ATTACK from the back and defend from the front.

It is the philosophy that Mark Warburton has implemented at Rangers and the message he has tried to convey in public as criticism has mounted in recent weeks.

The defensive deficiencies of his side were well known last term and the Ibrox boss has yet to find an answer to the problems that have plagued Rangers in the Premiership.

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At the other end of the park, a lack of cutting edge has also cost the Light Blues as a handful of points have been shipped and a harsh reality has hit their title dreams.

Warburton may have added eleven players to his squad over the summer but many fans are unconvinced that he has strengthened a back four that came under the spotlight in the Championship.

The arrivals of Clint Hill and Philippe Senderos gave Warburton options but there is no stand-out pairing at present as Danny Wilson and Rob Kiernan also bid for a starting berth.

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The focus – sometimes rightly and sometimes wrongly - always shifts to the heart of the Gers defence when soft goals are conceded and points are dropped.

But former Ibrox skipper Craig Paterson insists it should be a team effort as Rangers look for the improvement needed across the park to allow them to climb the top flight standings.

“I hate when people talk about the defence and blame everything on them,” he said.

“A lot of the goals Rangers have conceded have been from set pieces. That means that midfielders and forwards come back and mark in the box and you lose goals when players drop their men.

“But defenders carry the can because people look at the goals against column and decide that the back four or the goalkeeper are the problems. Everyone in the team has to do their job defensively.

“I know 0-0 would never be considered a good result for Rangers at home to Ross County but they got a shut-out, kept a clean sheet against Queen of the South and then played well up at Aberdeen.

“That was their best performance of the season at a really difficult place to go. But the result was missing and it is about turning those performances into results.

“At the weekend against Thistle they got another shut-out, so defensively they look to be moving in the right direction.

“Whether the manager knows his best back four right now, I’m not sure.

“In the last few weeks there seems to be an improvement and that is certainly good news for the manager because there are big games on the horizon.”

Rangers may only be eight fixtures in to their Premiership return but Warburton has already tried out several combinations as he looks to find the spark his side needs.

After successive clean sheets against County and Queens, the Gers lost two goals at Pittodrie before Warburton was forced to change his line-up again on Saturday.

It saw Senderos return to the side for the first time since his Old Firm debut to forget and it has been a difficult start to life in Glasgow for the Swiss stopper.

The 31-year-old was a deadline day arrival at Ibrox but only time will tell if the final piece of the jigsaw will make a perfect picture for the Gers.

Paterson said: “I would imagine that right through the summer they were trying to get centre halves in but it is difficult to get the right players at the right price.

“People up the ante when Rangers are involved and they still need to be getting value for money. They can’t afford to just splash cash on players left, right and centre.

“The work would have been tireless over the summer but it didn’t happen for them and they got Philippe Senderos in.

“His CV shows he has played at the top level but then it is a matter of getting him in and fit and settled into the side. It is difficult to get up to speed quickly. He has played at a high level but it is about getting that sharpness you need.

“Not having a settled back four is a hindrance to the manager because most of the teams that are successful have that foundation of a regular back five and the goalkeeper and the defence stay the same from week to week.

“You build off that base and you work from there. Last season, it rarely changed for Rangers and you could name eight or nine every week.

“The back four was left virtually untouched but this season Mark hasn’t been able to field the same back four three or four games in succession. It is a problem at the start of the season.”

It has been a frustrating campaign so far for Warburton as Rangers have failed to fire in some fixtures and been left with nothing to show for their efforts in others.

Victory over Thistle moved the Light Blues up to fifth spot in the Premiership but they remain seven points adrift of Celtic in the title race.

Old Firm hostilities will be renewed in the League Cup after the Premiership trip to Inverness as Rangers look to kick-start their season.

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Paterson said: “Nobody is going to say never and that you can’t win the league because you have got to believe that it can happen for you.

“But Celtic don’t look like they are going to give much away so you are going to have to go on a wonder run.

“For a team coming out of the Championship, and without the ability to spend a lot of money, I think the target would be to mirror what Hearts did last season when they came up and finished third.

“I know Rangers’ aspirations will be above that but that will be something to look at. Rangers want to try and stay as close to Celtic as they can and then see what happens.

“They have to prove they can compete in the Premiership and then build towards a title challenge next year or the year after. It is small steps and Rangers are still a work in progress.

“The cup ties are massive for Rangers. They will want to win a trophy this season and the cups will be a major target. But they will never give up on that league challenge.”