Barry Ferguson questions Rangers mentality as icon admits 'patience wearing thin' with flops

Barry Ferguson admits he's struggling to defend Rangers after their dismal results against Ross County and Dundee left them scrapping to stay in a title race.

The Ibrox icon had classified his old club as favourites as recently as a few weeks ago before their recent collapse left them three points behind Celtic with a game at Parkhead to come and no fixtures in hand left. It's a tough position they now find themselves in and Ferguson has been left questioning the players' mentality.

The Scottish Cup semi-final this weekend vs Hearts must still be won and victory in that one could bring back some much needed confidence in the squad and, indeed, in manager Philippe Clement.

But Ferguson insists his own patience is wearing thin despite his love for the club and his optimism for their success.

"No one enjoys having to admit when they’ve got it wrong," he wrote in his Daily Record column. "So what I’m about to write won’t be easy. But a couple of weeks ago I didn’t just make a mistake in this column - I ignored all my instincts and threw caution to the wind when I predicted Rangers would go into the post split fixtures five points clear at the top of the table and on their way to the title.

"In my own defence, I did add that football does have a habit of biting you on the bum if you start taking anything for granted. So now here I am, with teeth marks all over my backside, trying to work out what the hell has just happened over the course of the last fortnight. And the truth of the matter is it’s getting very difficult for me to try to defend the indefensible where my old club’s recent results and performances are concerned.

"Let’s just say I was almost lost for words on Wednesday when I watched them lose another two precious points in Dundee and it left me feeling so down that I struggled to get a decent night’s sleep.

"But, like the fans who made the journey to Dens Park the other night and who vented their anger on the final whistle, I must admit that even my own patience is starting to wear a bit thin. I’d imagine Philippe Clement will be feeling much the same way. Because, having worked so hard for so long to drag themselves back into the thick of a title fight, Rangers are now in danger of allowing the season to slip through their fingers. And that’s simply not good enough.

"It also raises a lot of unwanted questions about the mentality of some of these guys and about the strength of their character and desire. Every man and his dog have had something to say about it over the last 48 hours. Are they prepared to go that extra mile and fight and scratch for the badge on their chest? Or do they not really have the stomach for it?

"The good news is we’ll soon find out because there will be absolutely no hiding place for any of them over the remaining weeks of the campaign. We’re all about to see in front of our own eyes how much - or how little - it means to them. The first 45 minutes against Celtic can be dismissed as a bit of a freak. As I learned myself, strange things can happen on Old Firm day. That they dug deep and clawed their way back to earn a 3-3 draw from the derby restored a sense of confidence.

"But to follow that up with the kind of lacklustre performances they’ve produced at Ross County and Dundee? At such a monumentally important stage in the season? I honestly can’t get my head around it.

"Not only will they have to beat Celtic at Parkhead on May 11 but they’re also going to have to score more goals than them and maybe hope for someone else to do them a turn or two along the way. And that’s a horrible position for them to find themselves in when they should have been in a commanding position going into the final stretch."