Barry Ferguson believes a defeat for Rangers at Ross County on Sunday would be “unthinkable”.
Pedro Caixinha’s side have made a disappointing start to the Scottish Premiership campaign and already trail rivals Celtic by five points after just three games.
Ferguson told the Daily Record: “Falling eight points behind Celtic and Aberdeen with only four league games played and an international break looming? Unthinkable.
“Rangers must not head into the first Old Firm game at Ibrox on September 23 any further behind than the five-point gap and must also pray Celtic drop at least a couple of points between now and then.
“On current form that looks unlikely, but Rangers can only control their own business – that’s why a win at the Global Energy Stadium is an absolute must.
“They can play like Real Madrid or scrap like Conor McGregor, but the only thing on the minds of the Ibrox players should be a win, any which way they can.”
The former Rangers captain admitted that judging Caixinha after three games was unfair, but he believes fans will quickly lose patience if results don’t improve.
“It’s still too early to rush to judgment on the potential for the long-term success of Pedro Caixinha at Ibrox, but it’s fair people will begin to form valid opinions on the progress he’s making after the first quarter of the campaign,” he added.
“Pedro has a style of attacking football that’s pleasing on the eye, but has been at Ibrox long enough now to know the first, last and everything for Rangers is winning.
“He’s been working with most of this group since the start of June, longer than many other managers in the country with their squads.
“Sure, every coach would prefer more time but that’s a commodity that’s never been in abundance at Ibrox. The demands of the fans are simple – just win.
“Rangers can bite, scratch and put in their worst performance of the season against the Staggies so long as they leave Dingwall on Sunday with a win.
“It’s time for Rangers to step up. With respect to County, Caixinha has better quality at his disposal – and the pressure is on them to show it.