SATURDAY'S draw with Hearts was a sore one to take - given the late equaliser and number of chances Rangers spurned throughout.

There are questions for everyone in the fanbase to legitimately ask. But there are also lessons to be learned from jumping to judgement too quickly.

The side hasn’t hit the heights of last season and, having set that standard, are always going to be judged on that.

Despite a somewhat patchy spell where performances have been sporadic, Rangers remain top of the league. That shouldn’t, however, be seen as a comfort blanket to mask the very real and obvious problems within the squad performance.

Perhaps instead it should act as an indication that supporters shouldn’t be jumping to conclusions about the standard of the current squad.

Football fans are naturally fickle and jump from opinion to opinion in the blink of an eye. One misplaced pass or a glaring miss - worse still, a glaring mistake - and a player can be written off in an instant.

Likewise, fans are judgemental by nature - instant and harsh opinions can be formed with very little way back.

Currently in this squad, that judgement seems to be happening all over the place. 

That’s natural at Rangers - but if it begins to filter through in the stands then consequently it’s not going to help the team.

I’m not here saying you should ignore the criticism because everything is rosy. It isn’t - and there are legitimate questions to be asked, especially as the season begins to get into the real ‘nitty-gritty’ of dark days and nights.

But there are also some very real lessons in this squad. None more so than John Lundstram and, to a lesser extent, Scott Wright.

Lundstram didn’t start well at all. He was arguably at fault against Malmo and Dundee United, he looked slow and cumbersome on the ball while he also appeared somewhat off the pace required generally too.

He was subsequently sent off against Aleshkert at home in Europe and almost instantaneously fans and social media had decided he wasn’t good enough.

Credit for his turnaround goes to the management because he was taken out of the team then gradually reintroduced in the middle of the midfield in a role that appears to suit him down to the ground. Instead of playing on either side of the number six, a position he struggled in and a notoriously tough shift in this system, he is now performing far better centrally. 

READ MORE: John Lundstram and the Rangers role change that has him thriving at Ibrox

Of course, he has to sustain that form going forward but that brings us back to the initial point: judgement of Lundstram now is as rash as the judgement of him in his first weeks.

He has to be given time before we can properly see whether he has what it takes at Rangers.

Wright is at the opposite end of the spectrum. He came in and, in cameo appearances, made a big impact. The former Aberdeen winger was thereafter being pushed as a first-team starter and people were, at points, raving about him.

Then he caught Covid-19 and missed a few weeks of the season. This has undoubtedly affected him and he made a couple of pretty unspectacular starts before eventually dropping out of the team.

Wright has seemingly gone from an 'exciting, promising player' to 'not good enough' in the space of two underwhelming 45 minutes. Suddenly the conventional wisdom appears to be that he has nothing about him, isn’t good enough and will never succeed at the club. It's a struggle to keep up.

The 24-year-old performed positively against Hearts and Hibs in spells - there is work to be done, but he is no more a dud now than he was a superstar at the beginning of his Ibrox career.

That’s life at Rangers I suppose - but it doesn’t really help anyone. The players need our patience and understanding.

READ MORE: Scott Wright's quiet Rangers progress looks set to get much louder - Blair Newman

Alfredo Morelos, for instance, isn’t suddenly a bad player just because he missed some chances on Saturday. Likewise, Allan McGregor isn’t now 'past it' because he made an error.

Last season was tough on the players both physically and mentally. Not only did they have the pressure of delivering a title but they had the continued pressure of going unbeaten as well.

That’s a lot for a squad that has never had such an experience before. We have seen numerous occasions in history where squads have suffered dips because of previous exerts.

Again, this isn’t an attempt to tell you everything is OK.

Time will tell if Morelos can recapture his form of two years ago, as it will with James Tavernier and if McGregor is finally showing signs of ageing.

But what fans can’t do is suddenly chuck this team under the bus because of a setback. The support has to stick with it and have patience because this is a season that is vital to everyone at our club. Not just in terms of retaining the title but for the very real and obvious European royalties at stake.

Just weeks ago the feeling was Rangers still had levels to go up and now, suddenly, this may be an ageing team that needs restructuring. It’s going to be a long season and the team will need every bit of support they can get.

If that frustration begins to creep in from the stands then it’s not going to help the team get where they ultimately want to go.

The truth is, like in the case of Lundstram and Wright, fans need to be patient and stick with it. Sure, one or two need a kick to restart their engines and a few need to step up their form but forget any notion that this group of players are suddenly not good enough.

It’s up to them to prove that, but they will get there a lot quicker if they have the fans on their side.