Scottish football: Five things we learned at the weekend

James Maddison is congratulated by Aberdeen team-mate Shay Logan after his stunning free-kick against Rangers
James Maddison is congratulated by Aberdeen team-mate Shay Logan after his stunning free-kick against Rangers, which won the match for the Dons

BBC Scotland football commentator Rob Maclean continues his series assessing the key themes from the weekend's football action.

Rangers lack a cutting edge

Rangers need to find a killer instinct if their recovery from a stuttering start to the season is going to continue.

It's been their dubious defending which has attracted most criticism in the first few months of the campaign. And their frailties at the back were again laid bare on Friday night in Inverness when two free headers for Caley Thistle, right in front of goal, could have robbed Rangers of badly needed points.

The other glaring problem for Mark Warburton's team is an ability to put a game to bed when they're dominating the play.

After an early scare, Rangers controlled most of the first half in the Highland capital and Kenny Miller's 100th goal for the club was brilliantly taken. But they failed to capitalise on their superiority and 1-0 is a fragile advantage without defensive security.

Only four Premiership teams have scored fewer league goals than Rangers this season. That's an alarming stat for a team which creates so many chances.

Doran back for Foran's Inverness

Inverness look to have made a significant and much-needed addition to their squad without any splashing of cash.

The return of Aaron Doran after a succession of injuries is a welcome boost to Ladbrokes Premiership manager of the month for September Richie Foran whose summer signings appear to have added more quantity than quality.

Aaron Doran
Aaron Doran had a shot cleared off the line and delivered the perfect cross for Alex Fisher but his team-mate headed wide of the Rangers goal late in the game

It's when you recall that the teenage Doran was signed by Terry Butcher that you realise how long the former Blackburn winger's been with Caley Thistle. But, in nearly six years with the club, Aaron's started little more than 120 matches.

He's now looking to make up for lost time, steer clear of any more injury and recover some match sharpness. His 25 minutes off the bench against Rangers was encouraging and he very nearly created a late equaliser for Inverness.

For a team with little in the way of spending power the re-emergence of Doran as a key player would come as a big bonus.

James Maddison, Aberdeen's great entertainer

There's a Square Garden in New York which shares his name (OK, slightly different spelling) and, like this young Aberdeen midfielder, has a penchant for putting on a show.

James Maddison stepped out of the shadows at Norwich City and has grabbed centre stage at Pittodrie. The 19-year-old on-loan midfielder is clearly loving the limelight.

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Highlights: Aberdeen 4-0 Ross County

And he has a sense of occasion. He marked his first start for the Dons, only a month ago, with one of the goals which beat Dundee at Dens Park and the following weekend scored a spectacular late winner against Rangers.

The Aberdeen fans have fallen in love with Maddison. During Saturday's 4-0 defeat of Ross County, there was a ripple of applause from the home support virtually every time he was involved in the game.

His ability on the ball is sometimes mesmerising. We should enjoy him while we've got him in Scottish football.

Tell it like it is

After-match interviews quite often leave you scratching your head. Straight out of the technical area and plonked in front of a camera, some managers struggle to take a balanced view of what they've just seen.

You do wonder sometimes whether you were watching the same match, so one-sided is the appraisal you're listening to.

Ross County manager Jim McIntyre
Jim McIntyre's Ross County have scored only one goal in their last six matches

All of which makes Ross County gaffer Jim McIntyre a refreshing alternative to those managers who operate with tunnel vision when it comes to analysing the action.

He had no interest in trying to defend his player Tim Chow's red card at Pittodrie on Saturday which turned the game into mission impossible for the Dingwall team.

Nor should he have done, but there's a general openness and honesty about McIntyre's interviews which make you wish they were all like that.

The wise man at the tail of the bank

When the next big managerial vacancy crops up in Scottish football, surely Jim Duffy should have his name in the frame.

Morton manager Jim Duffy
Despite limited resources, Morton manager Jim Duffy has led his team into a Betfred Cup semi-final against Aberdeen at Hampden

Morton fans will hope he continues to operate under the radar but the success Duffy's had in the last couple of years at Greenock with limited resources won't have gone unnoticed.

The 5-0 weekend thumping of Championship leaders Queen of the South in Dumfries and the beating of Kilmarnock, Hamilton and Dundee United on the way to the League Cup semi-finals are all results to remind us about Duffy's coaching quality.

He was Britain's youngest manager nearly 30 years ago at the age of 29 and his CV spans the game from top to bottom. From working with Chelsea superstars to putting part-timers through their paces.

But maybe the best of Jim Duffy is still to come.

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