Kris Boyd believes Rangers have now found the consistency required to pull away in second place having finally learned to win ugly.
Manager Mark Warburton has come in for criticism this season for his refusal to move away from the patient, passing system allied with his preferred 4-3-3 formation.
While the shape of the team roughly stayed the same, Rangers were more willing to go direct in the recent wins over Aberdeen and Hearts, which pushed the Ibrox side back into the runners-up spot.
It’s expected they’ll keep the same approach when they travel to Hamilton on Friday night looking to secure three successive league victories for the first time this season.
Boyd insists the fans don’t necessarily need the football to be as expansive as it was in the Championship-winning season. They just want to see their team win.
The ex-Rangers striker told Sky Sports News: “They’ve started winning games ugly: the 1-0s, the 2-1s, the 2-0s. They’re starting to find a way to grind out results and that’s all fans want, to win games of football.
“Expectation is the nature of the beast playing for Rangers or Celtic. Come Monday morning, the previous result is forgotten about and they’re looking forward to the next game. Last year they steamrolled everyone, this year’s been more difficult. But they’re in second and I fully expect them to stay there.”
After going to Hamilton, Rangers host Inverness CT before a tricky midweek trip to St Johnstone. They’ll then come up against rivals Celtic for the third time this campaign. It’ll be the first time the Old Firm rivals have met at Ibrox in four and a half years.
Despite losing each of their previous encounters to Celtic this campaign, Boyd reckons Rangers have every chance of emerging victorious on Hogmanay.
He added: “They’ll definitely fancy themselves to win the next Old Firm game.
“The last game, even though it was 5-1, Rangers had a chance at 2-1 - Barrie McKay cut inside and it went past the post. Then Celtic go up the other end and score and Rangers get a man sent off. There wasn’t much in that game even though the result makes it look a lot worse.
“Rangers will fancy it, what with home advantage as well.”