The Gers had stuttered their way to the two-week domestic shutdown and despite qualifying for the Champions League, had looked something of a turgid and uninspiring side.
Two 4-0 defeats in a row against Celtic and Ajax had people sharpening their knives all over Govan with Giovanni van Bronckhorst a man under increasing pressure.
The nervy victory over Dundee United did little to relieve it.
But with the Aberdeen fixture now rearranged into December, and a two-week breather under the club’s belt, the Gers roared back into action against Hearts at Tynecastle.
Rangers send title message in Hearts victory
For all the doom and gloom over Ibrox – criticism aimed at everyone from the coaching staff, to the players, to the board – the club knew that victory over the Jambos would, at least for a moment, send them back to the top of the Premiership.
Celtic had handed the Ibrox side a monumental lifeline at an important juncture by losing 2-0 away to St Mirren before the break in a result which, come May, could yet prove a pivotal one.
The Scottish game is so often about momentum and when things aren’t going right it builds just as quickly as when they are.
And – with James Tavernier’s confident pre-match words still ringing in their ears – Rangers delivered and stood up to the Tynecastle test to, hopefully, kickstart an unsteady opening to the domestic campaign.
Antonio Colak made it 11 goals in 14 games with another deadly double, whilst Alfredo Morelos and Ryan Kent scored much-needed goals to bring gloss to an emphatic 4-0 win at one of Scotland’s toughest away days.
Not everything was perfect of course; some slack killer balls in the first half and some wasteful finishing may have come back to haunt Rangers before Hearts were reduced to 10 men.
A slow third quarter following the restart would’ve also frustrated those fans who smelled maroon blood following Cammy Devlin’s fully justified red card.
But whilst the result was the most important thing, there was a touch of shine to Rangers who sent out something of a title statement by handling this fixture and starting emphatically in Edinburgh.
It’s telling too that many of the club’s detractors, particularly those of a green persuasion, were publicly banking on a Hearts victory and would’ve had their Saturdays suitably disrupted by Rangers dumping Robbie Neilson’s side.
The result also heaped the pressure on Celtic, who almost broke under it against Motherwell, with Reo Hatate coming to the rescue and Calum McGregor seeing red to prevent a late Steelmen equaliser.
Their 2-1 victory was unconvincing and gone from the Parkhead side is the early-season sheen that had Ange Postecoglou’s team blowing everyone in Scotland away.
It’s too premature to say that Rangers have absolutely turned a corner, but with players and confidence returning, it’s fair comment to suggest Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s team have certainly started indicating.
If the Ibrox side can shift up a gear ahead of the World Cup break in November, then all the signs are the Scottish Premiership title race is really only just getting started.