Former Rangers defender Craig Paterson believes that between now and the end of the season Ally McCoist will get a glimpse of the players who really want to bust a gut for the club.

It is essentially a meaningless canter between now and the end of the campaign for McCoist's side who can clinch the title as early as the end of March.

With no involvement in the cup competitions, it is a long stretch of road that lies ahead.

And Paterson believes that now is the time for the Rangers players to display the same loyalty that the supporters have shown over the course of what has been something of a surreal campaign.

"It's hard because there is no real motivation there," he said. "So I do have some sympathy for the players.

"They know that there is no danger of anything other than a straightforward title win so it is tough to go into every game with your tail up and playing as though your life depends on it.

"But when you have crowds of 46,000 turning up to see a Third Division game against Queen's Park, you have no option but to try and impress.

"The Rangers fans have been incredible this season. They have gone to every ground, they have turned up every other week at Ibrox and they have stuck by the club in what has been a horrendous time for everyone.

"This is the time now when Ally gets to see who really wants it.

"This is when they still need to be out there and trying to do it, trying to pull off the clever touches and hitting the net with the impressive strikes.

"The supporters deserve to see the same level of application and commitment that they would if they were fighting for any other title."

Part of the problem for Gers is that there is no immediate relief on the horizon.

The summer will not bring much respite from their current issues, and with a transfer embargo in place until the beginning of September, there will be no real source of excitement for quite some time.

League reconstruction talks will be watched with interest by the club who have been vociferous in their opposition to the proposals.

Paterson believes it is highly unlikely that the discussions will reach fruition, but at the same time it is likely that Rangers will have to serve their time in the lower leagues and work their ticket back to the top.

"When Fiorentina were relegated to the fourth division in Italy, they won promotion and then skipped a league, if I recall correctly," said Paterson.

"They went into the Second Division but it looks as though Rangers will have to serve their time.

"And right now, I just don't know how that leaves everyone. The bottom line is that wherever Rangers go, they bring money.

"There are a few clubs in the top flight who would love to have the kind of revenue that a game against Rangers brings but that opportunity just isn't there.

"For the good of the game they need to be back to the top as soon as possible – and everyone benefits from it.

"But it isn't going to happen soon. Which is why the current group of players need to keep their eye on the big picture.

"These are the guys who are going to be charged with getting the club back up to where they belong and they need to keep in mind what that will do for their own standing in the eyes of supporters."