There has been so much cause to criticise the various casts of dubious characters who have occupied the Rangers boardroom over the last few years that at times, it almost didn’t seem fair to take aim at them. It was too easy, like shooting fish in an oak-panelled barrel.

As incompetence reigned, while misplaced hubris remained, those at the top of the Ibrox club didn’t so much as aid the club’s journey back to the top flight of Scottish football, as ensure that it hobbled there in spite of them with one arm tied behind its back and its legs tied together.

No matter who was in situ though, from Craig Whyte to Charles Green, the present day and in-between, the signing policy remained not only baffling in many cases, but so wasteful that Carlos Pena’s passing stats would stack up favourably in comparison.

Read more: Jamie Murphy says 'it's good to be home' as he closes in on move to Rangers

If I had a pound for every time someone mentioned to me way back in 2012, when Rangers started out on ‘the journey’ from what was then the Third Division to the Premiership of today, that it was the perfect opportunity for them to build a side for the future, I could have bought the club myself. It did happen more than once, mind.

It seemed like a no-brainer. Bring together the best young talent at the club from Scotland and beyond, augment them with a few experienced older heads, and build a side that by the time it reached the top flight, would be chock full of players who were coming into their prime with a bucketload of first-team football under their belts.

It was clear early on that this wouldn’t be the path the Rangers board of the time were looking to go down. Remember Ally McCoist’s double-signing of Francisco Sandaza and Kevin Kyle, with the hulking former Sunderland striker saying he had entered transfer negotiations by simply stating a “crazy figure”, and doing cartwheels (figuratively, of course) when Rangers offered a deal just a whisker short of it? The pair scored just five goals between them. In the fourth tier.

The next summer saw the likes of Ricky Foster, Nicky Law, Cammy Bell, Stevie Smith, Cammy Bell and Bilel Mohsni (shudder) arrive at the club. The expensive recruitment drive allowed Rangers to coast to the title unbeaten, but none of the players who were signed then remain at the club today.

The names brought in to bolster their push for promotion in their first season in the Championship were chiefly experienced heads, and while Kenny Miller and Darren McGregor were successful signings, Kris Boyd didn’t fare so well second time around, and Marius Zaliukas arrived towing a caravan behind him.

Read more: Jimmy Nicholl overjoyed as he returns to Rangers as assistant manager​

And don’t forget the five loanees recruited from Newcastle as Mike Ashley entered the fray, with the existence of Gael Bigirimana only confirmed when he popped up at Motherwell last summer, the team they lost out to in the playoffs that season.

Mark Warburton’s appointment and subsequent recruitment, which leaned on a pool drawn from the English lower leagues, seemed to be working well as Rangers won their first 11 games on their way to winning promotion to the top-flight at last.

Some hits, and some spectacular misses followed, the most obvious being the obscene amount of money wasted on Joey Barton, as Warburton tried to strengthen his hand. How he hoped to do that by signing Phillipe Senderos, only he would be able to tell you. And just shy of £2million on Joe Garner? Matron.

The money then entrusted to Pedro Caixinha last summer was, putting it politely, misguided. To put it another way, it was bonkers. Pena, Eduardo Herrera, Fabio Cardoso, Dalcio and even Bruno Alves, are unlikely to go down in the history books as all-time greats in the light blue.

But wait, could it be, after so many false dawns, that the so-called ‘banter years’ may be coming to an end? It is premature to say so, but it looks like some common sense has at last seeped into the recruitment department at Ibrox.

Read more: Jamie Murphy says 'it's good to be home' as he closes in on move to Rangers

The signing of Jamie Murphy, which should be finalised this afternoon, is a move that should be a good one for both player and club. Credit where it is due at long last to Graeme Murty, director of football Mark Allen, and yes, the Rangers board, for acquiescing to their interim manager’s request to get business done early in the window.

The investment is not insignificant, with the fee reported to be rising to north of £1million, but it seems to be a safer bet than any other they have backed in a long, long time. Murphy was an accomplished performer in the Scottish top-flight when at Motherwell, and he has improved his game, his physique and his athleticism since then.

Impressing in the Championship in England with Sheffield United and Brighton as recently as last season, he has found opportunities hard to come by after helping the Seagulls to the promised land of the Premier League, where the untold riches on offer saw him edged out of the first-team picture by £13million club record signing José Izquierdo.

There is no shame in that, however, and the general consensus among Brighton supporters is that he should have been given a chance to shine, and they are generally sad to see him go.

He is creative, quick, and at 28, in the prime of his career. In short, the type of player that Rangers should have been signing all along to complement their promising youngsters. he will improve them.

Despite his recent lack of first-team action, he isn’t coming to Rangers to wind down his career. His desire to succeed at the club is two-fold. Firstly, he is a lifelong Rangers supporter. That is no guarantee of success, of course, but at least he knows what the club and the expectations attached to playing there are all about.

Secondly, he is desperate to force his way into the Scotland squad, having been on the fringes of the national set-up under previous manager Gordon Strachan. Some wags may suggest he has sealed his place in the next squad simply by joining Rangers, but he will be coming up to show that he belongs at such a level, and start winning caps.

It is a good start for Rangers in the January transfer window. And if they continue in a similar vein, perhaps by following up their interest in Hamilton’s Greg Docherty, it could be a very good one indeed.