The way relations are at present between the Rangers players and a section of their supporters, Philippe Clement’s men might be quite happy that none of their fans will be following them to Celtic Park this weekend. 

This week, we’ve seen Fabio Silva ‘celebrate’ his goal against Kilmarnock by gesturing to his own fans about the criticism he has been receiving, and a video has emerged of Borna Barisic going for one supporter who, presumably, made a comment he didn’t like while signing autographs outside of the stadium.

Technically, Rangers could be just four wins away from landing a Treble, but going by these interactions, you wouldn’t know it. And it is hard to shake the notion that many among the Rangers fanbase have had just about enough of this squad of players.

The counter theory is that the negativity of the Rangers fans is at least partly to blame when their team comes up short. A premise that has gained traction in recent times due to the fact the only time the Ibrox side won the Premiership title in the past decade is when there were no fans allowed inside the ground.

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If there is any truth in that being a factor though, then the blame doesn’t lie with an overly expectant fanbase, but with a group of players who knew exactly what they were signing up for. The notion of the Rangers support being a demanding one to play in front of is hardly new, and frankly, if you can’t handle that, then you have no place in pulling on a light blue jersey.

The huge following that travelled to back their side in Dingwall and Dundee recently can hardly be blamed for the two insipid performances that have left their Premiership title hopes hanging by a thread, after all.

For all that Ibrox is renowned for having a tough crowd, the Rangers away support has tended to be much more forgiving. And it is away from home that they have imploded.

The truth is that every single fanbase – as much as they all like to try to hog the moral higher ground – have a percentage of numpties that follow them. That is of course more pronounced when dealing with the volume of fans who follow either side of the Old Firm.

Dafties like the one who stepped out of line with Barisic aren’t representative of their support as a whole, and the concerns of the broader church shouldn’t be discounted just because there are some grade A nuggets among them.

If this group of players want to show that they are not the weak-willed flops that many among their own fanbase fear them to be, then they have to show that over the coming days and weeks on the field.

For too long, they have watched this core group get themselves into striking distance of glory only to wilt when it truly matters, and as much as the Rangers futures of many of them are on the line this weekend, so too are the legacies of more than a few.

As for Silva, if he wants to worm his way back into the affections of the Rangers support, he might need to claim the match ball at Celtic Park. Or return to Ibrox holding Brendan Rodgers’ gnashers aloft.

What in the world was he thinking at the weekend, clapping back at the home fans after scoring what was his first goal in nine matches? Silva has generally been poor since coming into the Scottish game, and very rarely has looked anything like the player that once commanded a £30m transfer fee, despite his obvious ability.

It was telling that in the recent Old Firm game at Ibrox, his antics were even grating with an Ibrox support raised on tales of uncompromising heroes like John Greig, Terry Butcher or Richard Gough. When he went down for the penalty that was eventually awarded to Rangers, it wasn’t only referee John Beaton inside the stadium who presumed the winger had once again gone down too easily.

If he wants to make his point, then Celtic Park is the place to do his talking. The stage is there for him to show that he can be a major player, but I won’t be betting the farm on it.

I can just about buy into the theory that negativity from the stands doesn’t help players perform any better. And may well have a detrimental effect on their level of performance. But it shouldn’t. And especially not at a club the size of Rangers.

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If you want to play for the biggest clubs in the country and enjoy the trappings and financial recompense that come with it, then you also have to accept the demands that will be placed upon you, and the consequences when you fall short of those expectations.

It is only the Rangers players that can change the mood music around the club again, which was so serene just a few short weeks ago. They have to give the fans something to get behind, not expect blind support when churning out the sort of efforts they produced in Dingwall and at Dens Park.

As of now, they stand at a crossroads, simultaneously on the brink of both glorious success and crushing failure. The Rangers fans will be waiting for them at the end of whichever path they take. The reception they get is entirely up to them.