THE goals that Ryan Kent has scored this term tell the story of his mixed season, and of Rangers' ultimately unsuccessful campaign.

The strikes - just eight in total - have come in some significant moments but there has not been enough of them for Steven Gerrard's most expensive summer recruit.

The debate about whether Rangers are getting value for the £7million they paid Liverpool on deadline day has been going on almost since he put pen-to-paper.

Kent has often dismissed the notion that the fee added extra pressure on him ahead of his second term at Ibrox, but there is no doubt that more is expected from the winger because of the cash that Rangers parted with.

When questions have been asked about Kent’s performances and his return, Gerrard has been passionate in his defence. He also demands more, though, partly because Rangers certainly need it and partly because he knows that Kent is capable of posting better numbers and of becoming an even greater threat in the final third.

The injury he sustained on his debut against Livingston got the campaign off to a false start and it took until November for Kent to open his account. When he did, his two goals against Hamilton turned and won the game. A week later, he netted the decisive second goal as Rangers eased to a 5-0 win over Hearts and momentum was built.

It was Kent that opened the scoring as Hibernian were swept aside, before he set the Gers on their way to the Old Firm victory that should have been the foundation for a title challenge this term.

That, of course, hasn’t materialised and Kent found himself under the spotlight as Rangers’ season unravelled and their silverware ambitions were ended. Another goal against Hearts couldn’t prevent Gerrard’s side suffering a defeat that was the beginning of the end for their Premiership ambitions.

The criticism from outside during that period was justified. Regardless of the fee, Rangers were not getting enough of an attacking return from a player that was capable of so much better.

That is what Kent delivered in Braga. His fine finish that won the tie for Rangers was one of the moments of the season and one which ensured Gerrard still has European ambitions as attentions turn to the visit of Bayer Leverkusen this week.

It is a tie that Rangers can approach on the back of a victory and Kent will surely have had his confidence boosted after hitting the winner against Ross County.

Kent was switched to the right of the forward line following a second half reshuffle and it was from that side that he would cut in and hit the shot that took a deflection and beat Ross Laidlaw to clinch the points.

Gerrard had been keen to get Rangers in one v one situations down that flank and Ianis Hagi was withdrawn from his right berth. When Jordan Jones was introduced, he went to his more natural left side and Kent made an instant impact when he moved over.

Gerrard said: “Ryan got the winner and that’s good for him and I’m pleased that he took the challenge on at half-time because some players feel sorry for themselves and others stand up to the challenge, and he did.”

When Kent scored in Braga, it was not unreasonable to suggest he would net Rangers’ next goal. Few would have believed it would come after Gerrard’s side had failed to score against Hearts and Hamilton, right enough.

The 23-year-old has provided some big moments in big games for Rangers but he has not contributed consistently enough overall.  His stats don't compare favourably to those the likes of Ryan Christie and James Forrest have recorded and his comments about being underdogs post-match in Braga feed into questions surrounding the mentality of some of Gerrard's players.

Kent is almost symptomatic of Rangers this season. The finest outings earn plaudits and offer hope of more to come, but the levels haven’t been hit with the regularity that has been required.

He is still serenaded by supporters to the tune of a Joy Division hit but there will be no silverware for fans to sing about this season.

That cannot, of course, be blamed just on Kent but, like many of Gerrard’s players, he should look back at recent weeks with regret and question his contribution.

The matches with Leverkusen and Celtic are the kind of stages that bring out the best in Kent and it would be no surprise if he rises to the challenge but standards must be maintained going forward. He needs to tear teams apart again, and again.