THE finishing line is still some way in sight but Rangers continue to take small steps towards it. Another game can be crossed off as another win was recorded.

The international break didn’t disrupt the momentum for Steven Gerrard’s side. In truth, very little has so far this season and victory over Aberdeen was as routine as they could have hoped for as they picked up where they left off.

This wasn’t as emphatic as the 8-0 hammering of Hamilton but this win – earned thanks to goals from Ryan Kent, Kemar Roofe, Scott Arfield and James Tavernier – was equally as important for Rangers. The two games that Celtic have in hand must be taken into account, but an 11-point lead is significant for Rangers, as is the manner in which they so impressively go about their business these days.

The opportunity to extend their advantage into double-digits at the top of the Premiership was one that Rangers couldn’t afford to pass up here. Yet the focus remains on what they do rather than the fortunes of their Old Firm rivals as they concentrate on themselves.

News of Celtic’s draw at Easter Road would undoubtedly have been warmly welcomed on Saturday afternoon, but it would have been redundant had Rangers not taken care of business at Ibrox. That is exactly what they did.

The one game at a time mantra may be used in somewhat cliched terms these days, but the messages that Gerrard emphasises are continually repeated by his squad. A change in mindset and raised levels of determination have been pinpointed this term and fixtures – even potentially tricky ones such as this – are approached with a calmness and confidence.

There is a different feel around Gerrard’s side right now and they are playing with an assuredness and composure that hints they could well go the distance this time around.

When matches like this are taken care of so professionally and relatively easily, it becomes difficult to keep the expectation and excitement levels in check but nobody at Ibrox, on or off the park, can afford to get ahead of themselves with so much work still to be done.

The game wasn’t quite won by the break, but Rangers were well on their way thanks to Kent – who should have opened the scoring inside four minutes as he was denied by Joe Lewis – and the ever-improving and impressive Roofe.

Supporters had eagerly anticipated seeing those two, fully fit and firing, alongside Alfredo Morleos in the Ibrox attack and they would get their wish here. While Morelos was a frustrating figure at times, those either side of him were superb in terms of their movement and vision, especially in the build-up to their respective goals 15 minutes apart.

The touch from Kent that saw him nutmeg Funso Ojo was terrific, as was the one from Roofe as he collected a dink over the top from Connor Goldson. Keeper Lewis was left helpless on both occasions but the goals were more than deserved for Rangers.

Kent’s strike took a deflection off Thomas Hoban and spun away from Lewis, while Roofe finished emphatically after some neat footwork to jink his way into the area.

They were decisive moments, but not the only impressive ones from Rangers as they moved the ball with purpose and were once again entertaining and exciting to watch.

Had referee Nick Walsh not inexplicably waved away penalty appeals when Ojo wiped out Roofe, the game could well have been beyond the Dons by the break.

The depleted ranks that Derek McInnes was able to field had grown into the encounter and threatened in sporadic spells. Sam Cosgrove and Ryan Hedges were denied from tight angles by Allan McGregor, while Goldson’s impeccably timed block denied Hedges as Rangers found themselves exposed.

The absences of Lewis Ferguson, Ross McCrorie and Connor McLennan had undoubtedly damaged Aberdeen’s chances here and the anger from McInnes was well-placed. His side were typically committed but were never going to cause Rangers any angst and deny them another Premiership win.

McInnes must have felt like his luck had run out before a ball was kicked thanks to the injury and Covid issues that he had to deal with. When Arfield made it three with a deflected strike that hit Shay Logan and left Lewis wrong-footed, the Pittodrie boss must have known it was just going to be one of those days.

There was nothing unlucky about the number 13 for Rangers just minutes later as Tavernier moved onto that tally for the season. Walsh spotted the infringement this time as Andy Considine wrestled Leon Balogun and Tavernier converted from the spot to emphasise Rangers’ dominance.

Further goals could, and should, have arrived for Rangers but they weren’t needed on this occasion as the points were comfortably collected. As habits go, it is the best one of all for Rangers.