Jo Potter arrived at Rangers with the belief that it was good to talk. Almost six months on, her first conversations at Auchenhowie have proven to be amongst her most important ones.

The 39-year-old walked into a club that had lofty ambitions but a side that had just suffered an agonising setback on the last day of the campaign. The transformation – both in personnel and approach – that Potter has overseen has pleased her and encouraged her in equal measure.

Rangers head into their SWPL fixture with Glasgow City on Sunday with an eight-point advantage, albeit having played a game more than their title rivals and defending champions. If a twelfth win in 13 matches can be secured at Petershill Park, it would be another small yet significant step towards reclaiming the crown that they saw snatched from them at Ibrox in May.

The appointment of Potter was a signal of intent from Rangers in the summer as Malky Thomson was removed from his position and returned to the academy structure. This may represent Potter’s first managerial role, but the former England international has a wealth of experience on both sides of the white line and that nous has been put to good use during an impressive start to the campaign.

Potter has added a handful of new recruits and given youth a chance as a bold attacking philosophy has paid dividends. Rangers have scored 57 times on league duty already this term and a 1-1 draw with City in August is the only match that hasn’t been won. A comeback victory over Celtic last month encapsulated the style and the substance of Potter’s side.

Potter never doubted that the required gains, both individually and collectively, would be found once she got down to work. She admits, though, that the process has been quicker than she anticipated and the knowledge that Rangers have ‘got another level in us’ is a source of stimulation. So, what has been the secret of that success?

“I think it is the buy in of the players,” Potter said. “That is the biggest thing for me. I have showed consistency, showed them what I want and what I am asking them to do day in day out, we don’t just throw it out the window one week and then use it again the next. There are consistent messages that they do get from me, so it is stuff that is going to stay. The quicker they have bought in the better, and they did it straight away. It was really good to see and you can see that outcome on the pitch.”

Those messages were imparted in the hours after she drove through the gates of Auchenhowie to start a new era. A dozen games into the campaign, she speaks of the competitiveness and the standards within the squad and continues to lay out the plans for the here and now and the road map that she hopes will see the silverware return across Glasgow in the coming months.

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A week after the defeat at home to City that saw them leave Ibrox with the trophy, Rangers were on the wrong end of an Old Firm result at Hampden. The Scottish Cup final loss was Thomson’s last match in charge and Potter was installed less than a month later following a stint as assistant manager at Birmingham City.

“I had a lot of communication with the players,” Potter said. “The first thing I did when I entered the job, the first day, I spent 10, 15 minutes with each player and had a real good chat and listened to their points of view. Stuff that they didn’t find went so well last year and stuff that they find did go well. It was looking to see what I could improve early doors and see what I could latch onto, what they really enjoyed last year. It was, for me, listening to the players, listening to their gripes and the stuff that they wanted to improve, which everybody has. We always need to improve. And for me to show them the levels that I wanted them to get to and point out my vision and way of working and setting that stall out early.”

That way of working has been adopted from the first sessions this season. One of those who has benefited most of all has been midfielder Kirsty Maclean as her rise through the ranks has seen her rewarded for club and country.

The information passed down from mentor to protégé remains private. The Rangers supporters are seeing the benefits of it in public, though, as they prepare for a potentially decisive trip to Petershill.

“I think that is something that is really important to be a successful team,” Maclean said. “With communication between the players and the manager, you build a level of trust that you can then take onto the pitch. Jo is never going to moan at you for making a mistake, she will praise if you if you try the right thing. That is so important and it builds confidence in the team and for yourself.”

Potter described Maclean as having an ‘old head on young shoulders’ as she detailed her vision on the ball and role as the link in the middle of the park. Maclean makes the game look ‘easy’ and has become one of the mainstays of Potter’s side.

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The likes of Mia McAulay, Jodie McLeary and Laura Berry are also highly rated. As Potter outlined, they are earning their minutes on merit and she subscribes to the theory that if the rising stars are good enough then they are old enough.

Potter demands that every member of the squad is fully invested and integrated. She has assembled a group that can win in the here and now but is also building for the future as Rangers continue to invest in the game.

“I think still being a young player, maybe I didn’t expect to play as much as I have this season,” Maclean said. "The girls around me need to take credit for that, the way they have taken me under their wing and encouraged me on the pitch to help give me confidence. The squad depth is huge in this team, everyone is capable of doing a job. If I want to keep playing then I need to keep performing.”

That goes for everyone within Potter's group. The bar has been raised in recent months, but Potter won’t place extra emphasis on the showdown with City given that it is still early in the SWPL campaign.

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She is, however, fully cognisant of the expectations that must be met, both internally and externally at Auchenhowie. In that regard, Potter has something in common with Philippe Clement. Time to share ideas with the Belgian has been in short supply over the last month but the squads on both sides of the training complex have the same silverware targets in mind.

“We have not had too much interaction up until now,” Potter said. "I think it is a busy time that he has taken over and he has got a job to do himself. We have had a few conversations, not too much influence on what we are doing and how we are doing things. As much as we do help each other out and do have conversations about how things are going and how each other is finding it, I think he probably has a bit of respect to say ‘that is your bag, you stick to it, you know best in that role’. I am sure there will come a moment when we do have a little bit more time to deep dive into things and have a good chat but it has not come up just yet.”