IT took just two Ladbrokes Premiership games for Rangers to undo the good work of their 2-1 win over Celtic at Parkhead before the winter shutdown.

The loss the Ibrox club slumped at the hands of Hearts at Tynecastle on Sunday means they can no longer claim top spot if they win their game in hand.

Now there really is no margin for error. So how can Steven Gerrard ensure there are no further slip-ups? Here are five things he can try.

HeraldScotland:

DON'T PANIC

The loss in the capital at the weekend was a sore one and no mistake. It could well prove costly come the end of the 2019/20 league campaign. But Gerrard and his men should hold firm. It is a setback, nothing more, at this stage. If they can rediscover their best form and apply pressure to the league leaders anything can still happen.

It is still only January. There are another four months of the season still to go and a plethora of points to be picked up and dropped. There are another two Old Firm games to be played. There promise to be many more twists and turns before one of the Glasgow clubs is crowned champions in May.

Celtic have quality, strength in depth and experience in abundance. But they have shown at times this season - in the draw against Hibernian at Easter Road, loss to Livingston at the Tony Macaroni Arena and defeat to Rangers at Parkhead – they are not infallible. Their next four leagues games, too, are away from home.

HeraldScotland:

WELCOME BACK MORELOS AND TAVERNIER

The loss of Alfredo Morelos, who has been suspended, and James Tavernier, who is recovering from minor surgery, has coincided with a sudden dip in form that, after flat displays against Stranraer and St Mirren, culminated with the loss to Hearts.

The return of Rangers’ leading scorer and first choice right back will doubtless coincide with a sharp upturn in fortunes. Elsewhere, having Greg Stewart back fit again will, even though he has featured only sporadically, help their cause.

WIELD THE AXE

Gerrard hasn’t chopped and changed his side extensively this season. He brought in several fringe players for the William Hill Scottish Cup tie against Stranraer. But by and large he has stuck with pretty much the same starting line-up.

Perhaps it is time for him to mix things up a bit and give Scott Arfield, Sheyi Ojo or Jordan Jones a run-out. Steven Davis, Jon Flanagan, Jermain Defoe, Ryan Kent, Ryan Jack and even Allan McGregor could have few complaints is they were dropped for the visit of Ross County tomorrow evening.

HeraldScotland:

GO ON THE OFFENSIVE

Davis, Jack and Kamara have all, the Hearts game aside, performed to a high standard for Rangers of late. But are they too similar? They are excellent at winning the ball, retaining possession and snuffing out opposition attacks. But none of them is exactly renowned for making line-breaking forward runs into the opposition penalty area.

They have netted just seven goals between them this term. Davis and Kamara have pitched in with just one apiece. Maybe the Ibrox club would benefit from taking a less cautious, more adventurous approach to games, against lesser opposition especially. Going with just two out of the three could be the way ahead.

STRENGTHEN HIS SQUAD

Gerrard has stated that he is unlikely to carry out much business in the January transfer window. He brought in no fewer than 11 players in the summer and now has more than one viable option in every position on the park.

But is the Rangers squad strong enough to cope with the injuries and suspension that inevitably arise over the course of a season? Their displays without Morelos and Tavernier have suggested not.

The Liverpool and England great spent in excess of £10 million in the close season. But bringing in one or two quality additions, not least up front, would give his side a much-needed lift at a crucial stage.