AS Rangers’ championship challenge was snuffed out at Ibrox the inquest began post haste. 

A lot of it was emotional and understandably so. An Old Firm defeat is never any less than bitter to those who taste it.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst, the players, the board; everyone was feeling the soles of their feet licked by fire. 

Amid the acrimony, I found myself lost in a familiar thought. This is a Rangers side that has it within them to go to Dortmund, the second-best team in the Bundesliga, and win. How on earth has it managed to allow a 12 point Scottish Premiership swing to their rivals since Christmas?  

The answer is complex so bear with me. 

This is not the first time we’ve seen a domestic collapse after the tinsel is packed away. It’s actually the third time in four seasons and there's now an undeniable pattern of failure. 

Quite what’s going on at the turn of the year to sour Rangers’ form like milk left out in the summer sun is anyone’s guess, but what's no longer up for debate is that it happens. 

Given this squad has retained its core players across this period it’s obvious that profound change is needed in the summer to address this fatal flaw. That Alfredo Morelos, Ryan Kent, Joe Aribo and Filip Helander are all falling into the final year of their deals only adds to the inevitability of significant upheaval. 

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As The Rangers Review has been stressing for months, the key issue that needs to be addressed is the team’s lack of goals. 

This is a problem going all the way back to Steven Gerrard’s arrival in the summer of 2018. When implementing his game model, the Scouser was heavily influenced by former managers Rafa Benitez and Roy Hodgson. Neither is known for expansive football. Gerrard wanted to be first and foremost hard to beat and horrible to play against. 

This was the perfect plan to push Rangers forward on the European stage where they quickly excelled, looking disciplined in defence and dangerous on the break. 

And yet, against less sophisticated domestic opposition, it came unstuck from the first game, a 1-1 draw with Aberdeen. While that game had its own idiosyncrasies, it didn’t take Rangers too long to begin to consistently huff and puff against sides that would sit in deep with very little intent to move out of a block. 

To their credit, Gerrard and tactical lieutenant Michael Beale recognised this and evolved the initial idea over two failed campaigns before getting enough firepower into the XI to win the most important title in a generation. 

And while Rangers started that campaign alive with vivid creative colour, by the fall of winter they were reliant on a record-breaking defence who only shipped 13 goals in the entire campaign. 

Gerrard’s title success was an enormous achievement. His name is safely ensconced in the pantheon of Rangers heroes. But you can’t allow one title success to blind you to failure in eight other domestic competitions. While it would be ludicrous to characterise the Aston Villa manager's spell as a failure, the success was undoubtedly qualified.

Meanwhile, in Europe there was constant unimpeded progress. They have achieved the Europa League group stages in every year. They have qualified in the last three terms. This season they took a leap further and reached the lofty heights of the last eight. 

There has been the odd disappointment of course. Losing to Slavia Prague at Ibrox after the hard work had been done in the Czech Republic was frustrating but it was a coin-flip game settled amid fine margins. The Ibrox side have always looked competitive and never blown away.  

This continental success has helped build the club to where it is today, a totally different proposition than when Gerrard arrived in 2018.  And yet you only need to look across the city to see this issue of the Gerrard game model in reverse. 

While Ange Postecoglou had the odd bruising encounter in Europe, losing to the likes of Bodo/Glimt and Midtjylland, his philosophy of football is perfect for the domestic grind. 

It focuses on dominating the ball and getting men forward in droves overpowering teams with sheer numbers and the intensity of attacking intent. 

While you’d wager Postecoglou will face significant further difficulties taking his philosophy into Europe where teams are more technically adept and able to play through his press, Scottish sides have become cannon fodder. Even against Ross County, Dundee and Dundee United when Celtic required late goals, you always felt the relentless attacking tide would wear the opposition down.

READ MORE: If Rangers fail to avoid Celtic whitewash we have to face uncomfortable Giovanni van Bronckhorst truth - Four Lads

When Rangers are in the same situation, in stark contrast, you wonder where the goals are coming from. Even when Alfredo Morelos is in the side and firing, his top Premiership goal return has been 17 across four full seasons. 

Simply put, Celtic's on pitch identity fits the battle for domestic trophies and the challenges they face day in and day out in Scotland. Rangers' seems more suited to Europe. 

And that applies to a lot of the players too. Nobody would say Ryan Kent isn’t a talented, able footballer. He will go to the Premier League at a mid-level team and be a success without any question. And yet, he’s got a paltry two goals this season in the Premiership. 

Kent thrives on space. On rapid transitions. On counter-attacking. He’s in the wrong movie for Scottish domestic success. He’s shown time and again he’s not the man to break down a Livingston or St Mirren. 

He’s not alone. Aribo, Glen Kamara and Fashion Sakala all give the impression their games might blossom more successfully on the European stage. 

When the surgery begins in the summer, Rangers must refocus on their core pursuits. While European football is a huge element of the club’s success, it must not come to the detriment of domestic imperatives.  

Whatever shape the squad takes it must be packed with goals and physicality to cope with the realities and contours of the Scottish game.

Come the summer, it will be time to restructure with the aim of winning in Scotland as the foundation stone.