Former Rangers forward Ronald de Boer insists his old team need to show patience as they try to build a squad that can match runaway leaders Celtic.
The Dutchman won the top-flight title with the Ibrox club in 2003 during his four-year spell in Scotland and hopes the club’s fans do not have to wait long to see the current squad become champions once more.
Rangers are already 27 points adrift of their Glasgow rivals at the summit and the weekend’s home draw with Ross County added to the pressure on manager Mark Warburton.
The gulf between the clubs off the pitch was also highlighted on Monday when Celtic announced that their yearly profits had risen to a staggering £18.6 million.
But retired 67-times capped Netherlands international de Boer hopes Rangers persevere with their bid to narrow the gap.
He said: “They’re struggling but it’s also something you have to be patient.
“It’s the first time back for Rangers in the Premiership after a few years of trouble and difficulty.
“But they have come back and now you have to be patient.
“They have such a big support and I hope the people, the manager and everybody is patient.
“They have a young team and hopefully they can get going next year and everything will be fine.”
De Boer, meanwhile, insists he has been blown away by former Celtic defender Virgil van Dijk’s impact at Southampton after leaving Parkhead in a £13 million deal in summer 2015.
Before picking up a recent ankle injury, the centre-half had been linked with moves to Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City.
Speaking to Talksport, de Boer added: “He has made a transition in a positive way.
“Under Ronald Koeman at Southampton he made unbelievable progress and now this year he is one of the top defenders in the Premier League.
“When he was at Groningen he did OK, he was physical, but we Dutch men always want defenders to play the ball to the same colour and that is something we thought was not his best thing. But now he does that.
“His passing is excellent but, most importantly, his defending is outstanding. He is showing it week in, week out in one of the toughest leagues in the world.”