But everything fell apart within 11 minutes of the start of the second half.
During that time, Norwich's two outstanding players, Darren Eadie and Ian Crook, created three goals which shattered Rangers' fragile morale.
Thereafter, the London side never had a realistic chance of recovery.
John Deehan, fast dispelling any doubts about his ability as Mike Walker's successor, readily admitted that Rangers had been in control. 'On the first 45 minutes we did not deserve to win,' he said. 'Rangers will be disappointed.'
They certainly were not up to that point. Even without the suspended Les Ferdinand they posed a much greater threat and went ahead when David Bardsley's throw to the near post was glanced on by Alan McDonald for Simon Barker, unchallenged, to finish off. But for Gunn's bravery against Devon White seconds later, it would have been 2-0.
'But in the second half,' Deehan continued, 'after a bit of an up-and-downer in the dressing room, we produced the commitment, effort and drive that had been apparent in our earlier performances.' In no one was this more evident than Eadie, the 19-year-old winger Deehan is grooming to step into Ruel Fox's shoes.
Goals by Mark Robins and Mike Sheron were each preceded by an electrifying burst by the youngster to leave Bardsley standing, capped by two excellent low crosses. In between came a splendid set-piece which was the highlight of the day.
Eadie won a free-kick against Bardsley 25 yards out. Crook, imaginative as ever, chipped over a surprised Rangers wall and Mark Bowen, sweeping in from the left, provided the perfect finish.
Rangers gave themselves renewed hope when Kevin Gallen, outpacing Rob Newman, lifted the ball over a stranded Gunn, but hope turned to despair almost immediately when White, unnecessarily lunging at a cross by Robins, turned the ball into his own net.Reuse content