Rangers issued an immediate response to critics following last week’s defeat in the first Old Firm derby of the season despite going behind at Hamilton.
Here are five other things we learned from the weekend’s Ladbrokes Premiership action.
1. Rangers put on a unified front – but for how long?
The build-up to the Light Blues’ clash at Hamilton on Friday was dominated by rumours of a dressing-room split following their Old Firm defeat, with Kenny Miller banished from the first-team squad following allegations he was responsible for leaking the news of boss Pedro Caixinha’s bust-up with his Scottish contingent. There seemed little doubt about where the loyalties of the Gers squad lay when Daniel Candeias led a swarm of players to celebrate with the manager after he scored during their 4-1 win over Accies, but there remains work to do at Ibrox.
2. Shell-shocked Craig Levein given a stark reminder of dugout pressures
When the former Scotland boss made his return to Hearts three years ago as director of football, he said it would allow him to focus on the aspects of coaching he enjoyed without having to deal with the stresses of management. Ian Cathro’s sacking, however, has forced him back into the dugout and it has not taken long for Levein to be given his first bitter taste since making his return. Kerr Waddell was twice left unmarked to head home at the end of each half in his side’s 2-1 defeat at Dundee. Those basic mistakes left Levein distraught and he could barely contain his disappointment after the Dens Park loss, with the phrases “tragic”, “shot ourselves in the foot” and “mind-blowing” all featuring in his post-match assessment.
3. John McGinn ready to step in for Scotland
With Scotland skipper Scott Brown and fellow Celtic midfielder Stuart Armstrong out of the World Cup qualifying double-header against Slovakia and Slovenia with injury, McGinn staked his claim for a place in Gordon Strachan’s side with a double in Hibernian’s 2-2 draw with Celtic at Parkhead. However, aside from the two terrific strikes, McGinn put in a fine display of pace, power and skill to show he deserves the chance to add to his four caps next week.
4. Lee McCulloch on the brink
Kilmarnock have made a poor start to the season and remain without a win in their first eight games, but more worrying was the performance of the players in a dismal 2-0 defeat at home to Ross County. McCulloch was left fuming with his players for an “embarrassing” performance and let them know in no uncertain terms, but refused to walk away from the manager’s role despite being on the receiving end of a torrent of abuse from the home support. However, he cut a defeated and frustrated figure after the game, and admitted supporters had every right to boo his side.
5. Aberdeen mean business
It was supposed to be a tough afternoon for Derek McInnes’ side as they hosted the unbeaten St Johnstone at Dingwall. However they produced an emphatic performance to inflict a 3-0 defeat on Tommy Wright’s men, with Adam Rooney claiming a hat-trick to move the Dons level on points with Celtic at the top of the league. It sets things up beautifully for a meeting between the two sides after the international break. Wright, meanwhile, claimed it was one of the worst performances in his time at the Perth club.