Rangers went into the Old Firm fixture at Ibrox with the chance to lay down a statement of intent in the Premiership title race. They will take to the field against Dundee on Wednesday evening knowing anything other than a win will end those aspirations for another season.

The feelgood factor from a comeback draw in the derby was lost, and then some, as Ross County secured a historic success on Sunday. Rangers are now adrift at the top of the table and will have to be point perfect from here on if they are to overhaul Celtic.

Philippe Clement has come in for his share of criticism since the weekend. So have many of his players after a woeful performance and result. Fortunes and form need to change. Here, the Rangers Review assesses how Clement can spark an ailing title challenge back into life before it is too late.

Match winners and game changers need to stand up in the final third - Chris Jack

The fear that was expressed throughout the January transfer window has come to the forefront of minds midway through April. In truth, it has never really gone away, even as matches have been won and challengers have been overcome. Does this squad have enough game changers and match winners in it? 

Philippe Clement has, of course, not exactly been short of injury problems throughout his tenure. The loss of Danilo has denied him the services of a £6million striker, while Kemar Roofe has endured another stop-start campaign. Abdallah Sima’s long absence really undermined Rangers and Rabbi Matondo, Ross McCausland and Todd Cantwell have all had respective spells out of action. The fact that Oscar Cortes was signed in January and then all-but ruled out for the season after seven matches pretty much sums up Clement’s luck.

READ MORE: Alarming 'worst in  6 seasons' trend that shows Rangers deserved Ross County loss

Those mitigating factors could not be used as excuses then and they certainly can’t be now. The shortcomings have been evident throughout the campaign when it comes to Cyriel Dessers. Simply, he doesn’t convert enough chances and hasn’t scored enough goals as the main man in this side. The contribution of Fabio Silva – so impressive at times but so frustrating at others – can be questioned now as well given that he has a strike rate of one in four.

Clement injected pace and purpose into Rangers by utilising two wingers in the early stages of his tenure and should revert to that blueprint. Matondo is more effective coming into games than starting them but a left wing berth should suit him and McCausland has to recapture his early season form on the other side. That would leave Sima offering a direct threat through the middle and he has shown he can find the back of the net. On form, Dessers and Silva haven't done enough to merit places.

Cantwell is more effective than Tom Lawrence as the No.10 and sees himself as a big game player. Well, give him as many minutes as possible now and let him prove it. Five goals and four assists from 25 Premiership appearances is steady rather than spectacular. He is not the only one from middle to front that Clement needs miracles from.

Ridvan, less rotation and recovering defensive structure - Joshua Barrie

In line with my colleague, the starting point over the next six games is clear - Rangers must play their strongest available team. The time for rotation is over.

Clement can be forgiven for altering his selection, which saw him start Borna Barisic away at Kilmarnock and Ross County before taking the Croatian off for Ridvan Yilmaz and Dujon Sterling, both of whom should have started in the respective fixtures. With so many injury issues to contend with, the injury crisis inherited and fitness issues routinely cited by the Belgian, he's been playing catch-up without a pre-season. 


Clement has previously stated that only James Tavernier, John Souttar, Connor Goldson, John Lundstram and Jack Butland can play at the intensity he requires every three days. Given the fact that Sterling spends time making high-distance runs on the wing and Ridvan remains out of action, there is logic in not starting the 24-year-old in Dingwall on Sunday lunchtime with two more games on the horizon in the same week. However, there's no more room to slip from here-on-in. The risks of not starting the strongest team outweigh the rewards at present for Clement.

The other key area requiring immediate focus to reignite any hopes of a title is the defence - and not just the back four. At the start of the year Rangers were hardly conceding chances, let alone goals. In the first six games back after the winter break they'd averaged 0.49xG conceded, in the six games since that's taken a massive jump to 1.06xG. Rangers' structure has been so heavily impacted by injuries out wide. When not playing narrow full-backs and failing to counterpress sufficiently, they can look far too easy to play through as County showed at the weekend. As Connor Goldson explained at the start of the year, Clement wants his team to "strangle" teams and "attack in waves" to stop counterattacks. The vulnerability shown by Rangers' back four in recent weeks will only subside when the structure ahead of that unit improves.

Performance and result needed to get fans back believing once again - Derek Clark

Sunday's calamitous defeat in Dingwall have punctured Rangers' title hopes, whether it proves fatal or not is dependent on the Ibrox club. Recent results and performances rightly give cause for concern. We're very much in the business end of the season and Philippe Clement's men have chosen this point to stumble.

Wednesday's game with Dundee and the following five league games become must-wins. Is this team capable of going to Parkhead and winning, probably not given the body of evidence. However, they simply cannot afford any more slip-ups like the one we witnessed on Sunday.

When Rangers finally take to the boggy field that is Dens Park on Wednesday, or wherever the game finally takes place, the supporters need to see a performance that can instil the belief this team can still win the title. It's all about results at this stage of the campaign but given what has been served up of late, a big performance is required.

The manager has some big calls to make and failure to make them will cost the title. He has decisions to make in the backline, midfield and forward areas and those need to happen by the time the team step onto the pitch on Wednesday. Three points and a similar display to the one we witnessed the last time Rangers beat the Dark Blues at Dens and maybe, just maybe it will reignite that optimism Celtic can be overhauled.  Anything other than a win, the club can kiss goodbye to 56.