The Gers finished four points adrift of their arch rivals and there are a number of reasons why Gio van Bronckhorst’s men failed to get over the line.
A deep run in the Europa League could have diverted attention away from the top-flight, whilst injuries to key players like Ianis Hagi and Alfredo Morelos did not help.
At the end of the league season, strikers Morelos (11) and Kemar Roofe (10) were the only players in double figures for goals. The Gers lacked a third centre-forward to provide them with real competition, in the way that Jermain Defoe could have done at the peak of his Ibrox power.
The now-retired striker scored 32 goals in 74 games for Rangers, providing ten assists along the way, as he proved to be a useful player to call upon when needed. He had the quality to pop up with goals, as his record shows, and van Bronckhorst could do with his own Defoe.
Cedric Itten has not been that player as he has scored eight goals and managed three assists in 49 matches for the Light Blues since his move to Glasgow. He has not been an adequate option to provide competition for Morelos and Roofe at the top end of the pitch.
This is where Sunderland striker Ross Stewart could come in. He can finally replace Defoe at Ibrox and be the player to put the pressure on the existing forwards at the club to give van Bronckhort a much-needed boost in that part of the squad.
The Gers have been linked with a swoop for the Scottish number nine and he would be an excellent addition to the team.
He produced 26 goals and three assists in League One for the Black Cats this season as he has shown that he can be lethal in front of goal on a consistent basis, albeit that it is difficult to gauge the difference in quality between that and the Premiership.
He was dubbed as a player “who never gives up” by ex-Sunderland man Kevin Phillips and this suggests that he would work his socks off for the team. Couple this with his potential to be an outstanding goalscorer and you have a player who can finally replace Defoe and give van Bronckhorst a strong group of striking options to work with next season.
Therefore, the club must work hard to strike a deal with Stewart, if possible, as he would be an exciting, excellent, signing for the team.