IN a football environment and a city where equilibrium can never be reached, there will always be an imbalance of positives and negatives.

Steven Gerrard could have chosen to rhyme off his achievements as he confronted the latest setback for Rangers.

He knows as well as anyone, though, that all the improvements, all the impressive performances and results matter little at this moment in time.

He has beaten Celtic, taken his side to a cup final and reached the knockout rounds of the Europa League. He has overhauled the squad and the environment in which they work as standards have been raised. But, there is a but.

“That’s not enough,” Gerrard said as he reflected on the defeat to Kilmarnock that has seen his side fall ten points adrift of Celtic in the Premiership title race. “Is it harsh? No. That’s the reality.

“That’s Rangers. That’s what I have to live with. That’s what I signed up for and it’s fine.

“I didn’t for one minute think this was always going to be fantastic and I’d be going home with a smile on my face all the time. I knew there would be periods when the heat would be on, pressure would be on. Periods when I have more thinking to do and it’s maybe not as enjoyable as the times when everything is fine.

“I knew I was going to have those periods, certainly in the early stages.

“It’s a bit of a surprise on the evidence of the first six months. But I didn’t think at the start of the season that we were going to be consistent from start to finish and just win everything on offer."

Losing to Hearts and drawing with Aberdeen was hugely damaging for Rangers.

The defeat at Rugby Park was, for many, the last blow in Gerrard's title ambitions.

It is rare that fans have questioned the 39-year-old. He won't seek to patronise with pointless platitudes.

“Listen, I don’t want to tell the fans they have to do anything,” Gerrard said.

“The fans need to keep being the fans because they are an extremely top set of supporters. They always have been and they always will be.

“My job is to make sure this team gets them back smiling and happy again.

“We did that for six months, but in this game you don’t get rewards for that – unless you win a League Cup, which we were extremely close to doing.

“We made them happy by bringing back European football after Christmas, but our form domestically in the league has let them down.

"There is no way to dress that up. It’s the reality.

“Our performances haven’t been where they were and we have lost a bit of rhythm. The message to the fans is: I’m on it and I’m going to do everything I can to make them smiling and happy again.”

The fall-out from midweek has seen everything from Gerrard's team selection to his tactics, his players' performances to their mentality, be questioned.

Rangers have toiled since the winter break and the Old Firm victory seems such a long time ago for supporters that, once again, feel demoralised as another title seemingly slips away from their grasps.

Gerrard won't allow that mindset to infiltrate his squad and he remains as determined and committed as ever.

“Not at all,” Gerrard said when asked if his hunger to deliver success had diminished. “Setbacks as a player always gave me an opportunity to react, improve and prove people wrong.

“I expect my players to do the same. As a manager, it makes me even more determined. If I go on a running of winning six, I will still be as hungry as if I have a run of six that are indifferent.”

If Rangers are to retain any belief in the league, their fortunes must change when Livingston visit this afternoon.

While Gerrard's side have struggled, Celtic have recorded eight successive wins since returning from Dubai.

A change in formation has played a part in that run as levels have risen at Parkhead.

Gerrard has tinkered with his approach at times but he needs more from his players.

“I think that is normal and I think that has come off the back of us beating them,” he said of Celtic's tactical alterations. “Sometimes that is what you have got to do.

“We have tried to tweak and alter certain things but it hasn’t happened for us just yet. That is their business and what they do. We are open to trying to tweak and change and trying to find a solution to make us better.

“Whether that is a personnel or formation, we are trying.

“We have progressed, I said that before. The players at times this season have overachieved and have surprised us at times. Progression is good, it is positive, but sometimes it is not enough.”