It pleased Ally McCoist that in the midst of some difficulties against Queen of the South on Tuesday evening, his players were still disciplined and resilient. Their mentality was not compromised, and the reward was a victory based on resourcefulness and perseverance, even if other aspects of their play were flawed. They are qualities that Rangers will need to keep within reach.
A trip to Station Park tomorrow takes Rangers back to the scene of their only defeat of the season. Forfar Athletic were victorious after extra-time in the Scottish Communities League Cup first round, when the visitors looked weighed down by the same frailties as last season. McCoist has more players available since the club's registration embargo ended at the beginning of the month, but the same challenges await. Station Park has an artificial pitch, as did Palmerston, and each surface requires a period of adjustment.
"None of them are the same," said McCoist. "Our boys are of the opinion that probably Broadwood is the best one we have played on. But then you could go to another team and they might have another opinion. It doesn't effectively matter what we think about it. We have got to be very, very careful that we don't sound as though we are criticising or looking for a cop out, because we are not doing that. We will deal with them. We have to play on them, but I would suggest that we are more comfortable playing on grass."
The Rangers players were impressed with the surface at Station Park - "we felt it was one of the better ones," said McCoist - so results or performances are not always a consequence of the artificial pitch. Even so, there are other issues to contend with. Lee Wallace will undergo a fitness test tomorrow morning, after suffering from a stiffness in his neck, while Rangers' medical staff believe that David Templeton's ankle injury last season was in part caused by Annan Athletic's artificial turf.
That risk of injury is one of the reasons McCoist does not hold more training sessions on the artificial pitch at Murray Park ahead of games against teams who use the surface. With each having their own characteristics, there would be little to be gained. It does, though, influence McCoist's team selection, since he believes that some of his players are better able to adapt to the quirks of the pitches than others.
"You can't prepare for it," the Rangers manager said. "We are getting our Astroturf surface at Murray Park re-laid a week on Monday and I can understand some people saying: 'Why do you not train on that?' But it would be a different surface to the one we [would then] play on. Anybody who saw the game [last] Tuesday will see that we have got players who naturally don't look comfortable and don't play to anything like their full potential on those surfaces. That's not a criticism, it's just my opinion.
"There's no use getting het up about something you can't have an effect on. As long as the parks are legal to play on, we are duty bound to play on them, whether we like it or not, so there's no use mumping and moaning about it.
"Players can pick up injuries on any surface. But that type of surface is probably more suited to young players' development more than anything. I accept the reasons why these surfaces are here. They provide income and involve football in the community, which is great. But it definitely affects our team selection, and I'd imagine it affects managers and coaches of teams who play on grass every week when they have to go to these places."
The loss to Forfar in August was symptomatic of old shortcomings, but has been followed by seven wins out of seven, with 28 goals scored and only two conceded. That level of dominance ought to be expected when Rangers can call upon greater resources than all but Celtic. Nonetheless, there is a determination to make amends for that defeat at Station Park, which Dick Campbell, the Forfar manager, anticipated by asserting that Rangers will have the title secured by the end of the year.
"I had to laugh when I heard Dick saying we would have the title wrapped up by Christmas," said McCoist. "I'm just surprised he didn't have us winning it by Hallowe'en night. But we want to win. I would never use the word revenge, but they gave us a sore one up there.
"I know we couldn't play all of our players, but fair play to them, they knocked us out and they deserved it. I have watched the game a couple of times and we missed an unbelievable amount of chances that day. We want to go up and continue our good record so far in the league."
Rangers are evolving, with Anestis Argyriou having left the club this week and a contract offer having been made to Marius Zaliukas, the former Hearts defender. In the meantime, the team is coming to terms with its circumstances.