By Emma Sanders

Mark Warburton’s side must finish the league as runners-up, or the manager could face the sack ahead of the new season says Keith Jackson.

Jackson, talking in his column in the Daily Record, says it’s crucial Rangers don’t fall even further behind rivals Celtic.

The Hoops lead the Scottish Premiership by nine points following their 1-0 victory against Aberdeen on Saturday, as Rangers moved into second place behind them.

Jackson says it is where Rangers must stay if Warburton hopes to retain his job after already losing two Old Firm derbies this season.

“Having clambered into the sanctuary of second place in the Premiership on Saturday with a timely romp over Kilmarnock, Warburton’s long-term job security will depend entirely upon him clinging onto it for dear life between now and May,” Jackson wrote in the Daily Record.

“He can forget about catching Celtic. That good ship Brendan [Rodgers] has long since sailed.

“Warburton’s single aim from now until the season ends is to see off challenges from Aberdeen, Hearts and St Johnstone to secure the runners-up spot in the league.”

Following Rangers semi-final cup defeat against Celtic last weekend, they recorded a fairly lack-lustre 1-1 draw against St Johnstone.

However, they burst back into life with a 3-0 routing of Kilmarnock on Saturday and Warburton will be hoping his side continue to produce similar performances during a troubling time.

The results have not been too disastrous for the Ibrox side but it is the gap between themselves and their Glaswegian rivals that has seemingly put their status into perspective.

Rangers’ next Premiership fixture is against Ross County this Sunday but their biggest game comes at the end of November against third-placed Hearts.

In other Rangers news, Chris Sutton has delivered this harsh title verdict for the Gers.