a shot across the goal and inside the far post. All far too easy. The only first half chance Rangers didn't put away was an Aluko header which went wide after Davis's excellent vision and accuracy to pick him out at the post.
The Northern Irishman was excellent, delivering one of his best displays for a while. The Rangers defence was there to be attacked but Inverness were tame. Billy McKay and Gregory Tade did miss chances either side of Steve Williams' goal – a thundering close-range header from a Gregory Tansey corner – but Rangers coasted. Ryan Esson did well to block a Kerkar shot but McCulloch's instincts were good and he followed up to tuck away Rangers' fourth.
In another season, when goal difference might matter in a title race, Rangers may have fumed about the injustice of McCulloch not being given a second when his vicious shot crossed the line after hitting the underside of the crossbar. It didn't matter much, of course, and in the grand scheme of things the whole result wasn't a big deal. But McCoist, his players and backroom staff had earned the right to feel better about life for a wee while.