Rangers sit third in the league table after a reasonably good start to the season, but one which shows there is still room for improvement.
The January transfer window will be around soon enough, and clubs will already be making plans as to which players they can move for when the winter window opens.
Here are five SPL-based players Rangers could look at in order to improve their squad, and at the same time weaken those of their opponents.
Louis Moult – Motherwell
Motherwell’s English forward has been scoring regularly at the start of the new season and already has five goals in eight games. If he continues at this rate he will better the 18 goals he scored in 34 games in all competitions last season, when he also added seven assists.
His performances in September earned him the league’s Player of the Month award, and he’s also been putting in some outstanding displays in the League Cup where he’s netted four goals and bagged one assist in five games, including a brace against Aberdeen in the quarter-finals.
The Well will meet Rangers in the semis later in October, where Pedro Caixinha’s side will get another chance to see the player first hand.
The 25-year-old Stoke-born forward will provide an alternative to Alfredo Morelos.
Jamie Walker – Hearts
Walker was a Rangers transfer target in the summer, but despite a late bid they were unable to get a deal done. Hearts described the situation as a stalemate, and weren’t happy with the “deadwood” being offered to them as part of the deal.
Rangers are expected to return for the attacking midfielder in January, and he would provide them with plenty of liveliness, industry and creativity in midfield and attacking areas.
Walker is a versatile player who finished last season with 13 goals and three assists playing primarily from the left wing. Though he’s yet to get off the mark this term as Hearts struggle to find goals and wins, he will still interest Rangers come January when they’re likely to return for him.
John Souttar – Hearts
The most recent Scotland squad contained no Rangers players, and though Lee Wallace has been called up in recent times the current national side lacks an Ibrox presence.
One player tipped for an international future, which may come quickly after the recent disappointment, is Hearts centre-back John Souttar.
The former Dundee United man has been a regular in Scottish youth teams and could come into the Rangers side as someone who’s a step ahead of their own Scottish centre-back hope, Ross McCrorie.
The 21-year-old is more experienced than his age suggests, having made his United debut at 16.
“His range of passing and his striking of the ball is exceptional. Everybody thinks he’s 24 because he’s been about so long but he’s only just turning 21,” said Hearts manager Craig Levein after their game against Partick Thistle.
“He’s got everything that’s needed and I think he’ll get tougher as he gets older and learns the position.”
Levein may have been inadvertently advertising his player to other clubs with his words of praise, and there will be interest from south of the border too. Souttar would definitely help bolster the Rangers defence, but would they be able to secure his signature?
Greg Taylor – Kilmarnock
Rangers captain Wallace currently has the left-back spot nailed down. But as he enters his thirties it may be good for the club to develop another player in the role, who can also fill in elsewhere or give Wallace a break in cup games.
The club’s other left-back, Welshman Declan John, is only on loan from Cardiff City. So the Govan club will need another option in the position when he returns to his parent club. Bedding in the 19-year-old Scotsman Taylor by signing him in January could be a good move.
He has played the majority of his games at left-back, but has also done a job on the right in the past. It will be important for him to continue to get a reasonable amount of playing time in the first team to aid his development, and he might even be able to do a job on the left of midfield.
Versatility always helps a young player, and Taylor is one whose performances suggest he’s up for the challenge. He’s a left-back who’s aware of defensive responsibilities, but also boast some good attacking traits, and recently scored a good goal for Scotland’s Under-21 side against Brazil.
Blair Spittal – Partick Thistle
Spittal, 21, is another player whose versatility could help him continue his improvement at the top level.
After joining Partick from Dundee United, the midfielder’s flexibility became as much a hindrance as it was an advantage. But with the help of his manager, Alan Archibald, he believes he’s found his best role.
“It’s all good being versatile but there comes a time when I need to nail down a position and become consistent in my performances,” he said.
“Before I signed, I spoke to the gaffer about where he saw me playing and we both agreed that I’m more of a wide man. He’s given me the opportunity to play there now and the freedom to express myself.”
This expression could be something which Rangers could find useful going forward, and Spittal has six goals and four assists from ten games so far this season, including one of each in the 2-2 draw with Caixinha’s men.