THEY say it is the sign of a good team when results are earned when they are not playing well.

Winning can also mask the deficiencies of a poor side, though.

There is no doubt what category Rangers fell into last night. Ally McCoist's side beat Falkirk 2-0 thanks to late goals from Lewis Macleod and Nicky Clark but to say the result was harsh on the Bairns is an understatement.

The victory will take some of the heat off McCoist and his players, but not much. This was another game, another performance, that raised more questions than answers.

In an ideal world, there is nobody other than McCoist the Rangers fans would like to see guide their side back to the SPFL Premiership but the goodwill towards the club's all-time record scorer and the man who didn't do walking away is beginning to wear thin.

Rangers went into their third competitive outing of the campaign not only in need of three points to get their bid for the Championship title off and running but requiring a much improved showing to satisfy a disgruntled support.

Expectation levels did not diminish when Rangers fell to the bottom tier of Scottish football but standards on the park have not increased sufficiently as they have made their way back up.

The pressure is on McCoist, and his under- performing players, to turn things around. It must be done quickly for all their sakes. The status quo will not do.

After poor showings against Hibernian and Hearts in the opening days of the season, the Light Blue legions who made their way to the Falkirk Stadium would have thought they couldn't see any worse from their team. They were wrong.

The first half wasn't exactly the worst 45 minutes of action on McCoist's watch, that list is too long and candidates need to dive to exceptional levels of disaster to even be considered, but it was too much for the fans who watched on, Rangers rightly booed off at the break. The positives could have been written on a fag pack with a bingo marker.

With a centre-back at right-back, a central defender in central midfield and a central midfielder at left midfield, it was no surprise that Rangers failed to find any rhythm and never got going. The concoction of a team got what they deserved as the bellows of frustration emerged from the stands.

It may have been goalless at the break but Rangers were lucky to get zero as Falkirk were left kicking themselves that they didn't head for the dressing room with at least one strike to their credit.

While keeper Cammy Bell was continually kept alert, his opposite number, Jamie MacDonald, could have sat in the stand with the Bairns fans. Rangers had two attempts at goal, long-range efforts from David Templeton and Nicky Law, neither of which threatened to make the net bulge and bring the away fans to their feet.

A lack of creativity has been Rangers' main problem in the opening hours of action this season and that was again evident last night, Templeton, Law and Macleod, jettisoned to the left flank rather than the right for a change, ineffective.

Kris Boyd and Kenny Miller have both spoken about the lack of cutting edge and nous in this Rangers team in recent days, Boyd admitting that he and his strike partner could do more to influence things.

But it is hard to have an impact when the ball is fired in your direction like a rock from a medieval catapult.

Boyd once again cut a frustrated figure at the head of a toothless attack while Miller didn't see the hour after suffering a hamstring injury. This is certainly not what the one-time prolific pairing had in mind when they signed on again this summer.

At the other end, McCoist has just as many problems to solve. Fans have become accustomed to Bilel Mohsni's eccentricities since he moved to Ibrox but the defender was the villain last night in an abject showing.

The stopper earned himself an extra couple of weeks off this summer following his red card shame against Derby during pre-season but clearly didn't spend the time wisely to sharpen up his passing. He found plenty of men in blue shirts. It was a shame Rangers were playing in red.

It was Mohsni who handed Falkirk their best chance of the first half, a slack header allowing Alex Cooper to advance on goal but when the striker dallied, Mohsni recovered just in time.

When Blair Alston curled a free-kick just wide, after Mohsni collected his obligatory booking, and Conor McGrandles saw a header saved, Falkirk must have begun to worry if the missed opportunities would cost them dear. In the end, they did.

Somehow, Rangers started the second half worse than they did the first as Peter Houston's side again looked the more likely to score, Alston's header scrambled away shortly after Bell pulled off a terrific save from a Cooper free-kick.

When Rangers finally did get a chance to sneak themselves into the lead, Lee McCulloch ballooned his effort over the bar before Clark headed straight at MacDonald from a Boyd cross.

As another two dropped points stared Rangers in the face, they got the break, and goal, they didn't deserve, Macleod's low shot taking a deflection and squirming into the bottom corner.

When Clark got the final touch on a Macleod corner, flicked on by Law, the points were secured and the job was done for Rangers.

The inquest will soon begin, though. And the outcome won't make pleasant reading for Rangers.