THE clock on the scoreboard at Ibrox ticked into an 18th minute and it was already a case of job done for Rangers.

At that stage, Livingston must have been fearing the worst, but an afternoon that could have quickly become demoralising turned into something of a non-event.

Rangers had started with a purpose and were 2-0 up thanks to goals from Joe Aribo and Jermain Defoe. The points were earned, but Steven Gerrard’s side still had time to make one as well.

Rather than be content with two, the chance was there to go and score three, four, five, or more. It would not have been the intention to pile the misery on Gary Holt and his players, but rather to send another signal of their intentions in the title race and extend their goal difference advantage over Celtic on the day they moved six points clear in the Premiership.

It is a situation Rangers have found themselves in on several occasions this season and - the away games to Livingston and Hibernian aside - it must be the source of the only real frustration that Gerrard has right now.

When Rangers recorded their biggest home league win of the campaign to date, Gerrard was asked about the prospect of his side becoming even better, especially in the final third.

“We are not relentless yet, we haven’t been relentless yet,” he said after the 4-0 win over Dundee United as Ryan Kent, James Tavernier, Kemar Roofe and Scott Arfield netted.

“If there is one criticism or area where we can improve, it is to be more ruthless over the course of the games we have played so far. Today, we showed signs we could have gone on to get five or six. But if you look at the games collectively, once we get Itten 100 per cent, Roofe 100 per cent, Alfredo 100 per cent, then I think it could be interesting.”

The time when it could indeed be interesting cannot be that far away. All three of those strikers are now fit and available to Gerrard, while Defoe proved that he is still more than capable of playing his part with a lovely finish to clinch the win on Sunday.

This is a Rangers squad that should not be short of goals this season and developing that killer touch and ruthless edge is one of the main improvements that has to be made in the coming weeks.

Once they really click, the majority of sides will certainly find them too slick and too clinical to deal with as threats and goals arrive from every area.

Rangers are no longer reliant on their strikers and there are goals and assists coming from across the park. Tavernier is back in the scoring groove, Ryan Kent has added the numbers he has always desired to his game and the likes of Arfield, Aribo and Ianis Hagi are more than capable of chipping in to supplement the four attackers that Gerrard has at his disposal.

Early breakthroughs are crucial for Rangers and that is something they have done well this term. In fact, Roofe’s 50th minute opener against Kilmarnock is the longest Rangers have had to wait to score their first goal in any Premiership win this term.

That is certainly a welcome improvement and a sign of how effective an attacking force Rangers are at times. If only they could finish games with the same intensity.

Rangers have been thoroughly impressive for large swathes of the campaign, but the relentlessness that Gerrard spoke of has yet to really materialise in their performances. It is certainly there in terms of the results, and the momentum that has been earned must now be capitalised on as they look to prove their title credentials.

Given the exertions of the days that they had just successfully come through, it was perhaps no surprise that Rangers were content with two goals and three points against Livingston.

The wins over Celtic and Standard Liege had clearly taken a lot out of Rangers physically and mentally and any week that ends with an Old Firm victory, away win in Europe and comfortable Premiership success cannot be grumbled at right now.

Given how comfortably and early the game was won, it is perhaps nitpicking to criticise Rangers for not going on to win by four or five. That would have sent out a different message but Gerrard will be content with the victory.

While the sluggish second half can be understood on this occasion, there have been other times when Gerrard’s side really should have hit the goal trail.

Ahead through Ryan Kent’s 21st minute strike at Aberdeen, Rangers laboured to victory on the opening day of the season. Again, they were rarely in danger, but the win wasn’t as convincing as it could have been at Pittodrie.

A lack of cutting edge cost Gerrard’s side their first two points of the campaign a fortnight later as an insipid attacking showing ensured that Livingston would battle their way to a goalless draw.

When Hibernian snatched a point, Rangers were once again left to rue missed chances to kill the game off. On that day, rare defensive lapses also contributed to the problems.

Hamilton somehow got away with a 2-0 defeat as Gerrard’s side squandered several glaring openings, while Ross County should have been well beaten before Brandon Barker netted with two minutes left.

Even the Old Firm game was there to be won by a greater margin. Once again, it was a job well done for Rangers on the day, though, and the points will always be the most important aspect for Gerrard.

Rangers certainly have other gears to move into and Gerrard won't stop demanding improvements from his side. But he has yet to see Rangers at their ruthless and relentless best.