IT has been a case of functionality over flamboyance for Rangers this season as they bid for a fourth consecutive SPL title.
Ally McCoist's side have collected few marks for style thus far, but even the points that could mean prizes have been in short supply in their recent matches.
Prior to that stumble, the champions had been relentlessly assembling wins, though they were unable to produce much in the way of consistent, free-flowing football.
They did save their best showing of the season for the biggest occasion, but the crisp attacking play and clinical finishing that earned them an emphatic 4-2 win over Celtic in the first Old Firm derby of the season has not been replicated often enough.
The Light Blue defensive line has proven itself to be the most resolute and reliable in the top flight over the opening months of the title race.
But the challenge now is for the Gers' attacking arsenal, minus the hugely influential Steven Naismith, to prove they have the ammunition to fire the champions to another league crown.
Having seen his side struggle to break down St Mirren and St Johnstone at Ibrox and Kilmarnock on the road last weekend, dropping valuable points in the process, McCoist attempted to add a touch of flair to his forward line for the visit of Dunfermline last Saturday.
Gone, it seems, are the days of Sasa Papac and Maurice Edu patrolling the flanks, with Sone Aluko and Gregg Wylde pitched in to bring a spark to the Gers attack.
They may have required an own goal and a penalty to see off the Pars, but former Ibrox star Alex Rae reckons the signs are promising as Rangers bid to awake from their slumber.
"It was a good three points last Saturday for Rangers," Rae told SportTimes.
"I was at the St Johnstone game as well and they did struggle going forward, but I thought Saturday was a lot better in terms of creating chances.
"I thought Aluko gave them a different edge and a bit of spark. It got a bit tetchy towards the end, but I think Rangers thoroughly deserved to win, it was a lot better.
"When I saw the team prior to kick-off on Saturday, you could tell it was a lot more offensive than what it has been this season.
"It is an entertainment business and people want to see goals, they expect you to score three and four against the provincial clubs but it's not always the case.
"Ally had Aluko and Wylde on the flanks and I thought Steven Davis was terrific. He created a number of chances and set up Nikica Jelavic a few times.
"Rangers need the partnership between Davis and Jelavic to click consistently if they are to build up a bit of momentum."
Even with their more attack-minded line-up, there was to be no repeat of Rangers' 7-2 triumph in the League Cup over Jim McIntyre's men at Ibrox last season.
Despite seeing the home side surge into an early lead, McCoist and the Light Blue legions were forced to endure a fraught afternoon after Dunfermline hit back through Joe Cardle before half-time.
Young winger Wylde spoke of his surprise afterwards at sections of the Ibrox support becoming disgruntled as Rangers attempted to see the game out rather than push for further goals, but Rae insists there has to be a balance between entertainment and completing the job in hand.
He said: "It is about getting the points. Rangers were coasting at 2-0, but they allowed Dunfermline to get back into the game.
"You see the top teams seeing the game out because they know the points are the most important thing.
"If Dunfermline had gone on the counter-attack and scored again, the roof would have come off Ibrox.
"It is good to see young players taking the responsibility to see the game out and also knowing what to do in that situation."
With Rangers' lead over Celtic cut to just four points, the margin for error has decreased significantly for McCoist and his players as they enter the crucial festive period.
While the champions have struggled to find their rhythm in recent weeks, Celtic have put their early-season troubles behind them to rejuvenate their title bid.
That is no reason to panic for Rae, however, with the Ibrox squad well aware of what is required from them in the second half of the campaign.
Rae said: "It is only a few weeks since there was talk about Neil Lennon losing his job and there were question marks over Celtic.
"All of a sudden, Rangers have a couple of poor results and it is them who are under the spotlight.
"That is the beauty of the SPL, there is such intensity in the title race. Even a draw is considered a bad result. I had never experienced anything like that in my 14 years in England.
"It all adds to the mix and, with both of them getting a win last weekend, they have maybe earned a bit of respite from the criticism."