“Without sounding arrogant, I don’t play football just to be another number. I play to win and to score. I want to be the best. This is what I’ve worked so hard for.”

On his first start in 16 months in Dingwall, Kemar Roofe highlighted how important he can be to Rangers this season. Earlier this summer, serious doubts lingered over Roofe’s future at Ibrox but it would now be a surprise if he didn’t start the first Old Firm of the season on Sunday. 

Roofe has endured a challenging time with injury, but he spoke positively about his fitness after a goalscoring return against County.

In his pre-match press conference, Beale insisted that he viewed Roofe as a ‘starter’ and reiterated the high regard that he holds the versatile attacker in post-match, labelling him ‘a leader in the group.’ 

“Yes I do,” Beale said last week when asked if Roofe could nail down a starting role. “That was the plan anyway and every team needs three number nines. We have Cyriel Dessers, Danilo, Kemar and others who can play there. 

“I think Abdallah’s strongest position is probably as a number nine but we can play both sides. Sam has played there previously. You have to make a call with Kemar because he won’t be able to play three games in a week right now.” 

Roofe’s quality is unquestionable and he demonstrated that throughout an encouraging hour in the Highlands. The Jamaican is an extremely intelligent footballer, who produced an inventive finish to open the scoring.

READ MORE: Rangers win legal fee battle with American Kyle Fox

Roofe looked second best to get contact on Borna Barisic’s cross but he used his body well to unsettle the Ross County defender before executing an acrobatic finish. Beale insisted it was "a goal that probably only Kemar scores in our squad" as he maintained that Roofe is a "focal point" for Rangers. 

Roofe’s ability has never been in question but his inability to remain fit was a huge source of frustration last season. The 75 minutes Roofe has played in recent weeks is already more than half his total minutes across six appearances last season. 

It’s almost impossible to emphasize the difficulties that footballers experience when they are prevented from doing their job due to injury, and Roofe expressed this sentiment after making his return. 

“I can’t put into words how tough it’s been,” he said on his injury problems. “If I explained it all, you wouldn’t understand it unless you’ve been through it. But I’m not here for sympathy or to complain. It’s part of the game, it’s life. Hopefully, this will be the last of it and I can kick on now.”

Recency bias is increasingly prevalent when judging footballers, but it’s important to remember that Roofe made 36 appearances in each of his first two seasons at Rangers. Roofe remains the most instinctive finisher at the club and memorable goals against Celtic, Braga, Aberdeen and Standard Liege should act as a reminder of his ability to contribute on big occasions. 

It’s undeniable that any judgment of the forward is clouded by fitness doubts, but those will dissipate if he can avoid injury. His biggest task is to get people talking about his ability on the pitch, rather than the frequency that he’s on the treatment table. 

There have been signs of optimism recently and Roofe is in strong contention to start against Celtic. Beale has revamped Rangers’ attacking options this summer and it’s led to a revolving front three across the starts of the season. 

The manager has deployed seven different combinations across his front three in Rangers’ eight games He’s only named the same trio in consecutive games once - when Cyriel Dessers, Danilo and Sam Lammers started against Servette at home and against Livingston. 

The expectation was that the three new arrivals would form Rangers’ strongest attack, but that's not yet come to fruition. Predicting Rangers’ front three has been an unenviable task and it’s difficult to ascertain the pecking order in attacking areas. 

“I think naturally things will settle down,” Beale replied when asked about his ever-changing attack on Friday. “With the League Cup being so early in the season, it was a natural moment to give people a chance to play so we made a lot of changes in that one. Kemar being fit, probably a little bit ahead of schedule and his form in training and his leadership qualities, I wanted him to play last week. 

“There have been changes for different reasons. Over time you will see a much more settled team, for sure, and it is important that people make the shirt their own. You are right in that the positive point is that all the players have scored and contributed. They can all do more and I think over the season they will show more.”

Roofe started on the left of Rangers’ front three against Ross County and his excellent movement will be an asset against Celtic if he starts. Beale has favoured the physical attributes of Dessers recently and there’s merit in playing the Nigerian against what has been a makeshift Celtic defensive partnership recently. 

Scrutiny around Danilo will only accelerate if he’s consigned to the bench on Sunday, after failing to start in either leg against PSV. Rangers invested a considerable outlay to bring the Brazilian to Glasgow but his continued omission from the starting eleven has raised eyebrows. 

Ultimately, Beale possesses attacking options with different profiles and that’s in stark contrast to the attackers at his disposal last season. Fashion Sakala, Antonio Colak, Alfredo Morelos and Ryan Kent all departed this summer and Beale refreshed that area of his squad. 

The jury remains firmly out on his new additions, but a revitalised Roofe could hold the keys to Rangers entering a two-week break in a positive mindset.