THE wait is almost over for Rangers. It may have taken 12 months longer than initially expected to get themselves within touching distance of the Championship silverware, but Mark Warburton and his players are now just days away from a medal.

It has looked like a matter of when, not if, Rangers would lift the second tier title for some weeks now and victory over Queen of the South has taken them to the brink of the Premiership.

Rangers had to share the seven goals scored at Ibrox with their visitors but the points were all theirs. After Harry Forrester had seen his opener cancelled out by Iain Russell, a blitz of goals at the start of the second half from Michael O’Halloran, Andy Halliday and James Tavernier ensured Gary Oliver and Mark Millar strikes were only a consolations for the Doonhamers.

As Hibernian and Falkirk have faltered in recent months, Rangers have kept on winning and now they could be just one more away from the top flight. If Warburton’s side can beat Raith Rovers next Saturday, they will be crowned champions if Hibernian fail to see off St Mirren.

"I wasn't here for the last four or five years and I don't know what they've been through, but I can imagine,” Warburton said. "The club have been through a traumatic time for the last few years and the aim was very clear - get the club back to where it needs to be.

"That was our first aim and target. We want to win it in convincing fashion and we are in good shape. We have won nothing yet but it will be a massive boost for the supporters and then we want to move forward. We don't stop there.”

Having suffered late on against Falkirk last time out, Rangers were keen to start well at Ibrox and Warburton’s side were on the front foot from the off, Forrester seeing a penalty claim inside the opening minutes waved away by referee Crawford Allan.

The midfielder is in discussions to sign an extension to his Ibrox contract and he proved why with the first goal of the game as he collected a neat flick from Halliday wide on the right, burst into the box and finished well into Robbie Thomson's net.

There was soon another roar around Ibrox, but it was one of encouragement not joy in the aftermath of the second goal of the afternoon. It was Queens who scored it as their endeavours were rewarded from 12 yards, Russell winning and then converting a penalty after a foul from Lee Wallace.

The challenge now was for Rangers to respond. They were not short of possession, but chances proved hard to come by for Warburton’s side as Queens continued to frustrate Rangers. There were gasps when Ryan Conroy struck the bar with a speculative strike from distance before a Forrester chip and Holt effort went the wrong side of the woodwork for Rangers.

When the action resumed after the break, Rangers wasted little time in putting the game to bed, though, O’Halloran, Halliday and Tavernier scoring minutes apart to clinch the points.

For O’Halloran, it was a moment to savour as he scored his first goal at Ibrox since his move from St Johnstone, the forward peeling away at the back post to collect a Wallace cross from the left flank and then rifling the ball beyond Thomson.

The home crowd had barely ceased celebrating Rangers’ second goal when they had another to cheer. It was one of their best moves of the game and it was finished in style, Halliday’s acrobatic effort coming after a scoop over the Queens defence from Wilson and neat pass from Miller.

Having scored Rangers’ third goal, Halliday then had a hand in their fourth just minutes later. It was his pass this time that Queens failed to deal with and Tavernier converted from six yards after another Miller knockdown.

That was not the end of the scoring spree, however. Just when it looked like Rangers had done enough, James Fowler’s side gave themselves hope when Oliver converted at the back post. It was a slack moment from Rangers, but it didn’t prove costly.

“We are slightly frustrated,” Halliday said. “We lost a game against Falkirk last week which was hugely disappointing from a commanding position but the key was to learn from it and I don’t think we’ve done that today.

“It’s another three goals we’ve conceded and it’s something we’ve got to rectify. The defensive shape and the lack of goals we conceded in the seven or eight games before that was different class and that’s something we’ve got to get back to because conceding three goals at home isn’t good enough. We can’t go into every game having to score four goals to win it.

“It’s just lapses of concentration. You can look at all three goals and there have been errors all over the park, including myself for the third goal. It’s not good enough.”

With plenty of time left on the clock, more goals were expected but Rangers couldn’t get a fifth to add an extra shine to the score line. Instead, it was Queens who would set up a nervy finale as Mark Millar found the bottom corner of Foderingham’s net from the edge of the area.

The final whistle signified celebration and relief for Rangers. They had suffered a scare but emerged unscathed.

Another win was secured, another small step towards the Premiership had been taken. Come Saturday evening, they may have made the leap forward they have waited so long for.