That ridicule was especially fuelled by their surprise draw when St Mirren went to Easter Road and left with a point, especially given Ian Murray’s men’s lowly position in the table.
However, events since that unexpected result have given further credence to the view that Rangers’ title chances have a real threat on their hands, with Mark Warburton only too well aware his adversary Alan Stubbs has begun to cultivate a winning team and one which is benefitting from an extra season of building over their Ibrox counterparts.
At a basic level we can point to the result at Easter Road – while Rangers did not play diabolically by any means, they were second best on the day – and sure, a bit of luck did help Hibs keep their guests out bar that one fortuitous deflected goal, but ultimately they were worthy winners over the 90.
And if we look more deeply at their fortunes since St Mirren held them, their results have been, frankly, better than Rangers’. They put away Dundee United, on top of defeating then-SPL top side Aberdeen earlier in the season, and have scored 21 goals in their past 8 games to Rangers’ 18, conceding 6 goals to Rangers’ 7.
Rangers were well beaten by their SPL opponents St Johnstone and the reality has to set in for Rangers fans sometime soon that while their side has a game in hand, Hibs’ victory over Livingston this week has put them within only two points of the lead.
From the 11 it could have been, 9 have been whittled down and Rangers must travel to Almondvale and win in order to keep their title rivals at arm’s length.
Even the recent stroll v Alloa has to be put in context given Falkirk in third breezed even more emphatically against the Wasps since then to the tune of 5-0.
Complacency and arrogance have potential to be Rangers’ undoing – fans, myself included, who believed after the incredible start enjoyed that Rangers would stroll to the title have to now respect the fact it just is not going to be that easy.
Falkirk and Hibs are now serious rivals – even 6 points over Houston’s men is no foregone conclusion.
Warburton will know this only too well, and the hope now is Rangers go on a convincing run, catalysed by the confidence-building coast v Alloa, and start to build up momentum.
Because Rangers are not going to bestride home to Ibrox with the title like a colossus with something to spare – it is going to be a real battle and it is time Rangers fans accepted the threat Hibs especially now pose.