IT is said that you are never more than a couple of games away from a crisis as Rangers manager.

A week ago, Giovanni van Bronckhorst was on that brink. Today, he is as far from the precipice as he has been for some time.

That fact owes much to the fickle nature of football and fans but it was a reality that Van Bronckhorst was facing after a run that had seen questions over his ability and position become increasingly prominent.

Those doubts have been parked. The fears have been shelved. It is amazing what a couple of wins can do for the mood of a support and the perception of managers and players.

Victories over Braga and Celtic do not completely eradicate the issues but they have bought the Dutchman time and ensured any discerning voices will be shouted down by a majority still high on the buzz of Europa League progression and an Old Firm win.

The collapse in the Premiership title race - one which has seen Rangers squander a lead to sit six points behind Celtic - is on Van Bronckhorst's shoulders and he must carry the can for overseeing the form that leaves the champions in the position of forlorn challengers.

When Celtic clinched all three points at Ibrox, Van Bronckhorst was staring at the nightmare possibility of four successive derby defeats as he looked ahead to the Scottish Cup semi-final and the last league encounter of the season at Parkhead.

That reality would have made it almost impossible to defend the 47-year-old and the case for cutting short his tenure would have grown significantly. Had four Old Firms been lost, then the backing of the support surely would have been as well.

That is why Sunday was as significant. Van Bronckhorst needed a statement win, a victory that showed his tactical astuteness and a buy-in from his squad when the chips were down and the stakes were high.

On a day when Rangers simply had to win, they did just that. And the manner of it - with a performance full of bravery and nous - made it all the more satisfying for Van Bronckhorst.

Recent weeks had given his critics a chance to find their voice. As he took the acclaim of the red, white and blue half of Hampden, his name was sung in celebration.

There have been moments when Van Bronckhorst has been accused of being too passive, perhaps too nice, as his style on the touchline and in front of the cameras has been analysed and compared to predecessor Steven Gerrard. He is naturally a very different character.

It takes a man of a certain stature, temperament and mentality to be Rangers boss. Such a position demands a leader, a motivator, a figure who thrives under intense pressure and delivers results.

When Van Bronckhorst spoke ahead of the first leg in Braga a fortnight ago, he addressed the pressure to land at least one piece of silverware this season and whether it was laid out as a prerequisite by the Ibrox board during his discussions to replace Gerrard as boss.

His time in Glasgow as a player ensured he needed no introduction to the demands and expectations but understanding them and being able to match and live up to them are very different things. That is why the extra time wins last week were as meaningful and emotional for Van Bronckhorst.

They have bought him time, space and an opportunity. A week on from Braga, he will surely be breathing a little easier and sleeping a little better as attentions turn to the remaining league fixtures, the Europa League semi-final with RB Leipzig and a Scottish Cup date with destiny against Hearts.

There will still naturally be sceptics within the support but there is now little prospect of a premature parting of ways come the end of the season. That will be a relief to Van Bronckhorst, but equally so to the Ibrox board.

Concerns over how Rangers are being run at all levels remain valid and even the ultimate triumph on the continent should not be enough to stop questions over a number of individuals being raised. On and off the park, Rangers are in need of new people, new talents and new ideas.

But chairman Douglas Park and his board no longer need to wrestle with the notion of replacing a manager just months after appointing him and the considerations - both in football and financial terms - are far removed from where they could have been had the last week panned out differently.

Time will tell whether Van Bronckhorst is capable of being a successful Rangers manager. He has, though, now earned the right to give it a proper crack on his own terms as he prepares for a summer of wheeling and dealing to put his stamp on the squad.

Rangers' record in the transfer market in recent times has been largely abject and Van Bronckhorst is destined to fail if the strike rate - either on his terms or the say-so of Ross Wilson - does not dramatically improve during the close season.

It must be done Van Bronckhorst's way and he should be allowed to succeed or fail on his own merits, his own philosophies and signings. He has still to completely convince as manager, but he has earned the right now to be given time to do so.

It is imperative that Van Bronckhorst enters his first full term as boss with some silverware and the ramifications of the final against Hearts cannot be understated. If Rangers end up empty-handed, it will be a case of one step forward and two back for their boss.

Van Bronckhorst has pulled himself away from the brink once already and he can ill-afford to find himself in a similarly precarious position any time soon. That moment should not arrive until next season at the earliest now.

The last week has been the best of Van Bronckhorst's reign. It must be put to good use for the sake of himself and of Rangers.